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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The American Society of Healting, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE'), Was the peak body of expert engineers, architects, manufacterers, and academics responsible for the design and maintenance of air-conditioner ducting, air-flows, and ultimately for indoor air quality (IAQ) and therefore the ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) standards in office, homes, factories, etc. They were infiltrated very early by tobacco industry staffers and lobbyists; only a few of whom acknowledges that they were working for the tobacco companies.

The most obvious ASHRAE members able to serve the corporate interests were those on various sub-committees. They worked diligently over decades to reduce the industry's problem with ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke -- or "passive smoking'). The most obvious of thse were:

While ASHRAE was essentially a US organisation, its standards began to be used in other parts of the world, and eventually it extended its sub-branches into Europe. Elia Sterling was instrumental in organising IAQ conferences under the ASHRAE banner across Europe, and of ensuring that only the 'right' speakers would be invited to these conferernces.

Documents & Timeline

1986 Oct 17 RJ Reynolds Tobacco begun working with the Tobacco Institute and Philip Morris on lobbying ASHRAE.

As a result of Tom Griscom's discussions with TI, they have developed a program to generate support for adoption of recently proposed changes to current indoor air quality standards (i.e. ventilation rates) by ASHRAE. [3]

[Note: Griscom was at Ogilvy & Mather, then Public Affairs for Reynolds, later joined Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd.]

1989 Oct /E Public Smoking Programs of the Tobacco Institute. This is a long "Smoking Gun" paper -- giving highly confidential details of their activities, and leaving little doubt about the corruption of those involved. It lists these activities under a stacked series of headings (not included here)

The new ASHRAE standard 62-1989 was formally published October 2. It recommended a new minimum ventilation rate for office environments of 20 cubic feet per minute per occupant (cfm) The previous standard of 5 cubic feet/min encouraged employers and other building managers to ban smoking.

They planed to use op-eds, articles, and interviews with IAQ experts to promote the new standard as an alternative to smoking bans. It was already introduced into ten states -- and they planned to push legislation in nine more states through "active labor allies". [4]

[Note: this win occurred just before McGill University ETS Symposium in November]

1989 Nov 4 [Kurt Malmgren ?] Speech made to the Tobacco Institute Lobbyists Meeting

On a technical note, our push for ventilation standards has been bolstered recently by the experts. The American Society Of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers, (ASHRAE), has approved its new standard for ventilation.

As many of you know, ASHRAE is recognized as the expert on ventilation rates. ASHRAE maintains that increased ventilation is the best way to prevent Indoor Air Quality problems [Note: as distinct from banning office smoking].

The old standard set two ventilation rates -- one for smoking and one for nonsmoking areas. The new standard, officially adopted and approved, sets one standard for minimum outside air ventilation rates, regardless of smoking activity. |

We have our friends at (tobacco lawyers) Covington & Burling to thank for this development. they have worked with ASHRAE for several years to achieve this critical advancement. [[5]]

1990 This DRAFT compendium of technical information on ETS was put together by the EPA, NCI, Office of Smoking and Health, National heart Lung and Blood Institutes, and Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (DHHS)

The ventilation standard of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) (1986) recommends a maximum of 20% dissatisfaction among visitors to a space. By this criterion, the data from the investigation imply the need for 17.5 cfm per occupant. The ASHRAE standard suggests 15 cfm or more per occupant for most spaces, e.g., 15 cfm for classrooms, libraries, auditoriums, dormitories; 20 cfm for offices, conference rooms, dining rooms, lobbies; 25 cfm for discos, beauty shops; 30 cfm for bars, casinos; 60 cfm for smoking lounges. Hence, practice coincides with the experimental data about as well as could be expected regarding the baseline case. [6]

[Note: the tobacco lawyers and industry loading of the committees had forced through a standard which was more beneficial to the tobacco industry.]

1987 Apr 9-10 New York IAQ and Toxic Torts Meeting report with the Tobacco Institute

A discussion of the Sick Building Syndrome was presented by Jan Stolwijk, (Epidemiologist) Yale University School of Medicine, and member, National Academy of Sciences Committee on Indoor Air Pollution and ASHRAE Standards Committee.

He identified the sick building syndrome (a fictitious problem circulated by the tobacco industry) and addressed ventilation rates and the new ASHRAE standards. According to him, the new standard will outline procedures for greater accountability for-each phase of a building's development. For example, an architect's design assumptions are to be transferred to the building owner by means of a permanent document.

Stolwijk mentioned that ASHRAE's committee included representatives from the Tobacco Institute and the Formaldehyde Institute to protect their interests. in the past, he said, ASHRAE was threatened with lawsuits by TI and the Formaldehyde Institute concerning the ventilation standard. The new ASHRAE standards, according to Stolwijk, will be 15 cfm/person under all nonsmoking circumstances, and 20-25 cfm/person where some smoking is permitted.

There were two other interesting pieces of information revealed by Stolwijk. The Federal Construction Council, which is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of all federal buildings, has asked NAS for policies and procedures on how to avoid and prevent indoor air pollution problems. The report, which will provide guidelines for federal building managers and operators, is due in two to three months. The second important note is that the World Health Organization will soon list approximately 25 substances that need guidance or regulation in indoor environments. [7]

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