There’s more ugliness like what went on recently with Oregon State University. This professor exposed corruption within the California University system that had ties to the California Air Resources Board’s botched PM2.5 rules. As we’ve seen recently, this PM2.5 regulatory action is so vile that the EPA does unannounced human experimentation.
What’s academia’s response to a whistleblower who exposes fraudulent research and faked credentials on a panel of experts?
Fire the whistleblower, of course.
The lawsuit explains that Enstrom was a UCLA research professor for decades – until he blew the whistle on “junk environmental science and scientific misconduct at the University of California” and was dismissed.
“The facts of this case are astounding,” said David French, senior counsel for the ACLJ. “UCLA terminated a professor after 35 years of service simply because he exposed the truth about an activist scientific agenda that was not only based in fraud but violated California law for the sake of imposing expensive new environmental regulations on California businesses.”
French said, “UCLA’s actions were so extreme that its own Academic Freedom Committee unanimously expressed its concern about the case.”
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles alleges the school violated Enstrom’s constitutional rights under the First and 14th Amendments.
Enstrom’s Ph.D. from Stanford is in physics. He’s worked in the university system for more than 30 years. His difficulties started after his peer-reviewed inhalation toxicology report titled “Fine Particulate Air Pollution and total Mortality Among Elderly Californians 1973-2002,” the claim explains.
That study “found no relationship between PM2.5 (particulate matter) and total mortality in California,” the lawsuit said.
His finding contradicted the opinions of “several senior … faculty members. [Environmental Health Sciences] chair Jackson, EHS professors John Froines and Aurthur Winer, epidemiology and EHS professor Bente Ritz, and Dean Rosenstock have all publicly supported the widely popular – though scientifically unfounded – argument that diesel particulate matter and/or PM2.5 results in increased mortality risks for California citizens.”
Enstrom then contradicted the other researchers in testimony to the state legislature and further exposed the fraudulent credentials of Hien T. Tran, “a key CARB scientist and lead author of the October 24, 2008 CARB report on PM2.5 and premature death.
“Mr. Tran’s research report served as the primary public health justification for a new diesel vehicle regulatory scheme approved by CARB … Dr. Enstrom’s statements brought to light that Mr. Tran’s Ph.D. was not awarded by the University of California at Davis as Tran claimed. Mr. Tran subsequently admitted that he purchased his Ph.D. at a cost of $1,000 from ‘Thornhill University,’ a fake institution and Internet diploma mill based at a UPS store in New York.”
The complaint also asserted that members of a university committee had been serving indefinite terms, in violation of state rules limiting terms to three years.
Full story at WND
An essay in 2009 lays out why Enstrom was right:
California Ignores Scientific Protests, Passes New Diesel Regulations
Claiming their action will save thousands of Californians’ lives and reduce health care expenditures, the California Air Resources Board has imposed new emission regulations on diesel trucks despite objections from an array of experts about the regulatory process and the credibility of the science.
Vigorous protests of the new regulations and the claims of benefits were submitted by Dr. James Enstrom of UCLA and others, amounting to more than 100 pages of written criticisms of the CARB scientific process and the studies that CARB claimed showed thousands of deaths from diesel small particles.
The year-long process of development of the new regulations resulted in some very revealing public commentary, accusations of complicity in the scientific review process, and even misconduct by CARB officials.
In the biggest scandal, opposition scientists found the lead author of the key study by CARB had faked his Ph.D. and lacked expertise in air pollution research. In addition, CARB hired reviewers to review their own papers, naturally resulting in approval of the scientific studies that claimed the death and health effects.
Dr. Henry Miller, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, in a May 27, 2008 essay in The Washington Times, declared the new regulations, called the “Goods Movement Emission Reduction Plan” (GMERP), an overreach by CARB based on bad science that will drive business out of California.
Miller cited a large and detailed 2005 study by Enstrom, who has a real Ph.D. from Stanford and a Masters in Public Health from his current university, UCLA. Enstrom found no death effect in the period between 1983 and 2002 from fine particulate matter in the air.
