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Science vs Industry

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This page documents examples of where industry and science conflicted or colluded with each other in ways that were not of interest to the people or the truth.

Contents

Industry Collusion and Manipulation

  • "Eating Pasta Linked to Weight Loss in New Study," Newsweek reported this month, racking up more than 22,500 Facebook likes, shares, and comments. The happy news also went viral on the Independent, the New York Daily News, and Business Insider. What those and many other stories failed to note, however, was that three of the scientists behind the study in question had financial conflicts as tangled as a bowl of spaghetti, including ties to the world’s largest pasta company, the Barilla Group. At least 10 peer-reviewed studies about pasta published since 2008 were either funded directly by Barilla or, like the one published this month, were carried out by scientists who have had financial ties to the company.[1]
  • Senate Confirms Climate Change Denier To Lead NASA, Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) will take over control of the space agency after seven-month standoff. Bridenstine will become the first elected official to hold the NASA administrator job. He joins a Cabinet already loaded with people who question the near-universal scientific consensus that climate change is real and that human activity is the primary cause. The final vote ― which was 50-49 along party lines ― came one day after the Senate narrowly advanced Bridenstine’s nomination, thanks to an about-face from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and a key vote from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Rubio[2]
  • Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine sued agricultural giant Monsanto on Monday, alleging the company concealed dangers posed by a toxic chemical compound it manufactured for nearly a half century. In the suit, filed in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati, prosecutors argued that the company should pay for the clean-up of what it says are dozens of rivers, lakes and other water bodies contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.[3]
  • The world’s most widely used insecticides pose a serious danger to both honeybees and wild bees, according to a major new assessment from the European Union’s scientific risk assessors. The conclusion, based on analysis of more than 1,500 studies, makes it highly likely that the neonicotinoid pesticides will be banned from all fields across the EU when nations vote on the issue next month.[4]
  • DuPont vs. the World: Chemical Giant Covered Up Health Risks of Teflon Contamination Across Globe[5]
  • GOP senators who pushed Trump to ditch Paris deal took over $10 million from fossil fuel industry.[6]
  • With backing from a sugar lobby, scientists promoted dietary fat as the cause of coronary heart disease instead of sugar, according to a historical document review published in JAMA Internal Medicine.[7]
  • Oregon sues Monsanto, alleges company knowingly sold toxic PCBs for decades.[8]
  • Government scientists blocked from the biggest meeting in their field[9]
  • Internal FCC Report Shows Republican Net Neutrality Narrative Is False[10]
  • The Slow Demise of Asbestos, the Carcinogen that Gave ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Snow[11]
  • Trump reverses ban on Nazi created pesticide after receiving huge donation from chemical company[12]
  • Sugar industry withheld research effects of sucrose 50 years ago, study claims Researchers say negative health impacts of sucrose could have been combated sooner had research been released – but industry bodies dispute the findings.In 1967, when scientists were arguing over the link between sugar consumption and increased risk of heart disease, researchers now claim that the International Sugar Research Foundation (ISRF) withheld findings that rats that were fed a high-sugar diet had higher levels of triglycerides (a fat found in the blood) than those fed starch. In a move researchers from the University of California at San Francisco have compared to the tobacco industry’s self-preservation tactics, the foundation stopped funding the project.[13]
  • As cigarette sales decline worldwide, the tobacco giant Phillip Morris Inc. is scrambling to restructure and embrace potentially more profitable “smoke-free” products. The revamp involves setting up an $80 million foundation called the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. The World Health Organization rebuked Phillip Morris and accused it of being disingenuous about consumer health, citing decades of research meddling and deceptive marketing. It declared it would have nothing to do with the foundation and warned governments the world over to do the same.[14]
  • Monsanto banned from European parliament: MEPs withdraw parliamentary access after the firm shunned a hearing into allegations that it unduly influenced studies into the safety of glyphosate used in its RoundUp weedkiller.[15]
  • Coca-Cola secretly spent $1.5 million to fund an entire network of academic researchers whose goal was to shift the national health conversation away from the harms of sugary beverages. Instead, their research focused on the benefits of exercise—i.e., the health risks of sedentary and inactive lifestyles.[16]
  • Union of Concerned Scientists complains that the Trump administration's "Chief Scientist" at the USDA is not a scientist: Sam Clovis—a conservative talk radio host, Trump campaign co-chair, and climate denier with no training in science—for the role of chief scientist at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). [17]
  • Almost All of FCC’s New Advisory Panel Works for Telecoms, most of which are against Net Neutrality.[18]
  • Court evidence reveals Monsanto involved with published Scientific Studies Without Disclosing Conflicts of Interest to publishers.[19]
  • Internal Emails Show Monsanto Made Substantial Contributions to Published Expert Panel Manuscript.[20]
  • Monsanto secret documents revealed, contianing correspondence between Dr. William Heydens and Ashely Roberts regarding the Expert Panel Manuscript. Dr. Heydens went “through the entire document and “indicated what I think should stay, what can go, and in a couple spots I did a little editing. I took a crack at adding a little text: on page 10 to address John’s comments about toxicologists’ use of Hill’s criteria … see what you think; it made sense to me, but I’m not sure if it will to others – please feel free to further modify and/or run by Cary.” at *1. The edited draft is also attached and challenged for confidentiality.[21]
