Karl-Erik Tallmo on Tue, 9 Nov 2004 04:54:23 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> University warns against scientist

Hello all!

I have earlier (in 2002) reported on this list about the Swedish 
scientist Ragnar Rylander, working with environmental medicine at 
both the university in Gothenburg, Sweden, and in Geneva, 
Switzerland, who has been one of the tobacco industry's (secret) top 
star consultants in the world.

Recently, the Geneva university published its report on the case 
after a lengthy investigation of the professor's ties with the 
industry as well as of his scientific studies.

The conclusion is something quite unique. Not only does the 
university distance itself from professor Rylander and his secret 
ties and secret tobacco industry funding, but they actually warn the 
global scientific community against the whole body of his work. And 
they will issue these warnings further through three leading 
scientific journals.

The report was published October 29th in French 
(http://www.unige.ch/rectorat/pdf/Rapport_Rylander.pdf) and now it is 
available in English as well, see:


I will quote a couple of significant paragraphs:

>The scientific community and the general public must be told that 
>serious suspicion hangs over Ragnar Rylander's studies on the 
>effects of environmental tobacco smoke on health because the author 
>has not disclosed conflicts of interest that may influence the 
>significance of his research and that, given his role as secret 
>employee of the industry, he cannot be considered as an independent 
>scientist. The Fact-Finding Commission proposes that notification to 
>this effect be sent to the following journals:
>- European Journal of Public Health
>- Archives of Environmental Health
>- International Journal of Epidemiology
>[p. 4]
>Considering his close association with the tobacco industry and the 
>duplicity of his attitude throughout his professional career, it 
>appears that Ragnar Rylander was not able to preserve his 
>intellectual independence in the face of specific commercial 
>interests. Documentary evidence leads one to believe that the 
>attitude he adopted in his professional life consisted in 
>unilaterally defending the interests of the tobacco industry in the 
>conflict pitting the latter against scientists convinced of the 
>harmful effects of passive smoking. He helped to elaborate the 
>industry's strategy and in his agreements with the industry accepted 
>a secrecy clause that led him to suppress information known to him 
>regarding the toxic effects of smoking. The Commission considers it 
>legitimate to doubt the validity of the body of Ragnar Rylander's 
>work directly or indirectly concerned with tobacco smoke.
>[p. 22]

(If you wish to read a little more background material on this - 
including links to significant tobacco documents - see my article 

Karl-Erik Tallmo


   KARL-ERIK TALLMO, Swedish writer, artist and journalist.
   Contributor to Nordic dailies and magazines for the last 25
   years. Tallmo has written three books. He has participated as
   an expert in governmental investigations on new media and been
   a member of advisory boards, e.g. at the Royal Library, the
   Swedish IT Commission, and the Swedish Research Council.
   ARCHIVE: http://www.nisus.se/archive/artiklar.html        
   MAGAZINE: http://art-bin.com

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo@bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime@bbs.thing.net