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Thoughts On Coca, Cannabis, Opium & Tobacco – Gifts Of The Great Spirit


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Tobacco Road – Brazilian Tobacco, Nerve Agents, and American Cigarettes

Banned Pesticides In Tobacco Products – Background

The tobacco industry is extremely careful not to allow any studies of pesticide residues on its cigarette products in any country but particularly in the US. Please take a look – the studies don’t exist. FDA and EPA and Truth Initiative all know exactly what is going on, but there are no studies and no regulations.

That’s also true at the level of state health agencies too – they do not regulate pesticide residues in tobacco products, period. Not even California, which regulates environmental toxins in everything else.  The industry has been very quietly busy keeping the lid on for all of the past 50 years because it is exquisitely aware that if the extent of this chemical contamination were known and understood for what it is then regulation and massive accountability would be inevitable.

So here’s some probably too-detailed background on the issue and why I think it represents a new broad area for regulatory control of the harm being done by Tobacco products. 

European regulators in several countries, notably Germany, and acting through the EU Commission as a whole, are already way ahead of the US in identifying and regulating the public health threat caused by pesticide residues in Tobacco products. Australia is also far advanced in both research and regulation, although the industry is fighting a long-planned rearguard action while it changes shape.

But, because of the tight control that the Tobacco industry has over the US media, Americans who are casually consuming “the news” will NEVER hear about these controls on pesticide contamination. And because of the control that the Tobacco industry has over the US scientific and medical communities, you will NEVER find that anyone in the entire anti-tobacco movement has ever spent a few hundred bucks and tested some off-the-shelf Tobacco products for pesticide residues. Go ahead – Google away. It’s just not there. 

Does that strike anyone other than me as a bit odd?

That tight grip on public knowledge, by the way, comes from clandestine financial controls,  domination of advertising, hidden ownership of important media, and co-opted journalists at every level of every important media player.  To the Tobacco industry, this is all a game-planned process.

That may sound like a cold-blooded way to refer to the slaughter of untold millions of people across generations of smokers and their families, but you can be certain that as far as the tobacco industry is concerned it’s a game, and when it comes to money they are definitely cold-blooded, and they’re playing for keeps.

The Smoking Gun

As you read this please keep in mind that all it took to bring down Al Capone was one small tax evasion charge that the feds could make stick. 

So. There has only been one small study of pesticides in actual commercial cigarettes since the 1970’s, but if that study is at all representative of the state of the 2018 commercial cigarette market (parenthetical comment – it is, as you’ll see documented later) then regulators worldwide ought to be pulling cigarettes from shelves and running them through pesticide testing. Don’t you think?

Geiss, O., Kotzias, D., “Determination of Ammonium, Urea and Pesticide Residues in Cigarette Tobacco“. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin (FEB), No. 12 (2003), 1562– 1565

I can hear the Tobacco science flacks now. “Well,  that data is from 2003. That was 15 years ago. And besides those pesticides aren’t permitted on tobacco anymore.”

Oh, really?So, you would think that if nasty old Endosulfan, Heptachlor and 4,4-DDE, and a whole lot more organochlorine and organophosphate pesticides weren’t being used on tobacco anymore then the tobacco industry scientific organization CORESTA wouldn’t be publishing “good practice” guidelines updated June 2018 that lists acceptable limits on them – right?

https://www.coresta.org/agrochemical-guidance-residue-levels-grls-29205.html

Well, just because the tobacco industry chooses to publish good practice limits on those banned pesticides, that doesn’t mean they are still being used – right? When you read the document it is absolutely clear – these pesticide residues are being detected in Tobacco and Tobacco products worldwide and the industry is worried enough to publish “good practice” and “stewardship” guidelines, including guidelines for dozens of pesticides that are banned because chronic exposure in any amount is hazardous – like through a few hundred puffs of Tobacco product smoke or vapor a day.

Also if you open that CORESTA link above, please notice their innocent little qualifying remark:

“The GRLs are applicable to cured tobacco leaf while focusing on processed tobacco leaf which is predominantly used for the production of traditional cigarette tobaccos and the GAPs associated with the cultivation of these tobacco types.”

