Indoor Air Pollution Advisory Group

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

This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

The Indoor Air Pollution Advisory Group (IAPAG) was large group of academics who consulted for the tobacco industry on environmental tobacco smoke and provided administrative and legislative testimony on ETS.

The group was put together in 1983 by tobacco industry lawfirm, Covington & Burling at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. for the Tobacco Institute. Professor Philip Witorsch a lung doctor from the Medical faculty, Professor Sorell Schwartz of the Department of Pharmacology and Nancy Balter a researcher at the School of Medicine were the principals.[1].

The IAPAG was supposedly a scientific association, closely associated with the Center for Environmental Health and Human Toxicology (CEHHT) which was set up by the same group as a private consulting organisation within Georgetown Uni, and from its name, implying that it was a department of the university. The same group later set up the International Center for Toxicology & Medicine (ICTM) outside the university to perform the same functions as the CEHHT on their retirement.

CEHHT

The CEHHT and presumably the ICTM acted as cooperative money-laundering and consultant organising operations -- a sort of one-stop shop for a scientist who didn't want the tax-office, or his university, or his associates, to know that he was charging out his services at $400 per hour for giving evidence supporting poisoning and polluting industries or companies around the world.

According to the evidence given by Raphael Witorsch (one of the later members of both IAPAG and CEHHT), the consulting business was run by his brother Philip Witorsch.

The CEHHT had originally been known as just the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) but this became confused with other centers with the same name. The distinction between the activities of the IAPAG and the CEHHT is blurred, and since the same academics were involved in both, we have grouped the document timeline together.

THIS IS A SPLIT ENTRY
Center for Environmental Health & Human Toxicology (CEHHT)
Indoor Air Pollution Advisory Group (IAPAG)
IAPAG/CEHHT (Doc Index)
International Center for Toxicology & Medicine

The Core IAPAG Group

The group expanded over time, beginning with about a half-dozen participants circa 1987. [2]

WhiteCoats Orgs.
IAPAG   (Nth America)
ARIA   (UK & Europe)
IAI, IAIAQ & ISBE
EGIL   (Scandanavia)
EMIES (E Med/N.Africa)
ARTIST   (S.E. Asia)
AAOH SCIA (Asia)
APTRC   (East Asia)
APAIAQ (Asia-Pacific)
  • Nancy J. Balter - based at the School of Medicine at the Georgetown University. She also ran the CEHHT database.
  • Philip Witorsch- A Washington-based pulmonologist who provided scientific opinion and witness services for the tobacco industry. In 1986 he was at the School of Medicine, George Washington University, later he set up as a freelance "scientific witness for hire" servicing many different industries.
  • Raphael J. Witorsch - a university professor of Physiology at the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University.
  • S James Kilpatrick - (unknown credentials) Produced reports for Covington & Burling. [4]
  • Mark J. Reasor - a toxicologist at the Department of Pharmacology/Toxicology, West Virginia University.
  • Salvatore DiNardi - an environmental scientist at the School of Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amhurst who worked for the TI on the calibration of air-sampling machines. [5]This letter is a follow up to our discussion after the IAPAG meeting in Washington Letter; December 26, 1985. R.J. Reynolds Bates No. 504931765/1766</ref>[6]
  • Jack Peterson - of Peterson Associates, Brookfield, Wisconsin, and the University of Wisconsin.
  • Vincent Castranova - a physiologist at West Virginia University.
  • Samuel Spagnolo of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at George Washington University.
  • Kenneth Mossman - A radiation scientist at Georgetown, who argued that tobacco smoke might reduce the ability of radon to produce lung cancer.[7]
  • David A Weeks - who practiced general medicine in Boise, Idaho, and appeared regularly as a scientific witness for the Tobacco Institute. [8]

Key IAPAG Associates

At a later stage the IAPAG group also accepted other Tobacco Institute lobbyists as a way to bolster the credentials of their organisation.

They were all associated with the development of the Whitecoats Program for Philip Morris, and in fact, IAPAG can be seen as the first of the Whitecoat organisations. However the term wasn't used in tobacco circles at the time it was being established. See also ARIA, EGIL, and ARTIST.

Various IAPAG projects

CEHHT: IAPAG was supposedly a group within the Center for Environmental Health and Human Toxicology (CEHHT) which was run by Sorell Schwartz and Nancy Balter. In fact the CEHHT is probably just a wider version of IAPAG which allows the same group to also lobby for industries other than tobacco and bolster the member's credentials on various submissions.

