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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.
It is difficult to characterise Irwin Billick. He appears to be an active research on indoor air pollution problems who spends a lot of his time on public relations activities for the Gas Rsearch Institute. They had a major health problem with the oxides of nitrogen produced by gas heaters. He is therefore always on the edge of the tobacco industry's smoking & health corruption activities. But there is no indication that he was ever conscripted as an ally, or involved in any way.
He was, however, seen by the tobacco industry as a likely candidate as Executive Director of the Center for Indoor Air Research (CIAR), and it is unlikely that he would have reached the top of their list without them thoroughly researching his past activities. They obviously concluded that the was a likely compliant administrator for their fake science-grant opeations, who would conform to the industry's wishes.
To his credit, he turned the CIAR job down after talking with Stan Temp and John Rupp of Covington & Burling, two of the industry's most corrupt lawyers.
Some key documents
• Gas Research Institute
• The industry's first choice as Executive Director of the CIAR. However he backed out when he realised how much they would control the activities.
1982 May 21: EPA Trying to Ease out of a Leaden Box (Washington Post)
The Environmental Protection Agency, faced with important medical evidence against relaxing the standard for lead in gasoline and only mixed support frorn the industry it thought wanted the change, is trying to extract itself from what has become another agency public relations fiasco.
EPA sources stress that no action has been taken, and that a final decision on an issue as controversial as this one probably will be made personally by Administrator Anne M. Gorsuch. And she isn't talking. [Gorsuch was forced to resign over corruption allegations]
The EPA also must figure out how to deal with two studies it commissioned and its staff analysis, which all concluded that hundreds of thousands of children could get lead poisoning if the standards were weakened.
Those developments exacerbated the fears that EPA's proposal had aroused. Scientists such as Dr Herbert L Needleman, a University of Pittsburgh professor and physician who has studied lead poisoning for years, protested to Congress that lead standards, particularly the gasoline ones, should not be weakened,
But studies for the EPA by the Mitre Corp and by Dr Irwin Billick, the Housing and Urban Development Department's lead expert, concluded that there is a strong correlation between lead levels in gasoline and lead poisoning in children.
1982 July 29: Washington Post Story "Perils of Lead Are Still Weighing Heavily"
Twenty years ago, hundreds of children were showing up in hospitals across the country wracked with convulsions, in comas, some even dying, poisoned by eating lead paint chips.
That doesn't happen much anymore. Since 1972, when the federal government launched a program to prevent lead poisoning, the percentage of screened children found to have dangerous levels of lead in the bloodstream has dropped from 11 to 4 per-cent. But budget cuts and policy changes by the Reagan administration have caused even the governmeny's own advisers to worry that the problem could re-turn.
The critics are also concerned about the removal of Dr. Irwin. Billick, a HUD researcher who demonstrated a direct correlation between lead poisoning and lead in gasoline. Ellen Silbergeld of the Environmental Defense Fund charged that Billick was fired in retaliation for his research. Considering that the administration wants to put lead back in gasoline, "that was not welcome news." Silbergeld said. HUD officials denied trying to punish Billick.
1984 /E: Pamphlet from Thomas Lindwall [Karolinska Inst.] recruiting members for the International Society on Indoor Air Quality & Climate (ISIAQ)
Last year, the President of the 5th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate: Indoor Air '90 conducted a survey to determine the need for an international society dedicated to the indoor environment. The response was strong and widespread. It is my privilege now to invite you to join the over 100 Founding Members in the newly created international Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ). Irwin Billick of the Gas Resarch Institute in Chicago is listed as a founding member
1984 June 18: The Tobacco Institute distributes a report on the American Lung Institute meeting in Miami. Attached is a report on the Third International Conference of Indoor Air Quality and Climate held in Stockholm (Aug 20-24 1984) which was organised by the Karolinska Institute and the National Institute of Environmental Medicine (Sweden), and co-sponsored by WHO. It has some dubious organiser and co-sponsors such as the US Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and Flakt AB. The Gas Research Institute was also a sponsor.
Thomas Lindvall of Karolinska was president of the organising committee (mostly Swedes). Plus 4 overseas coordinators [incl. Demetrious Mischandreass IITRI] and a twenty-man Advisory Committee with the notable inclusions of .... [A mix of good and bad.]
