Maurice E Le Vois

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Maurice Emile Le Vois, Ph.D. was a University of California psychologist, who became a diligent tobacco industry consultant with his own company called LeVois & Associates. He was also in partnership in the 1986 period with George L Carlo in Health & Environmental Sciences Group. While he worked with Carlo on the east coast, he had another tobacco scientist partner, Max Layard on the west coast.

Note that in the tobacco archives his name is spelled LeVois in 5,852 documents, LaVois in only 508, and 69 times ' Le Vois' with a gap between. In the 1980s he usually spelled it with a gap between the 'Le' and the 'Vois', but most of the documents used 'LeVois'. In about 1989 he appears to have given up on the two-word version himself, and began to use "LeVois".

As Maurice Le Vois he was formerly the Director of the Veterans Administration (VA) Office involved in the Vietnam War's problems of Agent Orange Research and Education. He was also a scientist (He claimed to be an epidemiologist -- but was in fact a health psychologist) in the Agent Orange Study Unit at the Centers for Disease Control. In this 1985 period, the VA and the Department of Defence were resisting claims that the dioxins in Agent Orange were causing health problems for the Vietnamese and for the returned soldiers and airmen. The veterans and Vietnamese claimed that the dioxins in the herbicide had also caused birth defects in their children.

Closely associated with the VA at this time was the Office of Technical Assessments (OTA) which had an Agent Orange-dioxin study mandated by Congress. The design of the protocol for the project was in the hands of a small committee headed by a senior staff member of the OTC, Michael Gough, and on the Protocol advisory panel was Dr George L. Carlo, who had just retired from service as a 'fire-fighting' epidemiologist with the Dow Chemical Company (who made Agent Orange).

ASSOCIATED ENTRIES
George L Carlo & Maxwell Layard
George Carlo (Doc Index)]]
GEP (Bias study) & London Conference
Thorne G Auchter & James J Tozzi
Steven J Milloy & Michael Gough
APCO   &   TASSC

Partner with Carlo and Gough

George Carlo had set up as a science-for-sale entrepreneur under the business name George Carlo & Associates and Le Vois joined him as its nominal "president". They did a large number of studies, wrote some reports, and gave speeches on the problem.

LeVois, Carlo and Gough were later recruited to help the tobacco industry. They were involved in a number of scam, including being enlisted onto a Science Advisory Panel set up by PR company APCO which had established The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC) operation for Philip Morris. This was the infamous "junk-science" organisation run by Steven J. Milloy. LeVois and Carlo also supported some Milloy-Gough projects run through the Cato Institute.

Carlo and LeVois set up a business partnership Health & Environmental Sciences (HES) with East (Washington DC) and West (San Francisco) branches

[The name later became HESG for 'Group'] Carlo also had a Canadian associate, Ian Munro who had a similar science-for-sale company Cantox which carried the subtitle 'Health & Environmental Sciences' also.
[The name confusion may be deliberate. After 1993, Carlo and Munro worked together on tobacco and on a $28 million cellphone health project called (Wireless Technology Research (WTR) for the Cellular Telephone Industry Association (CTIA)]

The Bias Study

In 1989 LeVois and Carlo joined forces in putting together a major proposal ($200,000) for fake research sent to Philip Morris by way of an industry cut-out, The Newman Partnership which was run by two brothers, Fred and Larry Newman. [2] [3] Fred Newman had been the inhouse General Counsel to Philip Morris]

1. Part One of their proposal was for a questionnaire and phone study of selected scientists and medical practitioners who, by this time, generally accepted that smoking caused both lung and heart disease. The subjects were manipulated to say that they believed smoking was hazardous, but most of them were unable to identify which particular studies proved the existence of a causal connection with heart and lung-disease. This was then interpreted as "bias" rather thn "medical knowledge". These figures could be process to show that medics and scientists were often 'biased', and many were based on the conventional views held by other medics and scientists -- and therefore not to be trusted.

