This site deals only with the corporate corruption of science, and makes no inference about the motives or activities of individuals involved.
There are many reasons why individuals become embroiled in corporate corruption activities - from political zealotry to over-enthusiastic activism; from gullibility to greed.
Please read the OVERVIEW carefully, and make up your own mind.
Steven F Arnold
A well-known, highly credentialed research scientist at Tulane University who was found guilty of scientific misconduct over a study on endocrine disrupters. He admitted having invented some of the data.
This research used yeast cell lines.
Note there is also a Steven Arnold, Air Pollution Control Division, Colorado State Department of Health. (1978 - 85) who may, or may not be the same person.
1996 June: Defective article on endocrine disrupters is published by the Arnold group from Tulane University in 'Science' magazine — the public is alarmed by these claims.
1996 Nov 15: "Inside EPA's Risk Policy Report" carries an article:
During its initial organizational meeting, EPA's Endocrine Disruptors Screening & Testing Advisory Committee (EDSTAC) grappled with questions of the group's scope, timelines, work products, and the "moving target" of current science that will support EPA's policy decisions on the issue of risk from so-called endocrine disruptors,
When participants broached the subject of recent research by Steven Arnold on synergism between chemicals (Risk Policy Report, June 14, p16), Angelina Duggan of the pesticide manufacturer FMC Corporation commented that researchers from Texas A&M and Duke University had been unable to replicate the so-called "E-screen," the critical element of Arnold's work, and plan to publish the results in the journal Endocrinology.
This comment led Assistant Administrator for OPPTS Lynn Goldman to underscore one of the "ground rules" for the committee — that only peer reviewed data are to be presented and discussed for the committee's purposes.
1997 Mar 21: "Inside EPA's Risk Policy Report" carries an article:
Experts in a vigorous debate at the Society of Toxicology argued that current data do not support the view held by some scientists that mixtures of endocrine modulating chemicals create "synergistic" effects that dramatically multiply the toxic potency of such chemicals.
During a March 13 session in which 12 posters on Mechanisms of Estrogenicity were discussed, participants pointed to the emerging weight of evidence that "synergism" does not begin to approach the level of effects reported by Steven Arnold and John McLachlan of Tulane University in the July 7, 1996, issue of Science (Risk Policy Report, June 14, 1996, p16).
Several experts and participants presented data from mammalian, bacterial, and human cell lines to indicate that the latest findings in endocrine distuptor research do not support the Arnold and McLachlan conclusions, though the Tulane scientists' work is clearly serving as a basis for many other research projects.
The findings reported in Science have proven so controversial that scientists at the SOT session continually reminded each other to define their terms, hypotheses, and interpretations to clarify if, for example, tissue restructuring or some other endpoint was how an "adverse effect" was being defined. Michael Gallo of Rutgers University underscored the need for such clarification because "in my view people shouldn't just set up their hypothesis to knock McLachlan. You don't argue with data, but with data interpretation. There is a religious tone in the discussions which cuts to the core of individuals. And it is also energizing new inquiry across a range of new fronts," Gallo said.
Three of the posters concluded that there is no synergism between endocrine disrupting substances. EPA's Earl Gray challenged the conclusions, noting that data points on two of the three posters indicated some synergistic effects in the low-dose region but that these data had been discounted. Gray called for "the use of improved statistical techniques in the data analysis to bring out that information."
One participant retorted that the data hardly showed a"1,000 fold" increase — the level of synergy found by Arnold and McLachlan — to which EPA's Michael DeVito responded, "What's significant then, five-fold? Where is the line?"
Dan Sheehan of the National Center for Toxicology Research noted that "before one can adequately examine mixtures of two chemicals, you need solid dose-response relationships for each one."
Gallo also noted that he has just received some of the yeast cell-lines - genetically altered to contain estrogensensitive human receptor proteins-from McLachlan's group that was used in the original study published in Science and will be attempting a replication.
Other scientists have requested the cell-lines from the relatively new Tulane Center for Bioenvironmental Research but, to date, have not received materials, possibly due to patent concerns or other considerations, Gallo said.
2001 Oct 11: The U.S. Department of Human Health and Services (HHS) published a notice in the Federal Register reporting a "Finding of Scientific Misconduct" with regard to the original research on endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are environmental and naturally occurring chemicals in food that are thought to act like hormones in the body possibly leading to reproductive problems and cancer.
The research, conducted by Dr Steven F. Arnold (Tulane University) and published in Science in June 1996, proved pivotal in alarming the public about the threat of endocrine disruptors and prompting the government to consider setting lower exposure limits for substances suspected of being endocrine disruptors.
Now more than five years after the original results were published, HHS has concluded that Dr Arnold intentionally falsified the research results in the paper by providing fabricated materials. The investigators further reported that there is no original data or other corroborating evidence to support the research results and conclusions reported in the Science paper.
The Federal Register notice provides a stunning example of how falsified research can misguide the public and potentially misdirect regulatory programs.
It also provides a striking example of the importance of data access laws that force the release of federally funded research. Had Dr Arnold been required to provide the public with his research results at the time of publication, much of the subsequent public controversy, confusion and misdirection of federal and private resources that resulted from his paper could have been avoided.
The claim in this last paragraph ignores the fact that large corporations and trade groups can afford to fund batteries of tame scientists to dredge through the data looking for anomolies or minor mistakes. These can then be misinterpreted, or blown out of all proportion, and presented to the media as reason to dismiss the findings.
The tobacco industry often used such tactics when countering anti-smoking research findings — which is why some of the more knowledgeable researchers in the cancer field would open their data only for perusal within their premises, under their own supervision, where they were available for discussion and explanation. They would not allow copies of their raw data to be taken out of their control and data mined 'independently'.
Procedures used in certain types of biomedical and statistical research also are not always recognised as universal standards — and therefore it becomes arguable whenever they are used. Junkscience lobbyist Steve Milloy was employed by a number of industries specifically to conduct this sort of data delving operation. He would then write articles ridiculing the findings.
2001 Oct 15: Details of the findings.
Specifically, PHS finds that Dr Arnold's research reported in the Science paper involved a finding that environmental chemicals, such as certain insecticides and hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which have a weak estrogenic activity when acting alone, were up to 1000 times more potent in mimicking estrogen when tested in combination.
See the ORI documents
These research results and conclusions were important to the public health because they suggested that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may need to adjust its guidelines on exposure limits to such chemicals. The Science paper was withdrawn on July 25, 1997. See Science 277:462 (July 25, 1997).