42 Years - A Professional Law Corporation - Helping Asbestos Victims Since 1974

David Egilman

Kazan Law Referenced In Asbestos Research Article

Kazan LawAs experienced asbestos lawyers, Kazan Law wins cases for our clients not only because we intricately know the laws involving asbestos litigation, but because we also know and understand the science of asbestos exposure. We know both the legal and scientific history that connects asbestos exposure to the development of fatal lung diseases – primarily malignant mesothelioma. This informed background gives us the working knowledge good asbestos lawyers should have to fully represent their clients’ interest.

But sometimes, we happily discover that our knowledgeable careful asbestos litigation work has, in addition to helping our clients, also helped advance scientific knowledge in the understanding of asbestos. Talk about a win-win!

So we are very proud to report that a new scientific article published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health references Kazan Law and work we did on one of our asbestos cases. The article is aptly titled, “Dust diseases and the legacy of corporate manipulation of science and law” – a topic we certainly know more than a little about.

The objective of this article researched and written by Dr. David Egilman of Brown University and colleagues is, in their own words:

  • To understand the ongoing corporate influence on the science and politics of asbestos and silica exposure, including litigation defense strategies related to historical manipulation of science.

For their exploration of this topic, they examined previously secret corporate documents, depositions and trial testimony produced in litigation – that’s where we come in; as well as published literature. They cited an admission we obtained from a corporate witness to prove that a supposedly scientific article was paid for even though the author denied it.

The results of this investigative study, quoted below, came as no surprise to experienced asbestos attorneys like us:

  • Our analysis indicates that companies that used and produced asbestos have continued and intensified their efforts to alter the asbestos-cancer literature and utilize dust-exposure standards to avoid liability and regulation.

The researchers discuss how this is an ongoing problem; not an artifact of the twentieth century. And they note how manipulating data and regulations allows asbestos companies to continue to mine and sell asbestos in developing countries. Clearly, these companies are taking unscrupulous advantage of the poverty, lack of education and weaker regulations in these nations.

These are situations that are constantly monitored by people like Kathleen Ruff in Canada and Laurie Kazan-Allen, my sister, in England. We frequently report on their findings here in this blog.

We are proud to be part of both this current academic article and the bigger picture of seeking justice for those exposed to asbestos due to corporate malfeasance.

Asbestos Industry Funds Allegedly Biased Scientist’s Research

Mcgill_BuildingAsbestos regulation and legal cases often rely on testimony from expert witnesses who are supposed to provide factual impartial evidence.  Typically these expert witnesses are medical professionals and scientific researchers who can influence decisions because of their knowledge of asbestos and how it affects human health at various exposure levels.

But what if the experts who are supposed to be the ultimate authority on asbestos allow their opinions to be swayed by the business interests of whoever is funding their research?  What if the entity funding the research sees it as a business investment with an expected return instead of a philanthropic use of funds to advance scientific knowledge to help all humankind?

This is what a professor from Ivy League Brown University is alleging about a professor at Canada’s prestigious McGill University.

David S. Egilman, MD, MPH, a clinical professor of family medicine at Rhode Island’s Brown University suggests impropriety in his presentation at an asbestos industry conference held at McGill University last week.  Entitled “The Past is Prologue, Universities in Service to Corporations:  the McGill QAMA Asbestos Example.”

In his presentation, Dr. Egilman questions the accuracy of the conclusions of research on asbestos miners by McGill’s Prof. J.C. McDonald.  Prof. McDonald’s research was reportedly financed with one million dollars by the Quebec Asbestos Mining Association (QAMA).

“The available published data shows that the data reported does not support the conclusions,” Dr. Egilman says in the presentation.

The controversy was reported by Kathleen Ruff in an e-bulletin produced by the nonprofit Rideau Institute based in Ottawa.  Ruff, one of the Institute’s founders, is noted for her advocacy to end Canada’s export of asbestos.

“Prof. McDonald used his research to promote the use of chrysotile asbestos around the world. His research continues today to be used by the global asbestos industry to promote the sale and use of chrysotile asbestos. It was used, for example, by the global asbestos lobby at the May 2013 Rotterdam Convention conference to help defeat the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance,”  Ruff states.

Dr. Egilman and other scientists, according to Ruff, asked McGill to conduct an official investigation under the university’s research integrity regulations. McGill has refused and instead carried out an internal review which, according to Ruff, was “flawed by bias, lack of transparency and misinformation.”

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