In other words we are just going to ignore the issue of pesticide residues on Tobacco stems and trash, which we know are present in higher concentrations than on the leaf, because we don’t want to raise that particular issue. Oh, and since tobacco leaf goes to Europe and the stems and trash goes everywhere else including especially the US, we really only care about pesticide residues in tobacco leaf anyway.

How We Know Brazilian Tobacco Is Widely Contaminated

With that hidden public health issue in mind, let’s look at pesticide use on tobacco in Brazil – as good a place to start as any. We could look at dozens of other countries, but Brazil is the biggest exporter of tobacco to the US. 

First, note that Brazilian tobacco uses twice as much pesticide per hectare as the next biggest user, cotton, and three times as much as soybeans. That is significant – it means that Brazilian Tobacco plants are drenched with these chemicals.

That’s how we know beyond reasonable doubt that Brazilian Tobacco waste exports to the US are contaminated, and probably very heavily contaminated. That doesn’t worry the US Tobacco companies because nobody is watching what they do except for their own people, a few corrupt officials, and some piss-ant regulations that aren’t enforced and don’t matter.

Well, OK. So tobacco uses a lot of pesticides. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are using banned pesticides, or pesticides known to be dangerous if inhaled even in small doses on a chronic basis.

Actually, they are. If you click here and are a patient reader there’s all the evidence you’ll ever need that tobacco from Brazil is lethal – and not because it’s tobacco.That link is a pretty detailed research piece that looks at the health impact of pesticides on tobacco farmers in Brazil, and in the process it talks in detail about the pesticides they are exposed to. Of course, these are the same pesticides whose residues wind up on Brazilian tobacco. Check it out.

So, it’s clear that a great many pesticides being used on tobacco in Brazil. This isn’t the only piece of evidence, by far. When you look at all the evidence, it is clear that banned organochlorine and organophosphate pesticides are being used intensively on Brazilian tobacco as recently as early 2018.

The reason that’s important is that all of the trash from the Brazilian tobacco industry – not the tobacco leaf, but the stems and waste from the factory floors – winds up being shipped to the US for manufacturing into American cigarettes. That tobacco trash and stems is if anything more heavily contaminated with pesticides than the tobacco leaf (because it includes systemic pesticides), which is kept in Brazil and Argentina for making cigarettes out of real leaf tobacco – the kind demanded by smokers in Latin America.

The contaminated tobacco trash is sent to the US, and look who’s bringing it in. (We’ll get to why in a minute.)

That’s a whole lot of tobacco trash, isn’t it? Well, those are only the records of two shipments of toxic waste brought to the US by Big Tobacco. There are plenty more. Now, let’s talk about why they are bringing in all those tobacco stems from Brazil and other waste dumps on the planet.

How Brazilian Nerve Poisons Get Into Those Marlboros, Camels etc.

It’s really pretty simple. The tobacco industry figured out years ago that American smokers didn’t really care what they were smoking, and since the tobacco companies could sell the actual leaf to Europeans and Latin Americans who cared, why not use all those stalks and stems and trash that they were just throwing away and figure out how to make cigarettes out of it?

Here’s a short video by Philip Morris showing in detail how they take tobacco waste and turn it into cigarettes. They treat this process as though it is a miraculous achievement. While you watch how this cigarette giant makes fake tobacco for American smokers, remember those pesticide residues on those millions of pounds of Brazilian tobacco waste they’re grinding up and bragging about.

There is major deception at @ 2:11-20. Can you can spot it now that you know about the pesticide residues in that trash they’re turning into cigarettes?

Click here for the video.

At this point you may be asking what contaminated Brazilian tobacco trash has to do with where we started – banned pesticides in commercial cigarettes in Europe, including two prominent American brands.The relevance is that the banned pesticides in those 2003 EU cigarettes got into them exactly the same way that banned pesticides are getting into every US cigarette manufactured with Brazilian tobacco stems and trash in 2018.