2. Part Two of the so-called scientific proposal was, in fact, a PR plan in how to exploit these findings without revealing that the tobacco industry was behind the operation. The aim was to direct public criticism at the "biased scientists" at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who were about to release the EPA's ETS Risk Assessment (on passive smoking).

This pseudo-study material was eventually release through an astroturf operation known as the Institute for Regulatory Policy (IRP) which was created by ex-OSHA Director Thorne Auchter (later a silent partner with Carlo in HESG), and the ex-OMB/OIRA head, Jim Tozzi, both of whom were then working as external lobbyists for Philip Morris. Tozzi and Auchter operated through numerous companies and think tanks -- Multinational Business Services (MBS), Federal Focus, Center for Environmental Health, Institute for Regulatory Policy -- and a half-dozen more. Many of these were run for the tobacco industry, while others were created and run for the Chemical Manufacturers Association and its subsidiaries. [[4]]

Independent operations

Carlo and LeVois appear to have split up the formal arrangement during the period of this Philip Morris Bias-study project, and LeVois formed Environmental Health Resources and became an erratic partner with another tobacco scientist on the West Coast, Maxwell W Layard. He and Carlo continued to work together on occasions, however.

Le Vois figures extensively in the tobacco archive documents, sometimes credited as the principal scientist at [Environmental Health Resources], "an association of consulting epidemiologists and statisticians with offices in Mill Valley, California.", while Layard ran [Layard Associates] in Mountain View, Calif.. But in fact this was a loose partnership arrangement with each being contracted either separately, or together, depending on the consulting (tobacco and other) company's requirements. [5] [6]

Both Le Vois and Layard provided witness and faux-research services to the tobacco industry for many years, both in America and at tobacco trouble-spots around the world. [7] Le Vois was more versatile, working for a couple of different industries, while ex-maths-teacher, Max Layard made most of his income solely from statistics done for the tobacco industry. See page 9

In 1990 and again in 1993, Le Vois was asked by The Tobacco Institute to submit testimony criticizing the manner in which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Risk Assessment treated the issue of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), and its possible relationship to lung cancer. Le Vois stated that in his judgment, the risk EPA's assessment had "numerous basic flaws and cannot be relied on as an estimate of ETS-related risk." As Tobacco Institute ETS consultant-witnesses, Layard and Le Vois were constantly in demand and earned considerable money for their occasional services [8]

As a paid consultant to the Tobacco Institute in 1996, LeVois submitted critical comments on the EPA ETS Risk Assessment, while also working with another industry consultant (UK statistician) Peter N. Lee on a rebuttal to the World Health Organisations passive smoking study being run by the WHO's French laboratory, the International Agency for Reseach in Cancer IARC .[9][10]

Documents & Timeline

1979 to Aug 1981 With the University of California Medical Center.


1981 Aug to Feb 1982 Executive Assistant at the Veterans Administration (Information section) He appears to have been hired as a health psychologist because of the mental problems the Vietnam vets were having. Many senior officials doubted that the Vietnam Vets medical problems were real, and saw the problems as mental instability.


1982 Feb to Mar 1983 Director of the Agent Orange Research and Education Office of the Veterans Administration in Washington DC.


1983 Mar to Sep 1984 He is a visiting scientists with the Centers for Disease Control, on Agent Orange and Vietnam Experience Studies.

He was then involved in the CDC's AIDS task force. See his CV with Philip Morris


1984 Sep to Aug 1985 Le Vois worked for the American Red Cross at its national headquarters in Washington DC..


1985 Aug Carlo leaves government employment and sets up as a cash-for-science lobbyist for the polluting companies. He initially operates as [[George Carlo & Associates}} with Maurice Le Vois, supposedly his "Director of Research"


1986 June Le Vois and Carlo publish Attributable Risk under the Health Assessment Framework of Superfund for the Chemical Manufacturers Association.


1986 Sept Carlo and Le Vois publish Expanding the Interface beween epidemiology and the Law: A model for settlement of Toxic Torts. In American Journal of Epidemiology.