  • Court documents reveal Monsanto was ghost-writing academic papers defending its products and attacking critics.The documents underscore the lengths to which the agrochemical company goes to protect its image. Documents show that Henry I. Miller, an academic and a vocal proponent of genetically modified crops, asked Monsanto to draft an article for him that largely mirrored one that appeared under his name on Forbes's website in 2015. Mr. Miller could not be reached for comment. A similar issue appeared in academic research. An academic involved in writing research funded by Monsanto, John Acquavella, a former Monsanto employee, appeared to express discomfort with the process, writing in a 2015 email to a Monsanto executive, "I can't be part of deceptive authorship on a presentation or publication." He also said of the way the company was trying to present the authorship: "We call that ghost writing and it is unethical." Mr. Miller's 2015 article on Forbes's website was an attack on the findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization that had labeled glyphosate a probable carcinogen, a finding disputed by other regulatory bodies.[22]
  • The FCC Insists It Can't Stop Impostors From Lying About My Views On Net Neutrality.[23]
  • DOW CHEMICAL DONATES $1 MILLION TO TRUMP, ASKS ADMINISTRATION TO IGNORE PESTICIDE STUDY.[24]
  • E.P.A. Official Pressured Scientist on Congressional Testimony, Emails Show: The Environmental Protection Agency’s chief of staff pressured the top scientist on the agency’s scientific review board to alter her congressional testimony and play down the dismissal of expert advisers.[25]
  • Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?[26]
  • Monsanto's GMO-friendly pesticide, Dicamba is causing widespread devastation in Missouri.[27]
  • Arkansas's pesticide regulators have stepped into the middle of an epic battle between weeds and chemicals, which has now morphed into a battle between farmers. Hundreds of farmers say their crops have been damaged by a weedkiller that was sprayed on neighboring fields. Today, the Arkansas Plant Board voted to impose an unprecedented ban on that chemical. The tension — which even led to a farmer's murder — is over a weedkiller called dicamba. The chemical moved into the weed-control spotlight a few years ago, when Monsanto created soybean and cotton plants that were genetically modified to survive it.[28]
  • Glyphosate, an herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto Co's (MON.N) popular Roundup weed killer, will be added to California's list of chemicals known to cause cancer effective July 7, the state's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) said on Monday. Monsanto vowed to continue its legal fight against the designation, required under a state law known as Proposition 65, and called the decision "unwarranted on the basis of science and the law."[29]
  • The EPA's Inspector General Is Probing Whether An Agency Staffer Colluded With Monsanto.[30]
  • Monsanto Hires Internet Trolls to Cover Up Roundup’s Cancer Risk.[31]
  • President Donald Trump's nominee for Deputy Secretary of the Interior said today that Trump's economic policy could take priority over climate science. In his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, David Bernhardt said that he will consider science on climate change but that Trump's policy opinions that prioritize jobs could outweigh scientific conclusions.[32]
  • White House Moves to Block Ethics Inquiry Into Ex-Lobbyists on Payroll. [33]
  • U.S. judge finds that Aetna deceived the public about its reasons for quitting participation in the government's healthcare exchange under the Affordable Care Act.[34]
  • E.P.A. Dismisses Members of Major Scientific Review Board - replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate. [35]
  • The original "food pyramid," a diagram instructing the public on the proper healthy allocation of different food types, given to the US government by nutritionists was altered for the benefit of the food industry and grain growers.[36]
  • "Cosmos" episode explains How Corporations Fund Science Denial. An entire episode was devoted to the Clair Patterson, who discovered that lead was entering the atmosphere through the burning of leaded gasoline. Yet, it took twenty years for unleaded gas to become the norm.[37][38]
  • In the 1960s, the sugar industry funded research that downplayed the risks of sugar and highlighted the hazards of fat, according to a newly published article in JAMA Internal Medicine. The article draws on internal documents to show that an industry group called the Sugar Research Foundation wanted to "refute" concerns about sugar's possible role in heart disease. The SRF then sponsored research by Harvard scientists that did just that. The result was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1967, with no disclosure of the sugar industry funding. [39]
  • Editor quits journal over pay-for-expedited peer-review offer. With a tweet yesterday, an editor of Scientific Reports, one of Nature Publishing Group’s (NPG’s) open-access journals, has resigned in a very public protest of NPG’s recent decision to allow authors to pay money to expedite peer review of their submitted papers. “My objections are that it sets up a two-tiered system and instead of the best science being published in a timely fashion it will further shift the balance to well-funded labs and groups,” Mark Maslin, a biogeographer at University College London, tells ScienceInsider.[40]
  • House of Commons committee to open hearings on neonic pesticide with industry-biased panel.[41]
  • The EPA Finally Admitted That the World’s Most Popular Pesticide Kills Bees—20 Years Too Late.[42]
  • NASA executives waste $80M renewing an industry contract to produce a spacesuit inferior to what the government's own engineers were designing. NASA leaders claimed the contract was necessary to, "keep industry engaged in spacesuit design", but the report dismisses this idea, noting the agency's in-house Advanced Space Suit Project shared several contractors and primary subcontractors.[43]