The tobacco stems and trash that are being exported from Brazil ( and other countries, but Brazil is the biggest US supplier) to Europe and to America are used for the same thing – to make fake tobacco cigarettes chock full of invisible poisons on that waste Tobacco just like in the Philip Morris video above. Philip Morris, RJR and the others know for a fact that their manufacturing materials are contaminated with banned toxic substances, and they may even quietly test for some of these poisons, but they have never issued a recall for a single batch of Tobacco products which they would have a positive duty to do if banned pesticide residues were detected.

The Latest Research Results.

We’ve just updated our research data with lab test results on five popular brands of tobacco products, These tests were conducted in December 2018 in Portland, Oregon, Here are the results.

Community Tobacco Control Partners Test Results 12/18

You can see clearly where all that DDT from Brazil winds up – right in the lungs of young US smokers who just love those sweet fruity Swisher Sweets.

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Stone Killers

If you want a new way to control the damage that Tobacco products do to your community, then this may interest you.

This post offers credible tobacco industry data showing all of the pesticides that contaminate Tobacco products worldwide. It is published by CORESTA, the tobacco industry’s captive science & research institute. This information alone can empower local initiatives by offering credible evidence that banned toxic substances may be contaminating locally-sold Tobacco products.

If your local health department has regulations that allow it to investigate whether a product being sold in your community is contaminated with banned pesticide residues, then this list will give them probable cause to sample locally-sold Tobacco products and test for the presence of banned pesticide chemicals.

It is important for you to keep in mind, when making such a request, that (1) it doesn’t matter that the products are Tobacco – they are just like pesticide contaminated candles, air fresheners or incense – and (2) these contaminants are present because of negligence by the manufacturer and lack of regulatory oversight by any superior authority, so the local authorities have to act in the interest of public health and safety.

So this is it – the official (but highly confidential) June, 2018 tobacco industry guide to the pesticide chemicals used on tobacco worldwide. It’s an industry list cautioning manufacturers to ‘watch out’ for these chemicals that remain on Tobacco from the fields, which means that it’s a list of what the industry knows is potentially present in any Tobacco product anywhere.

Many of these pesticides are damaging to human health at very low levels of chronic exposure – just like a smoker gets 100-200 times a day, 365 days a year puffing away and inhaling the pesticide residues invisibly contaminating the tobacco in their cigarette. (Except that it isn’t really tobacco, but that’s another post.)

But the really severe public health threat created by pesticides on Tobacco lies in the industry’s attempt to pivot toward vaporizing. Imagine that instead of being at least partially destroyed by combustion and smoking, all those pesticides are now being gently vaporized and delivered full-strength to your lungs as IQOS Tobacco vapor.

While the tobacco industry publishes pesticide standards for its members, it makes clear that nobody actually has to follow this industry guidance. The tobacco companies are safe from accountability because there is no testing of commercial cigarettes in the United States for the presence of any of these chemicals, and what little testing the FDA, EPA and USDA do perform almost seems deliberately designed to shield the tobacco industry from investigation. It’s not as if the FDA doesn’t have the authority to demand that Tobacco companies at least keep the contamination down a little. 

907(a)(1)(B) of Section 907 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act:

(B) ADDITIONAL SPECIAL RULE.—Beginning 2 years after the date of enactment of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, a tobacco product manufacturer shall not use tobacco, including foreign grown tobacco, that contains a pesticide chemical residue that is at a level greater than is specified by any tolerance applicable under Federal law to domestically grown tobacco.

Please keep that language in mind as you browse the list below. Chronic low-dose exposure to any one of the pesticides on this list, just by itself, is enough to cause serious damage to human adults, children and babies. The US government, along with the health authorities of every state, seem collectively uninterested in knowing what dozens of these violent chemicals, all being either burned or heated, smoked or vaporized and then inhaled actively or passively are doing to smokers or vapers, their families and everybody else downwind every day of their lives.

One last thing – notice that there are a lot of banned pesticides on the list. That’s because the Tobacco industry recognizes that large stores of these chemicals still exist and farmers still use them for one simple reason – they  kill bugs. It might also be that these chemicals are still being made in black factories in India and China.