1987 Aug George L Carlo and Maurice Le Vois established Health and Environmental Sciences Corporation (HES) in Carlo's brownstone house in Washington DC. Maurice LeVois leaves the VA and establishes HES-West in San Francisco. The name on the letterhead is "Health & Environmental Sciences Corporation" and Le Vois titles himself "President". [11]

Note that at this time Dow Chemicals had a division named "Health and Environmental Sciences" run by lobbyist Robert Moolenaar. This doesn't seem to be connected.

1988 Writing articles and studies with George Carlo:

  • For American Journal of Epidemiology Diagnostic Suspicion Bias: Reye's Syndrome and Asprin (Presented at Vancouver BC conference June 88)
  • Contracted study report Cancer Mortality in Chemical Manufacturing Plant Cohort: A Strong Healthy Worker Effect.
  • Chapter: T he Public Health Authorities of Superfund: New Areas of Significant cost liability (Insurance claims for environmental damage)
  • Contracted study report 'Mortality Surveillance at the Mobay Chemical Corp. West Virginia
  • Contracted study of groundwater contamination in California (Nov 1987)[12]

1989 Jan- Feb /E Writing paper for Environmental Claims Journal 'Public health claims under Superfund, new data and tools for estimating liability and apportioning claims with George Carlo.


1989 Aug - Oct Maurice Le Vois has set up the San Francisco branch sometimes known as HES-West. At this stage LeVois and Carlo have joined forces to provide Philip Morris with a proposal for sham research which can be used to prove that those scientists who oppose smoking are simply 'biased'. La Vois has written to Philip Morris with a proposal:

The ETS topical content of the communication would depend in part on identifying areas of greatest value to PM. This is a strategic matter, not a scientific question. However, it would probably be important to know which topics are most subject to strongly biased thinking, and which topics are likely to be viewed most objectively. This information could be derived from the survey pilot work discussed above since this is part of the goal of that process as well. As you, know, George Carlo and I would like to conduct research for PM along the lines outlined above. We propose developing a detailed research protocol for the survey portion of this work, and I believe that it would be wise to work closely with PM at this stage in order to focus our research on areas of greatest value to the client. George has already mentioned that we would request a $7500 advance payment that would be billed against by us during the start up phase of this project. [13]

The protocols for the research were laundered through the Newman Partnership, (run by PM in house attorney Fred Newman and his brother) [14]
Notes of another meeting (Borelli included via conference call) [15]. This letter records what they were really trying to do.

The letter was signed by Maurice Le Vois. It was to Dr Thomas J Borelli who headed the Science & Technology division of Philip Morris (which directs both the real science and the pseudo-research), Carlo and LeVois offer to run a research project aimed to show that it is the personal anti-smoking biases among epidemiologists which causes them to 'mislead' politicians and the public about the dangers of ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke). [16]


1989 Sep Carlo and Le Vois began using the expanded name Health and Environmental Sciences Group (HESG) - but LeVois appears to leave almost immediately.


1989 Oct 6 The Newman Partners (who did science PR for Philip Morris) have had a meeting with Philip Morris's top science dissemblers. They are launching a three-part 'Science Communications' project.

  1. To anticipate, then plan strategies for the EPA's ETS Risk Assessment (due shortly) Their primary contact is Le Vois. Their goal is to show cumulative bias by the EPA over the long term - cost $25,000
  2. Conduct the XYZ substances survey. This is the 'Bias Study' run by George Carlo and his staff (see below) - cost is $60,000
  3. Develop and implement usability strategies to show that these studies are examples of "poor science" resulting in "Media scare stories". Support for airline smoking is important. Part B of this is also to attack the epidemiological use of meta-analysis (the statistical combination of smaller studies to strengthen conclusions). They say: "at a minimum, raise doubt of the validity of the procedure and the conclusions drawn from its use."

He then adds a couple of pages of other papers to exploit (Including those of the life-time lobbyist Carl C Seltzer) and a hint at the project run by Steven J Milloy, The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC). The total start-up costs for this program are $87,200, with a $163,750 per month on-going charge. [17]


1989 Oct 17 The Carlo-LeVois proposal to Philip Morris has been handed to Larry Newman who runs the Newman Partnership with his brother Fred Newman, an in-house lawyer with Philip Morris. They hold a meeting with Carlo and his associate Patricia Doesberg (with a conference call to Borelli) in Washington DC.

