Health and Environmental Sciences Group

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

The Health and Environmental Sciences Group (HESG) was a fictitious scientific conglomerate -- in fact it was nothing more than the small lobbying company named Health & Environmental Sciences (HES) with a half-dozen staffers in a domestic brownstone house in Washington. DC. It was created by scientific mercenary and entrepreneur George L. Carlo as a front for his activities. He also ran George Carlo & Associates, the The Carlo Institute and a few dozen other companies with variations of his name.

Carlo specialised in providing faked research findings for corporations and industries which were having poisoning and polluting problems. He didn't operate alone: he employed a bevy of young female staffers who had enough knowledge to provide a cosmetic front of research and largely used them as spokespersons for his various organsiation.

His partner/associates in these scams were fellow political shysters and science-for-sale operators, many with their own similar operations (but never on the industrial scale achieved by Carlo). Over time these numbered in the dozens (See major list), but the main ones were:

Health and Environmental Sciences Group
George L Carlo (normal entry)
Carlo associates and organisations
George Carlo (Doc Index)
Wireless Technology Research

They all worked for the same organisations and industries as Carlo, often under different organisational names -- and they published the findings of their so-called 'research' in legitimate (and non legitimate) scientific publications (usually after 'peer-review' by an associate). When needed, they also ran conferences which were designed to produce an output. See details: [1]

The most notorious of Carlo's activities using HESG as a front, were those designed to provide support for corporations with problems such as:

  • Agent Orange research for Dow Chemicals. To prove that dioxin was so benign you could "eat a plate full for breakfast"
  • The Bias Study done for Philip Morris to prove that scientists were biased against second-hand smoke and their research couldn't be trusted.
  • Good Epidemiological Practices (GEP) . This was part of a Philip Morris project to establish corporate-friendly standards for epidemiological research.
  • The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), set up by APCO for Philip Morris. Carlo ran the so-called Advisory Panel.
  • The Wireless Technology Research (WTR) scam for the Cellular Telephone Industry Association to prove that the old digital (D-AMPS and GSM) cellphones with their high-power/pulse modulated output were 'proven safe' when they weren't. [Not to be confused with modern Wideband CDMA mobiles] This cost the CTIA $24 million overall.
  • The Melbourne Water Supply dioxin spill check. Carlo's crew were given an all-expenses-paid trip to Melbourne Australia by Nufarm to prove that dioxins spilled from their herbicide factory hadn't got into the metropolitan water supply.
  • Safe Wireless Initiative and his promotion of BioPro 'radiation shields' which could protect you from the harmful effects of cellphone radiation.
  • Breast Implant Public Health Project (BIPHP) for Dow Corning when a scare arose about the possible dangers of silicone breast implants. See related article

See Sourcewatch page on George L. Carlo and the four sections on his activities at the site [2] Also Carlo's counter-attack [3]

Carlo's C/V, as sent to the Tobacco Industry when touting for the GEP business [4]

The Man Himself

Carlo started out in life on the right side of the tracks. While a staff epidemiologist at the Medical Sciences Department, University of Arkansas in 1978 he co-wrote with epidemiologist Carol Hogue a report on Arkansas Power and Light's Nuclear One power plant for the Arkansas Department of Health. They warned that "a pattern of risk" seemed to be developing in the neighbourhood of the power plant, because of the steady increasing rate of stillbirths in the surrounding areas. "The situation should be monitored closely," they said, because "we may be detecting a weak signal."

This was also the year when the Love Canal Chemical Waste Landfill story broke, and dioxins became recognised as a serious health problem (along with Agent Orange, used by US troops in Vietnam). The following year there was the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant incident. And they year after that, the CERCLA Superfund clean-up laws were passed, and in 1981 the Office of Technology Assessments ran an Agent Orange panel (with Carlo and many other dubious scientist) to supposedly get to the bottom of the Agent Orange/dioxin problem Companies that were polluting the environment now had multi-million dollar reason to oppose adverse health and environmental findings about their activities. The Reagan Administration and its regulatory agencies were swamped by evidence of corruption and forced resignations of key staff.

Carlo and many other university and regulatory researchers together with regulatory bureaucrats saw a financial opportunity in offering their services to the larger corporations and industry groups with poisoning and polluting problems. In 1986 Carlo set up Health and Environmental Services with his wife an a small staff of young female researchers in Washington. He provided services mainly to Dow Chemicals (later to Dow Corning) on the general dioxin problem, and he took into partnership Maurice E LeVois who had worked with the Veterans Administration on the problems faced by returned Vietnam vets. LeVois ran HES-West out of San Francisco, while Carlo ran HES-East from Washington DC.

Carlo and LeVois began to specialise in pseudo- and inverted research for the chemical industry (mainly Dow Chemicals); and Agent Orange; and then for the tobacco industry (mainly Philip Morris); They seem to have split amiably, because they continued to work together. However Carlo changed the name of HES to Health & Environmental Services Group (HESG) and began to operate it on his own with a bevy of young female 'research associates'.

Later Carlo created a number of different corporations (most using his own name) and he expanded the HESG operation to help the cellphone industry (Cellular Telephone Industry Association); and the makers of silicone breast implants. He had an association with a similar Canadian science-for-sale entrepreneur, Ian Munro who had a similar Cantox organisation, and maintained his links with Maurice LeVois in California.

A number of scientific staff worked with Carlo for many years, and he and HESG were constantly expanding and extending their 'solutions' into other industries with potential health or environmental problems. (HESG occasionally figures in the literature as the HES Corporation.)

The most profitable program run by Carlo and his staff would have been the $25 million research project run through Wireless Technology Research (WTR) which was set up to study potential biomedical harm resulting from the first American and European cellular mobile phones using Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) (pulsed-power) techniques known as Digital-AMPS (D-AMPS) in the USA, and Groupe Speciale Mobile (GSM) in Europe and most of the rest of the world. Eventually these pulse-power techniques were shown to cause DNA breaks in the brains of laboratory animals (although never shown to cause brain cancer in humans) and the technology was abandoned in favour of the (present) Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA) standard.

Carlo also worked on dioxin problems with herbicides and pesticides as a world-wide fire-fighter. When there was a spill of chemicals into the Melbourne (Australia) water supply by a pesticide/herbicide company known as NuFarm, it was Carlo and the HES staff who were flown in to do the environmental research which 'proved' that there were no possible health consequences. See the extensive document index for further details.