Fred Singer was paid by the tobacco industy to deny the effects of passive smoking

Left Foot Forward reported today that Tory MEP Roger Helmer is organising a “climate change sceptics’ conference” in Brussels. The list of speakers is a Who’s Who of climate change denial – people with an axe to grind in one hand and a distinct lack of peer-reviewed science in the other.

But one name on the list of speakers jumped out at Scrapbook – that of  Fred Singer. This is a man with a track record not only of whoring himself out to the powerful vested interests that fund climate change denial – but also to tobacco companies trying to stem the tide of research linking passive smoking to cancer and other illnesses in the 1980s and 90s.

Singer may well have built his reputation as an atmospheric physicist but by the 1990s he was working for a front group run by a PR company and funded by tobacco giant Philip Morris. The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition was established in 1993 to hang the label of “junk science” round research on the effects of passive smoking – including a Royal College of Physicians study showing that 17,000 under fives were hospitalised each year in the UK by second hand smoke. Other materials the tobacco industry paid Fred Singer to supress include:

A review by the World Health Organization concluded that passive smoking is a cause of bronchitis, pneumonia, coughing and wheezing, asthma attacks, middle ear infection, cot death, and possibly cardiovascular and neurobiological impairment in children. These findings were confirmed by the UK’s Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) which reviewed the evidence in 2004 following its initial report on secondhand smoke in 1998 … A recent study in Hong Kong found that babies living with two or more smokers were 30 per cent more likely to need hospital treatment than those who lived in smoke-free homes – Action on Smoking and Health

As for the link between smoking and cancer, his involvement with a campaign claiming that the relationship between passive smoking and cancer was one of “The Top Five Environmental Myths” speaks for itself.

Rather than hosting this charlatan at the European Parliament, perhaps Roger Helmer MEP should invite Fred Singer to an NHS cancer ward.

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