Whether using banned pesticides or not, most small farmers in the Third World can’t even read the labels, if there are any, so all they care about is killing bugs and fungus. Every pound of tobacco that bugs eat and fungus destroys is one less pound the farmer has to sell to feed his family, which doesn’t mean that the kids just go without a snack for a day or two.

So of course hundreds of thousands of small tobacco farmers worldwide are going to use triple-witching stuff like Endrin, Heptachlor, Aldrin, and Dieldrin whenever they can get it or whenever they are told to use it. Because while manufacturing of these incredibly toxic chemicals is banned almost everywhere, ‘black’ factories in China and India are churning out the oldies but goodies by the ton and selling them in countries where 50% of all pesticides are used on just one crop – tobacco.

But of course regulatory authorities in the ‘advanced’ countries like the US don’t test for these banned pesticides in anything anymore, much less in tobacco products like cigarettes, because “nobody uses them anymore and all the old stores have been used up or destroyed long ago”.


Table 1.   Crop Protection Agent (CPA) Guidance Residue Levels (GRL)

This is not a list of recommended CPAs (Crop Protection Agents) for tobacco. That is a matter for official and/or industry bodies in each country.

  • GRLs have not yet been set for all CPAs registered for tobacco. Setting GRLs is an ongoing process based on a list of priorities decided by frequency of use and importance to leaf production.
  • The presence of a compound does not imply endorsement by CORESTA
  • The entries in the list do not replace MRLs (Maximum Residue Levels) set by the authorities. Compliance with MRLs is a legal requirement for countries that have set them for
No. CPA GRL

(ppm)

Residue definition Notes
1 2,4,5-T 0.05 2,4,5-T
2 2,4-D 0.2 2,4-D
3 Acephate 0.1 Acephate
4 Acetamiprid 3 Acetamiprid
5 Acibenzolar-S-methyl 5 Acibenzolar-S-methyl
6 Alachlor 0.1 Alachlor
 

7

 

Aldicarb (S)

 

0.5

sum of Aldicarb, Aldicarb sulfoxide and Aldicarb sulfone, expressed as Aldicarb
8 Aldrin + Dieldrin 0.02 Aldrin + Dieldrin
9 Azinphos-ethyl 0.1 Azinphos-ethyl
10 Azinphos-methyl 0.3 Azinphos-methyl
11 Benalaxyl 2 Benalaxyl
12 Benfluralin 0.06 Benfluralin
 

13

 

Benomyl (a)

sum of Benomyl, Carbendazim, and Thiophanate-methyl expressed as Carbendazim  

see Carbendazim

14 Bifenthrin 3 Bifenthrin
15 Bromophos 0.04 Bromophos
16 Butralin 5 Butralin
17 Camphechlor (S) (Toxaphene) 0.3 Camphechlor (mixture of chlorinated camphenes)
18 Captan 0.7 Captan
19 Carbaryl 0.5 Carbaryl
 

20

 

Carbendazim (a)

 

2

sum of Benomyl, Carbendazim, and Thiophanate-methyl expressed as Carbendazim
 

21

 

Carbofuran (S)

 

0.5

sum of Carbofuran and 3- Hydroxycarbofuran expressed as Carbofuran
22 Chinomethionat 0.1 Chinomethionat
23 Chlorantraniliprole 10 Chlorantraniliprole
24 Chlordane (S) 0.1 sum of cis-Chlordane and trans- Chlordane
25 Chlorfenvinphos (S) 0.04 sum of (E)-Chlorfenvinphos and (Z)-Chlorfenvinphos

 

No. CPA GRL

(ppm)

Residue definition Notes
26 Chlorothalonil 1 Chlorothalonil
27 Chlorpyrifos 0.5 Chlorpyrifos
28 Chlorpyrifos-methyl 0.2 Chlorpyrifos-methyl
29 Chlorthal-dimethyl 0.5 Chlorthal-dimethyl
30 Clomazone 0.2 Clomazone
31 Cyfluthrin (S) 2 Cyfluthrin (sum of all isomers)
32 Cyhalothrin (S) 0.5 Cyhalothrin (sum of all isomers)
33 Cymoxanil 0.1 Cymoxanil
34 Cypermethrin (S) 1 Cypermethrin (sum of all isomers)
 

