Abuse of epidemiology: automobile manufacturers manufacture a defense to asbestos liability

International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. 2005 Oct-Dec;11(4):360-71. [Links]

Egilman DS, Billings MA.

Department of Community Health, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. degilman@egilman.com


Much of the "debate" about the relationship between asbestos exposure from automobile brake work and asbestos-induced cancer has been fueled by studies that have been funded by corporations with billions at stake in tort litigation. The authors explore how asbestos-lined brake manufacturers have corrupted medical literature to escape liability, analyzing studies funded by these companies to enable them to claim that work with asbestos brake linings never causes mesothelioma. They reveal how the companies have redefined scientific criteria for the determination of cause-effect relationships and manipulated scientific data to give the impression of an absence of effect. But the absence of evidence is not evidence of the absence of an effect.