Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Public Health and Junk Science

See December 13, 2005 Letter-to-the-Editor in Wall Street Journal (subscription required) from Elizabeth M. Whelan, M.D., President, American Council on Science and Health

“The decision of the APHA to give its oldest and most prestigious award to
Dr. Levy, a physician at the center of the growing scandal over silicosis and
asbestos diagnoses, is further proof that the profession of public health, once
based on science, has degenerated into an ideological, litigious

“Dr. Levy's main "achievement" has been his help in suing corporations and extracting fines or settlements.”

“the APHA award will go to a man … participating in substantiation of dubious health claims related to silicosis and asbestosis."

“Harvard School of Public Health, in October bestowed its highest award for public health achievement -- the Julius Richmond Award -- on environmental activist Erin Brockovich, widely viewed as the poster child for junk science. Ms. Brockovich worked with plaintiffs' lawyers to sue Pacific Gas & Electric -- claiming that trace
emissions of chromium-6 from company plants caused a spectrum of diseases among residents of Hinkley, Calif. Although there was never any scientific evidence of a causal link between the chemical and ill health in the community, Ms.
Brockovich and her colleagues were successful in negotiating a $330 million

“Apparently, Harvard felt this "achievement" -- which did
not prevent even one premature disease or death -- was so stellar that it
merited the Richmond Award, which is given to individuals "who have promoted and achieved high standards for public health."


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