- Irwin Billick,
- Lars Friberg [tobacco scientist],
- Michael Lebowitz, [tobacco scientist]
- John Spengler, [anti-tobacco]
- James Wood [tobacco scientist]
There were 850 participants or registrants at the conference, the largest group being from the United States and the Scandinavian countries. There were no participants from Spain or Portugal, very few from France and Germany, a few more from Great Britain, but not as many as from Sweden, Denmark, Norway or the USA. Press Coverage was light.
[This must be the foundation of the ISIAQ]
There was some discussion of the impact of what was heard in the scientific sessions on regulatory issues in the various countries represented at the conference, but with one rather notable exception of a scientist names James Repace from the USA, most of the scientific sessions and informal discussions can be summarized as follows: "We know that for many of indoor sources there are risks but we don't know the size of the risk."
1985 Feb 6: Weekly Highlights report to Alan Rodgman at RJ Reynolds.
Papers presented at a seminar on "Unvented Combustion Sources in Residences" during the ASHRAE Winter Meeting described ongoing research by
All of these institutions have sampling chambers in operation for indoor air quality research.
- Demitrios Moschandreas at the Illinois Institute & Technology Research Institute (IITRI),
- Brian Leaderer at the Pierce Foundation,
- Irwin Billick at the Institute of Gas Technology, and
- E. Traynor at the Lawrence Berkley Laboratory.
A visit with D. Moschandreas gave an opportunity to see the environmental chamber at IITRI (it is similar to the chamber at the Pierce Foundation) and to discuss problems in ventilation rate control and measurement. IITRI is evaluating air purifiers in its chamber.
1986 July 16: Nancy Balter [tobacco scientist of CEHHT/IAPAG] reports to Covington & Burling about a Air Pollution Control Association meeting held on June 23-26 1986.
Jim Frazier announced from the outset that his term as Chairman was coming to an end and that the nominating committee had met and proposed a slate of officers.
Those officers are: Irwin Billick (Gas Research Institute), Chairman; Barry Ryan (Harvard University), Vice Chairman; George Provencenza (EPA Office of Health), Secretary and Niren Nagda (GEOMET), Membership.
1986 Aug 22: Irwin Billick is on a new private-sector council, the National Council for Clean Indoor Air
1986 Aug 22: Amy Millman advises Philip Morris executives in an internal memo that:
A new private-sector council, the National Council for Clean Indoor Air, has been formed to help bring indoor air quality problems to the attention of the Federal Government.
She then lists the membership which includes;
The group is comprised of various members of the health, environment and energy industries, a number of whom are clearly not our friends.
Irwin Billick, Gas Research Institute
1986 Sep 2: Susan Stuntz memo to Peter Sparber at the Tobacco Institute re "Meeting with David Mudarri, EPA."
As you know, Nancy Balter [from CEHHT and IAPAG], Gray Robertson [ACVA/HBI]. Amy Millman (Philip Morris) and I met last Wednesday, August 27, with David Mudarri, who describes himself as a member of the "outreach and economic incentives staff — indoor air-quality, in the Office of Air and Radiation at the EPA. Mudarri is a longtime contact of Millman's, who arranged the meeting.
This was not good news because the much-hated James Repace "will play an active role in its deliberations [and] this policy group will coordinate with the indoor air subcommittee of the SAB to direct IAQ research."
As I indicated in our August 29 session with Bob Lewis and Judy Wiedemeier, Mudarri is enjoying something of a rebirth at EPA, largely because Deputy Administrator Jim Barnes has taken a personal interest in indoor air quality. It is an interest shared by the new Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Craig Potter. Mudarri has worked closely with Potter in the past.
Potter has established an indoor air group within EPA, to advise the agency on long range policy and strategy.
The SAB was to meet Sep 3-4 in North Carolina. it consisted of:
- Jan Stolwijk of Yale university,
- James Melius of NIOSH,
- Irwin Billick of the Gas Research Institute,
- James Ware of Harvard,
- Naihua Duan of the Rand Corp.,
- James Wesolowski of the California Dept. of Health Services, and
- James Woods of Honeywell
Among the suggestions he [Mudarri] threw out during
our two-hour session:
- a willingness to conduct an EPA-sponsored seminar with participation by Robertson and/or IAPAG scientists on ventilation issues;
- means of encouraging private developers such as Oliver T. Carr, to speak out on the rewards of providing adequately and properly maintained ventilation;
- cooperation between Robertson and other ventilation specialists such as Woods of Honeywell, to evaluate ventilation codes.