The report of this meeting to Philip Morris says that after discussion the purpose of this study was:

  1. (to dilute the) "Impact on the EPA Risk Assessment Advisory Report" (into second-hand smoke as carcinogenic) See EPA ETS Risk Assessment
  2. (to find) "Publication in reputable scientific/medical journals so as to establish the (bias) criteria in the minds o scientists as widely accepted and appropriate.
  3. Publicity in general news media.
  4. Provide a basis for strategic development. (ie counter-attack on the EPA).

They also greatly extended the idea. Carlo's HESG were also to look for weaknesses on the National Academy of Science study, the Surgeon General's report, and in some original studies (Hirayama - Non-smoking wives study). [18]


1989 Oct 26-31 The Newman Partnership also reports to Philip Morris's top scientists, Tom Borelli, Nelson Beane and Tom Osdene on a Risk Society meeting in San Francisco. They are tracking the development of the EPA ETS Risk Assessment studies. In particular one by Kenneth G Brown and Douglass Crawford-Brown of Chapel Hill NC interested them because it was looking at the possibility of exploiting the fact that lung-cancer also arose from radon. This study was said to show that tobacco smoke in the air actually reduced the risk of radon as a carcinogen, however the study was still incomplete. There are long recordings of their conversations with these two scientists, especially some expressions of doubt about the usefulness of the radon hypothesis.

They also identify Dennis J Paustenbach and Adam Finkel as potentially useful.[19]


1989 Nov 20 Le Vois has made a formal approach to Newman Partnership Lrd. which keeps research manipulation at arms-length from the cigarette company. [20]. The aim is to show that anti-smoking scientists are biased. Philip Morris is keen to get this research.

The DRAFT proposal for

"Studies of Scientific Standards, Opinion and Bias:
Environmental Health Risk and Environmental Tobacco Smoke

is made to The Newman Partnership, Ltd. Columbia, South Carolina [21] This is proposed as a multi-part very complex series of studies on a variety of substances, selected to hide the cigarette company interest. The budget requested is $90,000 for the actual research. [22]

George Carlo has include a list of potential subcontracts to provide peer-review and data collection services. His choices demonstrate that he already had good knowledge of scientists who regularly worked for the tobacco industry. He also suggests which of these should be used to 'peer review' the final study:

The Newman Partnership was a front company run by Fred Newman and his brother Larry. Fred Newman was the main in-house lawyer for Philip Morris. The paper was actually later published with a credit saying that the funding came from the Institute for Regulatory Policy (IRP) which was run by Carlo's associates Jim Tozzi and Thorne Auchter. [24]

Carlo and his female staff at HESG will do this study in scientific bias by sending out a questionairre which asks biased, isolated, and quite deliberately-loaded questions. Carlo and four staff members of HESG are involved:

By the time this was sent for publication Maurice Le Vois has split with Carlo, and three of his 'researchers' -- Patricia Doesberg, Brett Duch and Beth Sheffey -- had dropped out and Kelly G Sund and Maureen R Jablinske were given their credits.

In this so-called Draft Protocol, Carlo and Le Vois don't just only offer to conduct the research, they will also pre-plan the response and organise how to exploit the propaganda that can be generated.

In effect, while supposedly acting as a disinterested scientist examining scientific ethics, they are performing the functions of a PR lobbyist and deliberately planning to manipulate a scientific outcome. The procedure was explained later in a Philip Morris document:

In half of the cases, the three potential problems were identified by name. For the other half, the potential problems were simply identified by letter (X, Y, and Z). The types of scientists surveyed included epidemiologists, toxicologists, doctors, and "basic scientists." A total of 2,478 questionnaires were sent out, and 1,461 (58.9%) were returned. Seventy per-cent of those polled agreed that ETS was a "serious environmental health hazard" when it was identified by name, compared to 33% when it was simply designated by the letter X.[26]

Part II of his plan is to "developing persuasive messages". On Page 2 (top), he specifies that this is a strategic question for PM -- not a scientific question. (But they will do it anyway, for money.)