35

 

DDT (S)

 

0.2

sum of o,p’- and p,p’-DDT, o,p’-

and p,p’-DDD (TDE), o,p’- and p,p’-DDE expressed as DDT

 

36

 

Deltamethrin (b)

 

1

sum of Deltamethrin and Tralomethrin expressed as Deltamethrin
 

 

37

 

 

Demeton-S-methyl (S)

 

 

0.1

sum of Demeton-S-methyl, Oxydemeton-methyl (Demeton-S- methyl sulfoxide) and Demeton-S- methyl sulfone expressed as Demeton-S-methyl
38 Diazinon 0.1 Diazinon
39 Dicamba 0.2 Dicamba
 

40

 

Dichlorvos (c)

 

0.1

sum of Dichlorvos, Naled and Trichlorfon expressed as Dichlorvos
41 Dicloran 0.1 Dicloran
42 Diflubenzuron 0.1 Diflubenzuron
 

43

 

Dimethoate (d)

 

0.5

sum of Dimethoate and Omethoate expressed as Dimethoate
44 Dimethomorph (S) 2 sum of (E)-Dimethomorph and (Z)-Dimethomorph
 

45

 

Disulfoton (S)

 

0.1

sum of Disulfoton, Disulfoton sulfoxide, and Disulfoton sulfone expressed as Disulfoton
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

46

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dithiocarbamates (as CS2) (e)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dithiocarbamates expressed as CS2

In countries where fungal diseases such as blue mould are a persistent problem in the field throughout the growing season, the use of dithio- carbamates (DTC) fungicides may be an essential part of the season-long disease management strategy and in keeping with GAP as a means of ensuring crop quality and economic viability for the producer. Under high disease pressure residues of dithio- carbamates (DTC) fungicides slightly in excess of the specified GRL may be observed.   In countries where there is not a field fungal disease problem the use of fungicides is not necessary, and there should be no residues detected. Consistent with GAP, dithiocarbamates (DTC) fungicides must be used only according to label instructions to combat fungal diseases in the seedbed and in the field.

 

No. CPA GRL

(ppm)

Residue definition Notes
 

47

 

Endosulfans (S)

 

1

sum of alpha- and beta-isomers and Endosulfan-sulphate expressed as Endosulfan
48 Endrin 0.05 Endrin
49 Ethoprophos 0.1 Ethoprophos
50 Famoxadone 5 Famoxadone
 

51

 

Fenamiphos (S)

 

0.5

sum of Fenamiphos, Fenamiphos sulfoxide and Fenamiphos sulfone expressed as Fenamiphos
52 Fenitrothion 0.1 Fenitrothion
 

53

 

Fenthion (S)

 

0.1

sum of Fenthion, Fenthion sulfoxide and Fenthion sulfone expressed as Fenthion
54 Fenvalerate (S) 1 Fenvalerate (sum of all isomers including Esfenvalerate)
55 Fluazifop-butyl (S) 1 Fluazifop-butyl (sum of all isomers)
56 Flumetralin 5 Flumetralin
57 Fluopyram (g) 5 Fluopyram
58 Folpet 0.2 Folpet
59 HCH (a-, b-, d-) 0.05 HCH (a-, b-, d-)
60 HCH (g-) (Lindane) 0.05 HCH (g-) (Lindane)
 

61

 

Heptachlor (S)

 

0.02

sum of Heptachlor and two Heptachlor epoxides (cis- and trans-) expressed as Heptachlor
62 Hexachlorobenzene 0.02 Hexachlorobenzene
63 Imidacloprid 5 Imidacloprid
64 Indoxacarb (S) 15 Sum of S isomer + R isomer
 

65

 

Iprodione (S)

 

0.5

sum of Iprodione and N-3,5- dichlorophenyl-3-isopropyl-2,4- dioxoimidazolyzin-1-carboxamide expressed as Iprodione
66 Malathion 0.5 Malathion
 