Both Robertson and Baiter will follow up independently with Mudarri, providing him with additional material.Millman and I will meet with him again following the September 3-4 meetings.
1988 Jan 29: Tom Osdene writes to Frank Resnik at Philip Morris, re the CIAR.
I attended the meeting of the ETS Group yesterday in Washington. I signed the papers of incorporation for the Center for Indoor Air Research (CIAR) and later had a brief interview with Dr. Irwin Billick as the Executive Director.
Stan Temko (John Rupp's associate at Covington & Burling) met with him afterwards and we hope he will sign a contract with CIAR next week.
1988 Feb: /E Later report [Source unknown]
Fear that the Center for Indoor Air Research would be a tool of the industry scared off Irwin Billick, a chemist initially recruited for the job of executive director. During negotiations.
"things got a little weird when Tobacco Institute lawyer John Rupp made it clear that industry officials would have the last word on what research was funded.
He decided that balancing legal and scientific needs would prove too stressful.
I even met the head of the Tobacco Institute, and he said. "You better hurry up and get going, because we need research in get us out of the mess we're in" Blllick said.
1988 June 20-24: Air Pollution Control Association (APCA) meeting in Dallas Texas. Billick is now publishing papers with John Spender at Harvard. and also with Geomet Technologies
1988 Sep 27-29: Air Pollution Control Association (APCA) conference in Niagra Falls. The report is by Chris Proctor [BAT and C&B]. This was a special conference on 'combustion products', (gas fuels and ETS). The speakers were:
- Michael Guerin of Oak Ridge [tobacco consultant]
- Delbert Eatough of Brigham Young [tobacco consultant]
- Nancy Haley of the American Health Foundation (cited Linda Koo)
- William Crouse of Lorillard
- Ted Sterling of Simon Fraser [tobacco consultant]
- Simon Turner of ACVA [tobacco consultant] spoke about three buildings tested in the UK (two at least were BAT offices) "He again emphasised that the best solution for improving air quality is to improve ventilation, not to ban smoking."
- Douglas Dockery of Harvard School of Public Health looked a bronchitis, cough, etc in 5,338 children related to ETS, wood smoke, kerosene and gas heaters. "Dockery suggested that ETS gave the worst problem and that these relative risks were dose related."
- James Repace of the EPA was described in his introduction (written by Repace and handed to the Session Chairman, Ella Sterling) as a policy analyst from the Office of Indoor Air Programmes whose purpose is to guide attitudes. His presentation tied together his perceptions of the harmful effects of mainstream smoking, measurements of particulate levels in smoky environments made by himself some years ago, and a risk assessment to calculate lung cancer deaths per year due to ETS exposure.
- Douglas Walkinshaw (University of Toronto) was introduced as a voting member on ASHRAE standards committees and the Chairman of the coming Indoor Air Quality conference in Toronto in 1990. Elia Sterling was at pains in his introduction to illustrate that the proposed changes in ASHRAE standards were not brought about by pressure from the tobacco industry.
Walkinshaw presented the proposed standards, which suggest a minimum of 15 cfm per person in all areas whether smoking is present or not (presently recommendations are 5 cfm in non-smoking areas, 20 cfm in smoking areas). If accepted, these changes will recognise and improve all indoor air quality issues. I later discovered through discussions with Dr. Massey (ITL, Montreal) that Walkinshaw has been recruited by Philip Morris. [tobacco lobbyist and scientist]
- Ed Jacobs (Covington and Burling) [tobacco lawyer]gave a presentation aimed at reassuring the employer that an employee has no legal right to a smoke-free workplace.
- On the surface, it seems easy to draw parallels between the Tobacco industry and the Gas Industry over their work on indoor air quality. However, Irwin Billick (Gas Research Institute) used every opportunity to attack ETS and motor vehicle exhausts to divert attention away from his products. Moreover, Billick seemed over-friendly with Repace. The Gas industry are faced with product solutions which may be voluntary or regulated.