In the meeting report the tasks assigned to Newman Partners Ltd. and Tom Osdene's staff at Philip Morris were to create a mailing list of authors and scientists involved in the EPA Risk Assessment Study. They are also to:

3. Engage unimpeachable academic peer review panels for G Carlo's (study -- and check...)

a. Content of protocols for studies
b. Focus group research
c. Methodological protocols
d. Quantitative opinion studies. [Also their...]
Deadline for Completion of Studies: Prior to the Release Date of the EPA ETS Risk Assessment Report.

  1989 Nov 21 LeVois is writing to another shonky tobacco scientist, Larry C Holcomb with some notes about the Society for Risk Analysis annual meeting in Washington. He is writing on HES - Health & Environmental Sciences -- West letterhead from San Francisco (HES is the joint George Carlo operation). The letter has been copied to Kay Thomas at the Tobacco Institute.

He say he has been working with S. James Kilpatrick on a paper criticising Slattery et al. He also details the value of Bruce Ames to the tobacco industry. [27]


1990 Feb 5 Max Layard, Maurice LeVois and Larry Holcomb are being sent a copy of a confidential Department of Transport Cabin Air Quality Study on air aboard airliners by Kay Thomas at the Tobacco Institute. it will recommend a ban on airline smoking for the sake of cabin crews. [28]


1990 May 17 He is in direct fax contact now with Matt (probably Swetonic) via British American Tobacco. He is working through his own company Environmental Health Resources in San Francisco and preparing a major report with references for the tobacco company. [29]


1990 May 25 The Tobacco Institute are using his report to challenge the EPA's determination on the dangers of tobacco smoke, He is available to discuss his material in person. [30]


1990 Jun 1 His study is being used with the EPA to object to anti-smoking Professor Stanton Glantz of UCLA claims about the dangers of second-hand smoke. {http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/nxgx0062]


1990 Sep 25 LeVois and Maxwell Layard now create a 67 page "Summary of Major Criticisms of the EPA ETS Risk Assessment Draft. They admit that they have been asked by the Tobacco Institute to comment on the methods and conclusions. They conclude:

  • In sum, the observed epidemiologic association between ETS exposure and lung cancer is'weak and inconsistent.
  • There are many weaknesses in the design and conduct of the ETS studies that permit plausible alternate interpretations.
  • There is a large discrepancy between the observed association and the dosimetrically predicted level of risk.
  • It is not reasonable to infer that ETS exposure causes lung cancer nor to predict risk based on these data.[31]

1990 Nov 1 He is billing the Tobacco Institute $2,464 for the services of a temporary employee, Martha L Doemland, in New Jersey who has been doing research on Stanton Glantz. She charged $80 per hour. [32]



1990 Dec 6The CIAR is running an Epidemiology Workshop with lawyers, staff, board members and Peter N Lee, Maxwell Layard and Maurice Le Vois. LeVois is teaching them about the "shift of strategy" on "anti" side, and the problem that people don't distinguish between active smoking and ETS. He and Layard were reporting on meetings with the EPA's SAB panel members - identifying holes in arguments. [33]


1991 Feb 4 C&B lawyers Michael Buckley and Christopher Proctor, representing the Tobacco Institute, IAPAG Professor Philip Witorsch from Georgetown University, and LeVois had a meeting with Dr Niemeier (and four others) at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) over their drafting of a paper on the dangers of ETS. They were not given a draft of the paper. [34]


1991 Feb 27 LeVois has written a letter to the Scientific Advisory Board (of the EPA on passive smoking) which needed to be cleared through both Covington & Burling and Shook Hardy & Bacon (mistyped SM&B). Both law firms needed to clear or review the correspondence. [35] The draft letter is here He sends this to 27 different newspapers - one is published in the Tulsa Tribute: it is an attack on Stanton Glantz. [36]