 

 

 

 

67

 

 

 

 

 

Maleic hydrazide

 

 

 

 

 

80

 

 

 

 

Maleic hydrazide (free and bounded form)

In some instances, where GAP is implemented and label recom- mendations with regard to application rates and timing are strictly adhered to, residue levels may exceed the current GRL of 80 ppm as a result of extreme weather conditions and the current technology available for application. However, as with all CPAs, all efforts should be made to strictly follow label application rates, and use should be no more than necessary to achieve the desired effect.
68 Metalaxyl (S) 2 sum of all isomers including Metalaxyl-M / Mefenoxam
69 Methamidophos 1 Methamidophos
70 Methidathion 0.1 Methidathion
 

71

 

Methiocarb (S)

 

0.2

sum of Methiocarb, Methiocarb sulfoxide, and Methiocarb sulfone expressed as Methiocarb

 

No. CPA GRL

(ppm)

Residue definition Notes
 

72

 

Methomyl (f)

 

1

sum of Methomyl, Methomyl- oxime, and Thiodicarb expressed as Methomyl
73 Methoxychlor 0.05 Methoxychlor
74 Mevinphos (S) 0.04 Mevinphos (sum E and Z isomers)
75 Mirex 0.08 Mirex
76 Monocrotophos 0.3 Monocrotophos
 

77

 

Naled (c)

sum of Dichlorvos, Naled, and Trichlorfon expressed as Dichlorvos  

see Dichlorvos

78 Nitrofen 0.02 Nitrofen
79 Omethoate (d) sum of Dimethoate and Omethoate expressed as Dimethoate see Dimethoate
80 Oxadixyl 0.1 Oxadixyl
81 Oxamyl 0.5 Oxamyl
82 Parathion (-ethyl) 0.06 Parathion
83 Parathion-methyl 0.1 Parathion-methyl
84 Pebulate 0.5 Pebulate
85 Penconazole 1 Penconazole
86 Pendimethalin 5 Pendimethalin
87 Permethrin (S) 0.5 Permethrin (sum of all isomers)
88 Phorate 0.05 Phorate
89 Phosalone 0.1 Phosalone
90 Phosphamidon (S) 0.05 Phosphamidon (sum of E and Z isomers)
91 Phoxim 0.5 Phoxim
92 Piperonyl butoxide 3 Piperonyl butoxide
93 Pirimicarb 0.5 Pirimicarb
94 Pirimiphos-methyl 0.1 Pirimiphos-methyl
95 Profenofos 0.1 Profenofos
96 Propoxur 0.1 Propoxur
97 Pymetrozine 1 Pymetrozine
 

98

 

Pyrethrins (S)

 

0.5

sum of Pyrethrins 1, Pyrethrins 2,

Cinerins 1, Cinerins 2, Jasmolins 1

and Jasmolins 2

99 Tefluthrin 0.1 Tefluthrin
 

100

 

Terbufos (S)

 

0.05

sum of Terbufos, Terbufos sulfoxide and Terbufos sulfone expressed as Terbufos
101 Thiamethoxam 5 Thiamethoxam
 

102

 

Thiodicarb (f)

sum of Methomyl, Methomyl- oxime, and Thiodicarb expressed as Methomyl  

see Methomyl

103 Thionazin 0.04 Thionazin
 

104

 

Thiophanate-methyl (a)

sum of Benomyl, Carbendazim, and Thiophanate-methyl expressed as Carbendazim  

see Carbendazim

 

No. CPA GRL

(ppm)

Residue definition Notes
 

105

 

Tralomethrin (b)

sum of Deltamethrin and Tralomethrin expressed as Deltamethrin  

see Deltamethrin

 

106

 

Trichlorfon (c)

sum of Dichlorvos, Naled, and Trichlorfon expressed as Dichlorvos  

see Dichlorvos

107 Trifluralin 0.1 Trifluralin

 

 

