Wednesday, August 6, 2008

SHS, 'Group A' carcinogen, Class 'A' hoax

A study released by the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) on January 7, 1993, declared secondhand smoke a “Group A” carcinogen. The study is still referred to extensively by the anti-smoker cartel to support their argument that secondhand smoke is hazardous to the health of non-smokers and a known human carcinogen.

The EPA study was presented amid a flurry of media coverage by most major newspapers, television news programs and radio stations.

But, just how reliable was the “scientific” evidence provided by the EPA?

On July 21, 1993, Representative Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. testified before the Health and Environment Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The purpose of his testimony was to convey the results of an extensive investigation into the EPA handling of the controversy surrounding secondhand smoke.

“my own investigation suggests that in its consideration of ETS, the Agency has deliberately abused and manipulated the scientific data in order to reach a predetermined, politically motivated result. EPA's risk assessment on ETS released in January of this year (1993) claims that ETS exposure is responsible for approximately 3,000 lung cancer cases per year in the United States. Analysis of the risk assessment reveals, however, that EPA was able to reach that conclusion only by ignoring or discounting major studies and by deviating from generally accepted scientific standards.

EPA's willingness to distort the science in order to justify its classification of ETS as a "Group A" or "known human" carcinogen seems to stem from the Agency's determination early on to advocate smoking bans and restrictions as a socially desirable goal. EPA began promoting such policies in the mid-to late 1980s, ostensibly as part of its efforts to provide information to the public on indoor air quality issues. The Agency then decided to develop the ETS risk assessment to provide a scientific justification for smoking bans. The risk assessment thus was never intended to be a neutral review and analysis of the ETS science. Rather, it was intended from the start to function as a prop for the Agency's predetermined policy”.

Representative Bliley noted that “the process at every turn has been characterized by both scientific and procedural irregularities”.

One would think that a report by a US Congressional subcommittee, claiming the EPA had “deliberately abused and manipulated the scientific data in order to reach a predetermined, politically motivated result”, would have made major headlines in the American press.

It didn’t! Instead, the public was left with the impression that the EPA report was the complete, unabridged and commonly accepted truth.

The EPA conclusion that secondhand smoke was a “Group A” carcinogen wound up in court. After four years of testimony, a federal judge invalidated their conclusion, calling the report an outright "fraud". In his final judgment (1998), Justice William Osteen said:

"The Agency disregarded information and made findings based on selective information... deviated from its own risk assessment guidelines; failed to disclose important (opposing) findings and reasoning; and left significant questions without answers."

Once again, the media ignored the event and failed in its duty to inform the public as the judge's decision and condemnation of the study went largely unnoticed.

In fact, the EPA study is still regularly referred to by government agencies like Health Canada and anti-smoker groups like Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada. The anti-smoker movement still insists that it is conclusive evidence that secondhand smoke “kills” non-smokers. Politicians of all stripes continue to acknowledge this corrupt science by imposing draconian bans on smokers. The fictions created by the EPA study are routinely passed off as fact.

And, despite the findings of a US Congressional Committee and the US courts challenging the integrity of the study, this piece of “evidence” has never been questioned to any extent by the main stream media.

The question is “why”? Is investigative journalism really dead? Are reporters simply too damn lazy to question the assertions being made by the anti-smoker brigade? Have the news media become dependent on the advertising revenue generated by the anti-smoker establishment and the pharmaceutical industry which supports it?

Unfortunately, as we wait for the answer to the question of why, the public continues to be misled on the alleged hazards of secondhand smoke. Smokers are still being de-normalized, denigrated and demeaned based on deliberately distorted science.

While a complacent, or perhaps complicit, press remains silent.

3 comments:

Ben Palmer said...

This very same study is also regularly referred to by government agencies and anti-tobacco organizations in France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
There seems to be no end to this fraud.

Boney said...

1. Representative Bliley's investigation and conclusion were his own opinion and merely testimony before the subcommitte. This report was never adopted by the the subcommitee.

2. Judge Osteen, who was a paid lobbyist for tobacco companies before becoming a judge, had his ruling overturned by the 4th circuit court of appeals.

Ben said...

1. Everybody is entitled to his own opinion, even the subcommittee. Whether the report was adopted by the subcommittee or not doesn't say anything about the facts.
2. Slander. The ruling was overturned on juridical, not scientific grounds.