The risks less likely to be informed by public health researchers paid by industry or military ;
Scientists for risks for environmental and occupational health are less likely to find them if they have a business to companies that do loop, use, or dispose of industrial and commercial products, University of Illinois at Chicago researcher he has found.
In the largest and the first comprehensive study on the results of conflicts of interest among researchers of environmental and occupational health, UIC researcher Lee Friedman found a clear association between the findings of adverse outcomes for health and financial conflicts of interest among researchers conducting these studies.
Their results are published in Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine .
“Studies funded by organizations that are involved in environmental exposure to pollutants or their workers to hazardous materials are substantially less likely to observe an association that these exposures have or increase the risk of negative consequences for health , “Friedman, associate professor of environmental science and occupational health at the UIC School of Public health professor said.
Friedman said the link between financial conflict of interest and negative for risk was stronger in studies in which the primary author is employed by the military.
Other studies have shown that business financing tends to lead to conclusions favorable to the company when looking at issues of food and drug safety and climate. But the new study is the first to find a link between conflict and favorable financial results in studies of risks from exposure to physical health risks in the workplace or at home and the chemical potential.
“financial implications of the research findings in this field are as important, if not more, [in] other fields,” Friedman said, noting that the environment and Occupational Health studies it can often lead to civil lawsuits, fines, and stricter government regulation for the production, use or disposal of commercial products.
Friedman met 373 original studies, peer-reviewed published in 2012 seeking associations between human exposure to consumer products and agricultural and adverse health effects . the affiliation of the authors with government and corporate funding sources and the general conclusions of each study regarding the health risks posed by environmental or occupational exposures was examined.
In 64 studies, the authors describe a financial conflict of interest. Approximately half of these studies reported the discovery of a health risk; about 30 percent reported mixed results; and 20 percent reported no findings of risk. In contrast, only 13.5 percent of the studies reported no findings of risk when there was no conflict of interest between the authors.
On closer look, simply receive money to carry out research of an organization was not very predictive of risk insignificant report authors, Friedman said. However, a regular paycheck was.
“Employment is a key factor,” he said.
While 28.3 percent of the studies published by authors with financial conflict reported no risk interest when none of the authors was actually employed by an organization involved in the processing, use or elimination of the hazard in question, this proportion rose to 59 percent of the studies if any of the authors was so busy. If it was the primary author was employed, the proportion rose from studies that find no risk increased to 64 percent if the employer was a corporation and 83 percent if the pattern was military.
Friedman said some critics have alleged that scientists would be more likely to find risk if their research has been funded by regulatory agencies such as the Agency for Environmental Protection. However, it was found that government-funded studies did not differ in their likelihood of finding risks from studies in which the authors had no obvious interest in the outcome.
“The claim that government-funded studies would be disproportionately report results … [risk] because of systematic bias by employees within these organizations is not based on the results of this analysis” Friedman said.
Friedman says part of the problem with transparency about conflicts of interest is that the responsibility to disclose that is based solely on the author.
“There are few repercussions for not disclosing a conflict, and there are few protections for whistleblowers,” he said. “What solutions are developed, they should be widely adopted as international, so authors do not publish through countries where getting around reporting conflict of interest is easier.”
When asked if he had any conflict of interest to report this study, Friedman said, “I have not received any funding request for this research.”
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