  • Carbendazim is the degradation product of Benomyl and Thiophanate-methyl. In the case the same sample contains residues of both Carbendazim and/or Benomyl/Thiophanate-methyl, the sum of the residues should not exceed 2
  • Deltamethrin is the degradation product of Tralomethrin. In the case the same sample contains residues of both Deltamethrin and Tralomethrin, the sum of the two residues should not exceed 1
  • Dichlorvos is the degradation product   of  Naled  and     In the case the same sample contains residues of both Dichlorvos and/or Naled/Trichlorfon, the sum of the residues should not exceed 0.1 ppm.
  • Omethoate is the degradation product of Dimethoate. In the case the same sample contains residues of both Dimethoate and Omethoate, the sum of the two residues should not exceed 0.5
  • The Dithiocarbamates Group includes the EBDCs: Mancozeb, Maneb, Metiram, Nabam and Zineb – as well as Amobam, Ferbam, Policarbamate, Propineb, Thiram and
  • Methomyl is the degradation product of Thiodicarb. In the case the same sample contains residues of both Methomyl and Thiodicarb, the sum of the two residues should not exceed 1
  • Fluopyram added to GRL list June

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Smoking & Health – Fake Science Kills

What if every scientific study on cigarettes, smoking and health run by the tobacco industry and all of the “data” that has emerged over the past 50 years is severely compromised at the deepest levels?

What if most or all of the data the tobacco industry has been generating continuously to support its claims is fundamentally compromised by flawed research protocols and methodologies, contaminated research materials, inexplicable oversights, and good old-fashioned deceptive practices? What if all this can be directly linked to a single, underlying,’Achilles Heel’ flaw that can be easily verified?

What would that imply for regulations on tobacco products, for anti-tobacco legislation, for treaties and international agreements, for health care and insurance policies, for victims and juries, and for generations of legal decisions and precedent – if all were based on flawed science?

It is.

The core assumption of virtually all smoking & health research is that it is studying tobacco and only tobacco.

A corollary assumption is that cigarettes are tobacco and that cigarette smoke is tobacco smoke.

So when cigarette smoke is generated for research purposes, the assumption is that the smoke being studied is tobacco smoke or, if that assumption is ever questioned, its functional equivalent.

It’s not.

Virtually every research study on smoking and health run by the tobacco industry and its worldwide network of scientists and doctors since the 1970’s is based on the use of University of Kentucky standard “Reference Cigarettes”. Most or possibly all of the data derived using these standard Reference Cigarettes, which are used worldwide in virtually all tobacco industry studies involving cigarettes, are compromised and must be re-evaluated.

There are four main reasons why I believe that tobacco industry standard Reference Cigarettes consistently produce false and misleading data.

  1. There is non-random selection bias in the commercially-sourced leaf tobacco components of Reference Cigarettes.

Explanation

The tobacco leaf used in production of Reference Cigarettes is “commercially-sourced”, and is a non-random sample of the commercially tobacco types available at the time of the manufacturing run. Reference cigarette manufacturers, working to published industry standards, simply use whatever Flue-Cured, Burley, Maryland and Oriental tobacco leaf is convenient for a particular run of Reference Cigarettes. (It’s unclear whether there is more than one manufacturer for a run of reference cigarettes.) The Flue-Cured, for example, could be from North Carolina or Brazil or Zimbabwe. As long as it’s “Flue-Cured”, it meets tobacco industry scientific research standards and no other selection standards or procedures are specified by the certifying body for the tobacco industry. This means there is significant potential variability between the “Flue-Cured” selected for manufacturing into a run of Reference Cigarettes and the Flue-Cured that another manufacturer might use in their cigarette production. The same is true for all tobacco types selected and used in Reference Cigarettes.