In any fair analysis of science, such a study disproves the claims of CARB of thousands of deaths. Miller pointed out the harm to the California economy created by the new CARB rules will induce additional deaths due to the “income effect.” Miller, a physician and public health researcher, relates that it is well-established that premature deaths come to people suffering economic hardship and deprivation.
In a valiant effort to push back on the CARB diesel regulations, Enstrom and others provided commentary and analysis in 2008 that showed the CARB scientific process was poisoned with bias and insider dealing, including a review panel that was clearly not objective and was set up to give CARB what it wanted.
During the effort to urge CARB to reconsider the bad effects for little benefit, the Enstrom group found out the lead author for CARB on the study, Hien Tran, in fact did not have the Ph.D. claimed by CARB in its major study of air pollution and that he had authored no significant studies in air pollution toxicology.
On December 10, 2008, in a last effort to change CARB votes and ask for reconsideration of the new regulations with a more disciplined peer review and scientific process, Enstrom authored a letter to CARB reminding the board of the public comments submitted already by many distinguished scientists.
Enstrom noted CARB had not adequately responded to the many criticisms in the public comments raising process and evidentiary questions and refutations of the CARB claims of thousands of deaths. Submitters included Joel Schwartz from the American Enterprise Institute, Joseph Suchecki of the Engine Manufacturers Association, Dr. Suresh Moolgavkar, a prominent and nationally known epidemiologist, Dr. Fred Lipfert, also a national figure in public health, and Dr. John Dunn (the author of this essay), a 30-plus-year epidemiologist from UCLA.
They all asserted the CARB death projections were the product of an excessive zeal at CARB and unacceptably weak research on current California air pollution health effects. Moreover, the commentators pointed out the GMERP rules would impose new regulatory and economic burdens on industry and business that would result in hardship for the consuming public and harm the failing and frail California economy.
The public commentary, mostly from scientists and more than 140 pages, was negative, with the expected supportive letters from environmental organizations.
In his December 10 letter, Enstrom pointed out CARB’s disregard of public scientific commentary, the biased nature of the CARB consultants, lack of scientific qualifications of CARB lead author Hien Tran, and reasons why CARB should reconstitute its review process and committee members and restudy its scientific reports and projections of deaths.
In another December 2008 letter to CARB board members, Enstrom, Anthony Fucaloro, a 35-year chemist from Claremont McKenna University, Matt Malkan, a 25-year astrophysicist from UCLA, and Robert Phalen, a 35-year air pollution toxicologist from UC Irvine, pointed out their concerns:
General Concerns Regarding Air Pollution Health Effects and Regulations
1) Pollution levels are much lower today than in previous decades and current health risks are small.
2) Small epidemiologic associations are often spurious, rather than cause-and-effect relationships.
3) Regulations designed to solve one problem may have consequences that do more harm than good.
4) Scientists who are not popular activists are often marginalized and their important research is ignored.
5) Conflict of interest regarding power and funding exists between regulators and conforming scientists.
6) New regulations must be based on a fair evaluation of all available evidence from diverse sources.
Specific Concerns Regarding October 24, 2008 CARB Staff Report on PM 2.5 and Premature Deaths
1) Authors have no relevant peer-reviewed publications and lead author has misrepresented his “Ph.D.”
2) Report and public comments were never shown to outside reviewers as stated in Executive Summary.
3) Five independent sources indicate no current relationship between PM2.5 and deaths in California.
4) California has fourth lowest total age-adjusted death rate among US states and few “premature deaths.”
5) Diesel toxicity and fine particulate air pollution in California are currently at record low levels.
6) Before approving new diesel regulations, CARB should fully evaluate PM2.5 and deaths in California.
Important epidemiologic and toxicological evidence does not support adverse health effects of diesel claimed by CARB and new diesel regulations should be postponed until the above issues are fully and fairly evaluated.
The CARB board passed the rules unanimously. So much for the democratic process and scientific debate that results in good public policy.
John Dale Dunn MD JD
Consultant Emergency Services/Peer Review
Civilian Faculty, Emergency Medicine Residency
Carl R. Darnall Army Med Center
Fort Hood, Texas