Antonio Horacio Miguel is a Brazilian scientist who participated in Philip Morris' and British American Tobacco's Latin American ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) Consultants Program in the 1990s. The program, operated by the tobacco industry law firm of Covington & Burling, was designed to help stave off public smoking restrictions in Latin America.
At the time he was selected to participate in the Latin program circa 1991, Dr. Miguel was a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, and a consultant for the American Chemical Society. He was educated in the United States at the University of Illinois and Cal Tech, and reportedly speaks excellent English. His area of focus is ambient air pollution.
Participation in the tobacco industry's Latin Project
According to a 1994 Covington & Burling strategy and budget proposal for the Latin Project, Dr. Miguel was retained by the industry to
- ... Respond promptly to media articles misrepresenting the science of ETS or calling for smoking restrictions for scientifically unjustified reasons. Dr. Miguel would focus particularly on the low levels of ETS found in commercial buildings, using the results of the 1993 Brazilian field study as support for arguments. Dr. Miguel will be told that industry representatives may identify him to journalists as a local expert on ETS and indoor air quality measurements and invite them to contact him for comment on indoor air quality issues. If Dr. Miguel is not contacted by journalists directly, he will be expected to write letters to the editors of newspapers or magazines publishing ETS or indoor air quality articles. To avoid his overexposure, a maximum of three letters per year would be expected.
He was further expected to "Write two articles for the popular media [during 1994]. The first would compare indoor and outdoor pollution in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero. The second would address air quality concerns in restaurants ..." The budget for this activity was U.S. $20,000, and Bruce D. Davies, Philip Morris' Manager of Scientific Affairs in the Brazilian Region, assisted Dr. Miguel in drafting a proposal for the air pollution studies and seeking collateral sources of funding.
Accordingly, in February 1995, Miguel was the lead author of a Latin American air pollution study titled "Characterization of Indoor Air Quality in the Cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil", that was published in Environmental Science and Technology. The study found that secondhand smoke indoors "is at most a minor contributor to the quality of air indoors." The study summary states,
- This research does not support initiatives to further restrict smoking indoors, but does indicate that environmental priorities must be focused on improving outdoor air quality, probably through vehicle emission control, as a pre-requisite to improving indoor air quality.
A subsequent analysis of this study done by researchers Joaquin Barnoya and Stanton Glantz at the University of California San Francisco and reported in the Brazilian press (Folha de S. Paulo) found the data was gathered for the study by taking air quality readings at times when the buildings were empty. They also found that the work from 1995 on the air quality in offices and restaurants in Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo, directed by Antonio Horacio Miguel (professor at the Chemistry Institute at University of Sao Paolo at the time), favored barbecue restaurants and pizza parlors which used wood ovens. According to Barnoya, the wood smoke camouflaged the secondhand tobacco smoke levels.
In 1997, Philip Morris paid Dr. Miguel a $4,000 honorarium for participating in a Conference in Kuala Lumpur titled "Indoor & Built Environment Problems in Asia", where he presented the results from the suspect study he perfromed in Sao Paolo.
Articles and Resources
- Author unknown. Candidates Selected: Brazil Report. July 1991. 2 pp. Philip Morris Bates No. 2022889615/9616
- Covington & Burling Latin American Candidate Recomendations Memo. July 24, 1991. Philip Morris Bates No. 2503001505
- Davies PS, Rupp JP, Covington & Burling Latin American ETS Project: Strategy and Budget Proposal for 940000 Report. 1994. 15 pp. Philip Morris Bates No. 2503017246/7260
- Davies BD, Philip Morris SIM Project And Activities, 980000 1998/E. Philip Morris Bates No. 2060566211
- Author unknown No title Compilation of news articles. January 20, 2003. Philip Morris Bates No. 3001180842/3001180855
- Miguel AH Honorarium for Antonio H. Miguel September 19, 1997. Philip Morris Bates No. 2063655447
- Davies B., Philip Morris Regional Scientific Program Speech. July 11, 2000. 12 pp. Bates No.2082334919/4930