Scientists ask journal to retract scientifically flawed article by leading asbestos industry consultant

Mon, Jul 14, 2014


Kathleen Ruff,

Over one hundred scientists and thirty organisations have called on the journal, Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine, to retract an article by David Bernstein, a consultant heavily linked to and financed by the asbestos industry, entitled The Health Risk of Chrysotile Asbestos. Bernstein’s article claims that his survey of the scientific evidence shows that exposure to high levels of chrysotile asbestos causes no harm to health and that chrysotile asbestos can be safely used.

The scientific evidence shows the exact opposite.

Bernstein is a leading propagandist for the asbestos industry and, like all his work, the article serves the industry’s interests and helps to promote the asbestos trade.

In their letter of July 12, 2014, available here, the scientists and organisations state:

“We call on Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine to withdraw Bernstein’s article due to its bias, its scientifically flawed data, its selective literature review and its misrepresentation of facts. More than this, however, we call on Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine to withdraw the article because it contributes to harm to health.

While the asbestos industry will rejoice that the consultant it has copiously financed for more than a decade has succeeded in placing the asbestos industry’s discredited propaganda in your journal, health professionals are appalled by this fact, which brings shame on your journal and betrays the trust of your readers.”

 The scientists and organisations appealed to the publisher and editors of Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine not to be complicit in causing harm and to retract Bernstein’s discredited, distorted and harmful article.

As well as putting forward asbestos industry misinformation in his article, Bernstein falsely stated that he had no conflict of interests.


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2 Responses to “Scientists ask journal to retract scientifically flawed article by leading asbestos industry consultant”

  1. Mel Coulson Says:

    Why don’t these journals do their due diligence and check out the facts and credentials of the authors of the papers and their funding sources before committing to print? This will cause untold harm as it will be quoted and re-quoted ad nauseam. Rarely are the retractions (if they appear) noted.
    This is appalling for what one would suppose is a well respected journal.

  2. David Dahlstrom, CIH Says:

    Regarding Dr. Lemen’s attempt at altering the advancement of exposure science specific to chrysotile by his criticism of Dr. Bernstein’s work
    and Mr. Coulson’s aspersions of the Journal failing to do their due diligence, I ask you to consider the Errata recently issued by the Journal specific to Ms. Ruff’s and Dr. Lemen’s discussions. Please read ths Erratum below and then re-read Ms. Ruff’s and Dr. Lemen’s respective letters to the editors of this JOurnal.

    During the editing process of the recent article by Bernstein [1], the conflicts of interest statement was wrongly amended from ‘No conflicts of interest relevant to this article’ to ‘There are no conflicts of interest.’ The publisher apologises for this error.
    Dr Bernstein would like to take this opportunity to clarify that he works as a scientific consultant to the chrysotile asbestos industry and gives presentations worldwide on the science of chrysotile asbestos. In the last three years he has received payment for his consultancy services from: Honeywell, International Chrysotile Association and Zimbabwe National Chrysotile Taskforce.
    Dr Bernstein received no payment, compensation or funding for the current article [1]. The article is solely his work and the opinions stated therein are his own.
    Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine. 20(5):525, September 2014.

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