Asbestos research may be skewed, group says
The Jeffrey asbestos mine is seen in this 2011 file photo in Asbestos, Que.
Published Sunday, February 12, 2012 2:42PM EST
MONTREAL - A group of 30 physicians and academics wants McGill University to conduct an independent investigation into allegations that a researcher skewed study results on behalf of the asbestos industry.
The group includes experts from Canada and around the world.
The experts have filed a complaint with the school saying research conducted by a former professor lacks transparency and contains manipulated data.
J. Corbett McDonald, who is now retired, began studying mortality rates associated with asbestos in 1966 by looking at about 11,000 Quebec miners and asbestos fibres.
McDonald and his research team published a series of studies between 1971 to 1998 funded in part by a branch of the Quebec Mining Association, something which McDonald acknowledged.
McGill said last week it would conduct its own, internal probe after a CBC report alleged several decades of research could have been influenced by the asbestos industry.
David Eidelman, McGill's dean of medicine, said last week that while McDonald drew different conclusions about the safe use of asbestos from some current-day authorities, he also showed that asbestos is a carcinogen associated with lung cancer.
Eidelman said the university's researchers perform their work to the highest ethical standards and the university isn't currently getting funding from the asbestos industry.