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.
RESEARCH HELP: If you wish to help research or write for this project, we are always looking for volunteers.
E-mail the editor (below).
William A Erickson
An associate of Alan Hedge, at Cornell University's Department of Design and Environmental Analysis. Hedge, Erickson and Rubin conducted a series of studies examining the problem of sick building syndrome in buildings in a half-dozen states using questionnaires and IAQ testing equipment. They concluded that ETS was only a minor problem. This research was generously funded by the tobacco industry through the Center for Indoor Air Research (CIAR) which maintained that it was an independent research/grants organization.
It is difficult to know how much science lay behind this research (which was enthusiastically promoted by the tobacco industry as proving that smoke was only a trivial ambient air problem in offices and factories), simply because the only organizations who had the equipment and laboratories to do the actual analytical work were the tobacco companies.
Hedge and Erickson (Rubins did the statistical work) appear to have had all their equipment supplied (and standardized) by RJ Reynolds laboratories, who also did their testing for nicotine and particulate levels, etc.
Sick building syndrome was very largely a tobacco industry invention — an attempt to blame office air quality problems on "anything other than tobacco." The idea seems to have been invented by Professor Theodor D Sterling (who's son Elia ran TDSA Ltd. and did air-testing for the tobacco industry), and the tobacco industry took it up because it offered a seemingly-plausible alternate explanation to office-worker's headaches, etc. caused mainly be lack of adequate ventilation, given the amount of tobacco that was being smoked inside at the time.
'Sick-building syndrome' was also associated with genuine fears of Legionella, a bacterial disease found in poorly maintained water-bath air conditioners. These problems all emerged during the Arab oil-shock crisis, when building owners and operators tried to limit the heat/cold loss from their tightly-sealed air-conditioned buildings, to save on the escalating cost of heating and cooling.
The Cornell findings also seem to have been promoting an irrational fear of fibers, at a time when people were over-reacting about the dangers of asbestos to the point of panic.