1991 Mar 4 Le Vois is collaborating with two of the most notorious of the tobacco scientists on a publication planted on the Journal of Epidemiology for Philip Morris. His co-authors are Joseph M Wu and Philip Witorsch [37] [38]

Steven Parrish, the political apparatchik now with Philip Morris USA, approves of his letter and wants it distributed. [39]


1991 Mar 19 The agenda of a Tobacco Institute's task force on EPA/OSHA lists for discussion a LeVois letter regarding EMF. [40]

This is intriguing given that his partner George Carlo on the east coast took on the Cellular Telephone Industry of America (CTIA) as a client to 'prove' without research that EMF's were safe -- but this wasn't until two years later.

1991 Apr 9Layard and LeVois are sending copies of research papers to the EPA for inclusion in their ETS Risk Assessment. They say they have conducted a "meta-analysis" of these and other studies which strengthens their conclusions that ETS is not harmful to health. This, they say, makes the EPA's draft report "untenable". [41]


1991 Jun 3 LeVois is now being paid by the Tobacco Institute to attend Public Health Symposia and report on anti-smoking papers and statements. [42] He is also giving TV interviews attacking Glantz. [43]


1991 July 9 This is another of his reports on a Society for Epidemiological Research meeting. He is providing the services of an scientific informant. [44]


1991 Aug He has sent along to Philip Morris a series of points that can be used to dispute the claim that second-hand smoke (ETS) causes lung cancer. [45]


1992 Jan The Philip Morris list of 'independent experts' who the Tobacco Institute had working on blocking potential smoking bans -- and the areas of science they have been scheduled to cover. The names were: Larry Holcomb, Mark Reasor, Paul Switzer, Maurice LeVois, Joseph Wu, Philip Witorsch, Milton Meckler, Theodore Sterling, Gray Robertson and HBI, Robert Tollison, and a company named Accurex. [46]


1992 LeVois provides testament on the EPA ETS Risk Assessment to the US House of Reps. [47]


1993 Mar LeVois is making a statement to Congress on behalf of the tobacco industry. He attacks the science of ETS. [48]


NOTE: he is generating about 500-800 documents in the archives each year at this time. This is only a tiny sample.


1993 July 12 Maurice LeVois has sent his invoice along to be paid- and the Tobacco Institute's share is $8,742 (usually one third with PM and RJR making up the other two thirds.) Makes the total $26,226. [49]


1993 Oct Layard and LeVois are sending a paper to Issues Manager Karen Fernicola-Suhr at the Tobacco Institute. It has been passed through Shook Hardy & bacon, and they have added 'suggestions' in red. [50] 1994 1994 Used by industry to criticized the EPA report, Brownson and Stockwell paper for the indsutry. Proposed consultant to comment on Federal OSHA proposal on workplace smoking.


1995 Aug 7 Maurice LeVois had been speaking on "publication bias" at an annual meeting of the Society for Epidemiological Research. His claims had been attacked by Michael Thun of the American Cancer Society. Then the lawyers got into the argument. There was an exchange of nasty letters between their respective lawyers. [51]


1998 Aug 11 The Working Draft (Confidential) of a lawyer's list of tobacco industry helpers -- under the title: Expert / Consultant Submissions Regarding ETS to Regulatory Agencies on Behalf of Philip Morris

Maxwell S Layard of Layard Associates is one of the hundreds listed as having given evidence for the Tobacco Institute at various hearings, etc. [52]

 


THERE ARE LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF MEMOS AND NOTES AND EMAILS IN THESE YEARS. LEVOIS IS WORKING FULL-TIME FOR THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY. HE HAS LOST MOST OF HIS REPUTATION IN THE USA AND APPEARS TO BE TURNING TO EUROPE.


2000 Oct 23 Maurice LeVois is trying to drum up business in Europe. He has had a letter passed to Roger Walk via Edward Sanders. The were interested only in his proposal on "recall bias". [53]


2001 Oct 1 Maurice LeVois was planning to work for the FTR group in Switzerland. Edward Sanders at Philip Morris has been contacted by Roger A Walk to ask his opinion of him. [54]

References

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