Trump administration's questionable respect for science

  • Trump Quietly Nominates Mass Surveillance Advocate To “Protect” Your Privacy Rights[44]
  • Trump officially nominates Sam Clovis, climate-denying conservative talk radio host as USDA’s top scientist.[45]
  • Trump's 5 Most “Anti-Science” Moves, Scientific American [46]
  • Donald Trump's War On Science, New Yorker [47]
  • Trump has launched a blitzkrieg in the wars on science and Earth’s climate, The Guardian, [48]

Anti-science head of the EPA under the Trump administration

  • Scott Pruitt’s Attack on Science Would Paralyze the E.P.A.[49]
  • Trump’s embattled EPA head Scott Pruitt has come down on the side of polluters on just about every issue that faces the US, so it is with little surprise that in a recent interview he signaled that he may try to fight back against California’s fuel economy requirements.[50]
  • Trump Re-Nominates Anti-Wildlife Climate Denier to Top Environment Post[51]
  • Pruitt drives out EPA staff, hires unqualified former banker pal[52]
  • EPA seeks to scrap rule protecting drinking water for third of Americans[53]
  • E.P.A. Dismisses Members of Major Scientific Review Board - replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate. [54]
  • EPA Scientists Worry Their New Boss Doesn't Want Science. [55]
  • President Trump's pick to run the Environmental Protection Agaency is a self-described “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda,” Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general since 2011, has repeatedly sued the agency and other government entities over environmental rules and regulations, at times in direct cooperation with fossil fuel companies.[56]
From Factcheck.org on Trumps head of the EPA:
    • Pruitt’s questionable claims include:
    • He falsely said in May that scientists “disagree about the degree” and “connection” of global warming “to the actions of mankind.” As we have written time and time again, the vast majority of climate scientists believe global warming is real and human-caused.
    • He also said the Clean Power Plan will “significantly” increase electricity prices. Whether the price change is “significant” is a matter of opinion, but the Energy Information Administration estimates that prices under the plan would range from a 7 percent decrease to a 7 percent increase between 2025 and 2040, depending on the region.
    • He implied in April 2014 that’s there’s no evidence to support a link between fracking and water contamination. There is some evidence to support a link in certain instances, but not enough to definitively conclude that contamination is widespread, as we wrote in early December.
  • Climate change cynic Scott Pruitt takes over as Donald Trump's head of Environmental Protection Agency[57]

Anti-science appointees to the USDA

  • Incompetence Looms: Trump To Appoint Non-Scientist As USDA's Chief Scientist[58]
  • The Trump administration is planning to nominate Sam Clovis — the Department of Agriculture’s senior White House adviser — as head of USDA’s Research, Education and Economics division, according to individuals briefed on the decision. The move would mark a break with recent Republican and Democratic administrations alike, which have previously reserved the high-level position for scientists with expertise in agricultural research. Clovis — a former economics professor and talk radio host in Iowa who served as one of the Trump campaign’s first policy advisers — has bachelor’s degrees in political science and government, a master’s in business administration and a doctoral degree in public administration[59]
  • Trump’s Expected Pick for Top USDA Scientist Is Not a Scientist[60]

Industry/Government Attacks On Scientists

  • State-funded scientists could be prevented from lobbying for change in their field under Cabinet Office proposals. Senior scientists have denounced a potential move to “muzzle” colleagues whose findings are disliked by the government. The proposal – announced by the Cabinet Office earlier this month – would block researchers who receive government grants from using their results to lobby for changes to laws or regulations. For example, an academic whose government-funded research showed that new regulations were proving particularly harmful to the homeless would not be able to call for policy change. Similarly, ecologists who found out that new planning laws were harming wildlife would not be able to raise the issue in public, while climate scientists whose findings undermined government energy policy could have work suppressed.[61]
  • Renown Canadian scientist personally attacked by industry after expressing concern over GMOs. [62]



See Also

  • Science-Mart, Privatizing American Science, Philip Mirowski [63]

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