Hirayama Study: The publication of a research paper by Dr. Hirayama in Japan in 1979-1980 became a watershed moment for the tobacco industry. It revealed that the wives of smokers had a higher rate of lung cancer than the wives of nonsmokers, and so immediately the health concern switched from lung-cancer in smokers; to a variety of diseases in non-smokers: Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) became the main concern. A quarter of a million subjects were involved in the Hirayama study, so the results were fairly robust. The Tobacco Institute decided to try to "gain access to Hirayama's raw data for re-evaluation," and have it data-mined by a "blue-ribbon" scientific panel of their own choosing. The IAPAG group were given the task of reviewing "all Hirayama publications for consistency." [11]

In June, 1986 Schwartz organized an accredited continuing medical education program at Georgetown -- "Health Effects of Environmental Tobacco Smoke on the Non-Smoker." It was to be jointly sponsored by the Georgetown University Medical Center and the American College of Toxicology, and funded in large part by the tobacco industry. A few speakers withdrew after being contacted by a National Institutes of Health official, claiming they did not have knowledge of the tobacco industry support. The American Lung Association protested to the University about sponsorship of a tobacco industry-funded seminar and urged cancellation. The University refused, based on academic freedom grounds. Nonetheless, Schwartz canceled the program. The American Lung Association protested to the University, and a few speakers withdrew. The tobacco industry claimed that the anti-smoking forces were attempting to censor scientific research and opinion. John Rupp, of the Tobacco Institute's legal firm Covington & Burling, issued a long statement trying to regain the high-ground of propriety. The ALA's actions were "a direct threat to scientific integrity" and an "an attempt to stifle free speech and academic freedom" the Tobacco Institute claimed.[12]

After three years, Dr. Schwartz dissolved IAPAG in response the Tobacco Institute's pressure for the group to be more advocative. The Tobacco Institute then established a separate "Scientific Witness Team" comprised of non-academic private consultants. [13][14]


Related Organizations

IAPAG was, to a large degree, the model for a number of "cut-out" organizations which acted as a collective resource for hired consultants and Whitecoats in other countries.

Additional Reading

  • A search for "IAPAG" in the University of San Francisco's Legacy Library turns up 2300 documents. See [1]. There would be many more under "Georgetown University", "ETS Consultants" and thousands under the names of individual members.

References

  1. CLIMA 2000 World Congress on Heating, Ventilating and Air- Conditioning; August 25-30, 1985 Alkire LL, Covington & Burling. Memorandum/trip report. September 26, 1985. Tobacco Institute Bates No.2026331631/1641
  2. Kloepfer B, Tobacco Institute IAPAG Scientist Activities Memo. January 30, 1987. Bates No. TIDN0007371
  3. Rupp JP, Covington and Burling Statement of John P. Rupp Speech/presentation; December 11, 1986. Philip Morris Bates No. 2023551472/1475
  4. Rupp JP Untitled memorandum January 28, 1986. Lorillard Bates No. 87869832
  5. DiNardi SR, Public Health Research Assoc.
  6. Green CR, R.J. Reynolds ETS Division Items for G.H. Long Second Quarter 1986 (860000) Update Letter; June 25, 2986. Bates No. 517594651/4653
  7. Mossman K, Georgetown University Review of NIH Grant Proposal "Dose Interactions of Passive Smoking with Domestic Radon" April 10, 1986. Lorillard Bates No. 80404596/4598
  8. Public Smoking Hearing Readiness Undated. Bates No. TIFL0505066/5069
  9. Robertson G, ACVA Atlantic Invoice No. 488 $1,182.84 December 13 1985. Bates No. TI10160793
  10. Stapf S. Use of Katzenstein for Media Purposes Memo. May 21, 1986. Tobacco Institute Bates No.TIDN0012139/2140
  11. Green C.Joint Meeting of the ETS Advisory Groups - London April 8, 1986 (860408). Letter. April 15, 1986. Bates No. 506633279/3281
  12. Rupp JP, Covington & Burling [http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/xks14e00 Statement of John P. Rupp December 11, 1986. Philip Morris Bates No. 2023551472/1475
  13. Stapf F.Memo on broadening our attack on ETS front. Memo. January 9, 1987. Tobacco Institute Bates No. TITX0038048/8049]
  14. Email from S. Schwartz to Anne Landman, January 7, 2008, as seen on discussion page

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