Oak Ridge National Laboratories

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

Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) was set up by the Atomic Energy Commission. The Nixon administration privatised it around 1968, and it was taken over by Union Carbide. They ran it as a contract research laboratory for any chemical company that had problems. It is not clear whether it was fully sold, or initially just privatised while still remaining in AEC hands.

When searching on names, note that both "Laboratory" and the plural "Laboratories" appear to be used interchangeably.

The two main researchers who worked for the tobacco industry through the ORNL were Michael R Guerin and Roger A Jenkins.

Documents & Timeline

1969 May 19 A C&EN Newsletter article on "Chemical Mutagens"

Now that a wealth of information has already been accumulated on the genetic changes induced by radiation (although much more still needs to be learned), attention is turning more and more to mutations produced by chemicals. As one striking example, the Atomic Energy Commission, which in the late 1940's and early 1950's installed a huge laboratory at Oak Ridge, Tenn„ to study the genetic effects of radiation on tens of thousands of mice, now uses a sizable part of this facility for studying how these animals are affected genetically by chemicals, [2]

[Dr Alexander Hollaender of Oak Ridge was the president of the Environmental Mutagen Society. Dr Samuel Epstein was executive secretary.]

1973 May BAT executive's Report on Visit to USA. during the Nixon Admin

Since Nixon became President, increased use seems to be made of commercial research organisations. The Oak Ridge establishment of the Atomic Energy Authority is now being run for the Government under contract by the Union Carbide and Chemical Corporation. Gori's research programme includes.a proposal that a commercial research organisation should be appointed to monitor the work of primary contractors and to prepare reports on their work, Presumably one of the ideas behind these innovations is to reduce the number of employees directly on the Government payroll. [3]

1985 Feb A series of hand-notes has a mention of Samuel Witt (Senior Counsel for RJ Reynolds) and Alexander Spears the Director of Science and Research for Lorillard. They are sharing research, some of which has been commissioned from the University of Pennsylvania.

"Spears reported on ORNL - would they be interested in (developing a) personal nicotine monitor.
They would be interested
Alex Spears to go bacK and get a proposal.
(Don [Hoel] to get the feeling of the council)
Pat Sirridge or John Rupp, Feb 6 (both with Shook Hardy and Bacon)
ORNL - facility of choice/would pub??


1993 During a 1996 court case, Roger A Jenkins stated that the Center for Indoor Air Research (CIAR) had approached him with a proposal for his project, and that he and his colleagues had developed the study methodology with input from CIAR, RJ Reynolds Tobacco, and Bellomy Research (a marketing research firm)." CIAR tax records show that the ORNL received $797,892 in 1993 for Jenkins to conduct a study titled Determination of Human Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke. ORNL is also listed as a partner in Brown & Williamson Tobacco's Ventilation Plus(TM) program.

1998 Dec 2-3 The Board of Scientific Counselors at the NTP voted unanimously to recommend that ETS (second-hand smoke) should be listed under "known to be a human carcinogen". This recommendation was to be passed to the Executive Committee, chaired by Linda Rosenstock, the Director of NIOSH (early 1999) Tozzi has sent Philip Morris a detailed report.

He noted that some presentations to the committee were made by:

  • Roger Jenkins of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) on behalf of the Center for Indoor Air Research (CIAR). He attacked some of the figures used in the EPA Risk Assessment.
  • Keith Philips of Covance Laboratories who had done a series of studies on housewife exposure in 12 European Cities for the CIAR.
  • Chris Coggins made a presentation for Lorillard Tobacco. He said they had ignored a large body of evidence obtained from German mouse studies.
  • Paul S Levy of the University of Chicago appeared for RJ Reynolds. He criticised the use of meta-analysis in epidemiological studies.
  • Richard Carchman appeared for Philip Morris
  • William J Butler of Environmental Risk Analysis also appeared for RJ Reynolds. He attacked the Fontham and Brownson studies.
  • Gerhard Scherer appeared for the German Association of Cigarette Manufacturers
  • Gio Batta Gori of the Health Policy Center
  • Ronald G Marks (Univerity of Florida) appeared for RJ Reynolds
  • Maurice LeVois (LeVois Associates) described his publication with Paul Switzer on "recall bias". He and Max Layard have published also on "publication bias".

They also looked again at the chemical TCDD (dioxin) and decided that this also was a probable human carcinogen. Kim Hooper of the Californian Department of Health said TCDD is "almost certainly" a human carcinogen. (And) Given the powerful animal data — that TCDD is an "incredibly potent" and "really an amazing" carcinogen in rats and mice — Hooper wondered why there was even a debate. Those commenting on behalf of the manufacturers were:

All of the above were also tobacco industry lobbyists at various times.


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