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Fontham Study On Secondhand Smoking Has Major Flaw

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MARTHA PERSKE

Fontham Study on Secondhand Smoking Has Major Flaw

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A major flaw has been reported in the large Fontham study on Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS).

Fontham was the ONLY U.S. study in the EPA's risk assessment to show a statistically significant overall increase in lung cancer risk from ETS. But for some unexplained reason, Elizabeth Fontham has steadfastly refused to release her raw data.

Dr. William Butler, who discovered the apparent error, has submitted his findings to Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), along with a request that OSHA obtain the raw data from Fontham and make it available to him and other researchers. In his submission to OSHA (over 30 pages), he says:

"OSHA's preliminary quantitative risk assessment for workplace ETS and lung cancer includes estimates of risk obtained solely from the Fontham study [OSHA ignored other studies that reported no increased risk]. Mr. Martonik, testifying on behalf of OSHA, was asked during the public hearings whether OSHA's policy is to obtain the raw data for the studies in the record. Mr. Martonik (tr. 65) replied that '(i)t depends upon the study and its relevance towards making our finding of significant risk.' Because OSHA's significant risk analysis of lung cancer relies heavily on the results from the Fontham study which have been shown here to be biased towards the overestimation, OSHA should insist on obtaining the raw data from the Fontham study. These data should also be made public so that others could execute confirmatory analyses."


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