Further Information

A Critical Examination of OSHA’s Assessment of Risk Associated with Workplace Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke | T. D. Sterling, W. L. Rosenbaum, James J. Weinkam
Article Published: 1996

Type: Articles and Dissertations
Published By: Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 29, 233-240 (1996)

Further Information

"In a recently reported criticism of the way federal agencies have implemented risk assessment, the Office of Management and Budget made a number of specific recommendations, including:
  1. Studies showing positive relationships should not outweigh those showing no relationship. 1
  2. Decision makers should be provided with expected, unbiased risk, estimates of uncertainty, and outer ranges of potential risk.
  3. A renewed effort must be made to separate science from policy.
"The OSHA risk assessment has clearly failed in the first two points. In performing their workplace ETS risk assessment, OSHA was under considerable pressure to arrive at conclusions similar to those of other governmental agencies such as the Surgeon General and the EPA.


"In their estimate of workplace ETS effects, OSHA appears to have allowed policy direct the science rather than the other way around. Accepting the OSHA risk assessment, because not to do so may be politically harmful, will cause untold damage to future risk determination."

So it happened. Theodor Sterling's prediction was entirely correct. As in the times of the USSR, science has become a slave of policy and ideology, and therefore an incredible farce when it comes to “public health.” Two years after this paper was written, the Master Settlement Agreement forbade the tobacco industry from criticizing prohibitionist dogma. The industry has allowed itself to be suppressed and silenced.

The truth can only exist on the side of antitobacco. So goes the ideology, but not reality.

1 The overwhelming majority of studies on passive smoking found no statistically significant risk association with passive smoking. "Prestigious" studies which have found no effect or health benefit from passive smoking are nevertheless typically cited by antitobacco as not inconsistent with a possibility of risk, a sort of fanatical "you cannot prove a negative" view, itself consistent with the viewpoints of all dogmatic idelogies.

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