Collegium Ramazzini styles itself as an “independent, international academy.” The Collegium Ramazzini was founded in 1982, by the late Irving Selikoff and others to serve as an advocacy forum for their pro-compensation and aggressive regulation views on social and political issues involving occupational and environmental health.
The Collegium is a friendly place where plaintiffs’ expert witnesses, consultants, and advocates never have to declare their conflicts of interest. Last year, in October 2014, the Collegium conducted a conference on silica health issues, entitled “Silica Three Hundred Years Later: Occupational Exposure, Medical Monitoring, and Regulation.”
The silica session was chaired by Christine Oliver, one of plaintiff’s key expert witnesses in Allen v. Martin Surfacing, 263 F.R.D. 47 (D. Mass. 2009). See “Bad Gatekeeping or Missed Opportunity – Allen v. Martin Surfacing” (Nov. 30, 2012). The purported goal of the session was
“to shine a light on silica as a persistent and dangerous threat to the health of exposed workers worldwide,” focusing on the following issues:
“1) Occupational silica exposures, new and old;
2) silica as a recognized human lung carcinogen and its interaction with other lung carcinogens such as tobacco smoke;
3) the role of silica and silicosis in tuberculosis;
4) issues relevant to medical surveillance of silica-exposed workers as set forth in OSHA’s proposed silica standard;
5) the role of the US Government in protecting the health of silica-exposed workers; and
6) international variability in addressing the threat to worker health posed by silicosis.”
Recently, the Collegium updated its website to provide PDF files of some of the conference presentations:
Carol H. Rice, “Silica – old, new and emerging uses result in worker exposure”
Arthur L. Frank, “Silica as a lung carcinogen”
A poster session chaired by Melissa McDiarmid and Carol Rice, revealingly titled “Sustainable Work 2020 – an advocacy platform for Horizon 2020,” followed. Casey Bartrem asked whether “Asbestos-induced lung cancer in Germany: is the compensation practice in accordance with the epidemiological findings?” Odds are that this presentation was a brief for greater compensation. Xaver Baur of Germany, presented on the “Ethics in the applied sciences: The challenge of preventing corporate influence over public health regulation,” but remarkably no one presented on the challenge of preventing the litigation and compensation industry’s influence over public health regulation.
You won’t find any cutting-edge science in the linked slides, but you will find some interesting revelations. Sverre Langard’s presentation makes the dramatic point that silicosis has been declining, despite the hand waving of OSHA Administrator David Michaels, and the histortions of Rosner and Markowitz. Consider Langard’s slide, based upon CDC data:
And consider the admissions of Arthur Frank, veteran plaintiffs’ expert witness, who acknowledged that:
“until very recently it [silica] was not recognized as a carcinogen.”
True to form, Dr. Frank blamed Selikoff and his other teachers at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, where he trained:
“At Mount Sinai I did not get trained that silica was a carcinogen”
Well, even a scurry of blind squirrels sometimes find their nuts!
Henry A. Anderson, Barry Castleman, David C. Christiani, Carl F. Cranor, Devra Lee Davis , John M. Dement, Arthur Frank, Bernard D. Goldstein, Howard Frumkin, Lennart Hardell, Peter F. Infante, Joseph LaDou, Philip Landrigan, Richard A. Lemen, Barry S. Levy, Roberto G. Lucchini, Steven B. Markowitz, Myron A. Mehlman, Ronald L. Melnick, Donna Mergler, Albert Miller, Franklin E. Mirer, Herbert L. Needleman, L. Christine Oliver, David M. Ozonoff, Carol H. Rice, Kenneth D. Rosenman, Sheldon W. Samuels, Ellen K. Silbergeld, Peter D. Sly, Martyn Thomas Smith, Colin L. Soskolne, Leslie Thomas Stayner, Daniel T. Teitelbaum, Laura Welch