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New documents prove falsification in EPA air study; JunkScience renews retraction request has uncovered new documents conclusively proving that EPA researchers materially falsified a September 2011 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP).

While the September 2011 study (“Case Report“) claimed to link exposure to concentrated particulate matter (PM) to cardiac arrhythmia by virtue of a single incidence of cardiac arrhythmia in a 58-year old obese woman with heart disease during her experimental exposure to a high level of PM, the new documents show that cardiac arrhythmia also developed in two subjects similarly exposed to clean air. [Click for the adverse event reports: OMC-029 and OMC-032].

We first raised this issue last spring to EHP editor Hugh Tilson, NIEHS head Linda Birnbaum, EPA and the federal Office of Research Integrity (ORI) because the case study omitted even alluding to the fact that there were at least 40 study subjects exposed to high levels of concentrated PM in the EPA experiments who did not experience cardiac arrhythmia.

Tilson, Birnbaum and ORI stonewalled us. EPA has so far just ignored our complaint.

The new documents show that at least hundreds if not thousands of human study subjects have been involved in these experiments. Of all those study subjects, only 3 cases of cardiac arrhythmia have been documented — and two of those occurred while the study subjects were exposed to clean air.

So the researchers committed the scientific misconduct of falsification by omitting from the case report mention of the following:

  • The 58-year old woman was part of a larger experiment, involving hundreds if not thousands of study subjects;
  • Cardiac arrhythmia did not occur during the other study subjects exposures to high and concentrated levels of PM;
  • The two other cases of cardiac arrhythmia occurring during the experiments happened during exposures to clean air.

We have sent the following letter to EHP editor Tilson:

October 30, 2012

Dr. Hugh Tilson
Editor-in-Chief,Environmental Health Perspectives
National Institute of Environmental Health Science

Dr. Tilson,

Based on new information, I am renewing my request that EHP take corrective action concerning the study, “Case report: Supraventricular Arrhythmia After Exposure to Concentrated Ambient Air Pollution Particles,” first published on September 6, 2011.

In my earlier complaint, the substance of which you essentially ignored, I cited the authors’ failure to even allude to the fact that the study subject in the case report was but one of 41 other human study subjects experimented on in a similar manner and for similar reasons.

It has since come to light that there were at least hundreds if not thousands of other subjects exposed to concentrated ambient air pollution particles (CAPS) by EPA researchers. None of these other study subjects apparently experienced adverse effects from their CAPS exposures.

Moreover, the only other human subjects involved in the EPA experiments to experience cardiac arrhythmias were two subjects whose adverse events occurred during their clean air exposures. None of this information was mentioned in the published case report. I have attached their adverse event reports.

As the EPA authors concluded that the CAPs exposure was responsible for the case report’s arrhythmia, their failure to mention this other contradictory data constitutes the research misconduct of falsification (i.e., omission of material data). Case report authors Martha Sue Carraway, Wayne Cascio and Andrew Ghio were involved in the so-called “OMEGACON” experiments and must have known about the arrhythmias occurring during the clean air control exposures.

The case report, as published, is false and misleading. I again request that you take immediate corrective action.


Steve Milloy

At this point, we might normally conclude by saying something like, “We’ll now see whether Tilson, Birnbaum, ORI and EPA are willing to lose any pretense of personal and institutional credibility by continuing to ignore this blatant case of researcher lying.”

But our money is on that being a waste of effort. But let’s see how the rest of the scientific community reacts.