Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tobacco industry weakened pesticide regulations, UCSF study shows

19.09.2005


The tobacco industry coordinated cross-industry campaigns to delay and weaken federal and international regulations on pesticide use, according to new findings by UCSF researchers.

The findings are reported in a study and commentary posted online at the pre-publication website of Environmental Health Perspectives, the journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The information will be published in a future issue of the journal.

Based on an analysis of internal tobacco company documents, the article outlines evidence that the tobacco industry hired ex-agency scientists to intervene in federal Environmental Protection Agency decision-making, hired a consultant to influence World Health Organization pesticide regulatory deliberations without revealing his industry ties, and staged a useless test aimed at convincing regulators that no further restrictions were needed to control an especially deadly pesticide, among other actions.



The authors point to the need for broader reform of the regulatory process to prevent abuses such as these in the future.

"This shows that the tobacco industry’s influence on our nation’s health extends far beyond policies directly concerned with smoking or cigarettes," said Ruth Malone, RN, PhD, associate professor in the UCSF School of Nursing and senior author on the study.

First author Patricia McDaniel, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, added, "It’s one thing for the industry to participate in the public policy process by providing information or arguments, but it’s another to hire people to secretly influence the policy process and to manipulate the science guiding policymakers."

The researchers present three case studies based on examining approximately 2,000 formerly secret internal tobacco company documents as well as 3,885 EPA documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

EPA standards to reduce the risks of the fumigant phosphine:

In 1998, when the EPA proposed a series of risk mitigation measures to protect workers and the community from sometimes-fatal poisoning by phosphine, tobacco interests protested that the rules would "make it virtually impossible for our industry to continue to fumigate stored tobacco."

Tobacco companies invited EPA officials to view a series of emissions tests to persuade them that a 500-foot buffer zone was not needed around fumigated warehouses. The UCSF researchers cite a Phillip Morris email to show that PM experts knew that the test methodology was flawed and the results would show no emissions problems. The PM employee wrote, "...the test plan and methods will provide, literally, no information, so it won’t hurt us to do it."

A coalition of phosphine users, including tobacco companies, hired Sciences International, a private company headed by Elizabeth Anderson, a former EPA director, to prepare a report challenging the EPA’s plan to impose stricter exposure limits for workers and the community. Anderson obtained additional funding from the coalition to publish the consultant report in Risk Analysis, a journal for which she served as editor-in-chief.

Dan Barolo, former director of EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, also served as a coalition consultant. In memos cited by the researchers, he emphasized the urgency of coming to agreement on the report’s contents. In one memo, he commented, "Some day they are going to figure out there is a [stricter] standard in other countries and the door will close."

Despite advice from its own toxicologists, in 1999 EPA approved the weaker regulations advocated by the tobacco and pesticide industries.

WHO safety standards for EBDC fungicides:

After the U.S. EPA determined that a breakdown product of EBDC fungicides was a probable human carcinogen in 1987, CORESTA, an international tobacco research organization, hired a consultant to provide advice on influencing international regulations on EBDC fungicide limits. Adding to WHO documentation, the authors describe how the consultant, Gaston Vettorazzi, worked with WHO officials in the capacity of an expert consultant from 1990 until 2001, influencing regulations on EBDC while concealing tobacco industry payments of as much as $100,000 a year.

Pesticide residue levels for methoprene insecticide:

In the early 1990s, Phillip Morris worked with manufacturer Zoecon in Malaysia, Italy and Germany to set pesticide residue limits that were more lax than their own data supported. Zoecon manufactures methoprene, an endocrine disruptor that prevents the larvae of cigarette beetles and tobacco moths from maturing. At Phillip Morris’ insistence, the company asked for and obtained residue limits of 15 ppm in tobacco when its own data supported a level of 10 ppm. Zoecon also collected data about international regulatory efforts on methoprene while concealing the tobacco industry’s interest in these regulations, the UCSF researchers found.

"Cynical manipulation of health protection in favor of corporate profit may not be new," said UCSF co-author Gina Solomon, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at UCSF and senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "But this is the first time we’ve seen ’big tobacco’ working hand-in-glove with the big chemical companies, with the proof of the deception glaring from their own internal documents."

Janet Basu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2005/7452/abstract.html
http://www.ucsf.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>