  1. There is uncontrolled and unacknowledged variability in the “sheet tobacco” components of Reference Cigarettes.

Explanation

Tobacco Sheet is manufactured from tobacco waste, stems and scrap of variable, multiple, indeterminate foreign and domestic origins, and includes non-tobacco constituents that also vary depending on the “sheet” or “recon” tobacco manufacturing process used. Tobacco sheet is a 20-25% component of Reference Cigarettes. Millions of pounds of foreign-sourced tobacco waste is imported into the US annually for the specific purpose of “tobacco sheet” manufacturing by multiple manufacturers in multiple factories using multiple processing methods. Yet the industry standards for Reference Cigarette manufacturing don’t acknowledge this critical source of variability in the components of Reference Cigarettes, the reference standard for all industry-sponsored cigarette testing worldwide. The highly variable nature of a 20-25% component of all Reference Cigarettes seems sufficient in itself to invalidate data based on the use of Reference Cigarettes. Further, some of the Reference Cigarette recon is standard recon and some is “Sweitzer method” recon, and the two processes are not equivalent.

Finally, there’s variation in tobacco itself. “Tobacco is not a homogeneous product. The flavor, mildness, texture, tar, nicotine, and sugar content vary considerably across varieties or types of tobacco. Defining characteristics of different tobacco types include the curing process (flue-, air-, sun-cured) and leaf color (light or dark), size, and thickness. A given type of tobacco has a different quality depending on where it is grown, its position on the stalk (leaves near the bottom of the stalk are lower in quality), and weather conditions during growing and curing.” (from Tobacco and the Economy , USDA)

  1. There are known but not included in analysis, highly variable concentrations of agrichemical and pesticide residues on the leaf tobacco component and in the sheet tobacco component of Reference Cigarettes. 

Explanation 

Tobacco leaf, sheet, waste and scrap all carry a burden of biologically active pesticides that are not on the industry list of “toxicants” tested for in standardizing the Reference Cigarettes. Extensive research literature establishes the widespread presence of pesticide residues on commercially-sourced tobacco and tobacco waste. When testing is performed on cigarette smoke using the Reference Cigarettes as a baseline or standard, the measured smoke stream constituents will be the byproducts of the interaction of recognized, known and acknowledged tobacco constituents along with an undetermined number and concentration of unknown pesticides whose common presence on commercial, and especially on imported tobacco is well-established. There is no way to tell how the measured ‘toxicants’ in any sets of results using Reference Cigarettes have been affected by combustion of pesticide residues because the tobacco being used is not tested for the presence or concentration of those residues. Because of this error in research design, any smoke stream ‘toxicant’ data based on Reference Cigarettes will be flawed in unpredictable ways and should not be accepted without re-evaluation.

  1. The tobacco leaf used for manufacturing Reference Cigarettes is sourced from standard unsegregated commercial markets for Flue-Cured, Maryland, Oriental, and Burley tobacco leaf.

Explanation

Commercially sourced tobacco is, unless otherwise specified, an aggregated universe of tobacco leaf grown and handled under a wide range of environmental and agronomic conditions. Only tobacco leaf grown domestically under controlled conditions and kept separate from commercial tobacco could be used as to produce a reference cigarette that would be uniform enough in biochemical makeup to legitimately serve as a universal standard. A large proportion of the Flue-Cured and Maryland, and nearly all the Oriental Tobacco in the commercial market at any given time is from foreign sources. This means that the Reference Cigarette manufacturers who simply source by category have no idea where any given batch of leaf comes from or what its biological parameters might be aside from any commercial sampling or batch testing testing they may or may not do. As a result there simply can’t be uniformity or standardization of important parameters of the biological makeup of the tobacco plant materials used in manufacturing Reference Cigarettes.

So that’s it. Well, actually there a whole lot more, supported by reams of references all from peer-reviewed sources. But for now I thought I would just lay this out as clearly and simply as possible and see if anyone cares that the tobacco industry has been creating fake science for 50 years now and they have never really been called on it much less held accountable in meaningful ways.

The “Tobacco Settlement”, for example, is a horrible joke and a legal travesty but it is based on what can be shown to be such deliberately bad science and deceptively derived evidence that the whole issue of liability and intent on the part of the Tobacco industry should be open to re-litigation and to criminal prosecution as well.

Meanwhile I’m pursuing a couple of “think global, act local’ options here in Oregon that ought to get things moving a little pretty soon.

If you like what I’m trying to do here please hit that little donate button below and drop a thank you on me – I would appreciate knowing that you care about what I’m doing. Thanks.