Kerry Mengersen

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Kerry Mengersen was the Australian girlfriend of Richard L Tweedie who was both a tobacco lobbyist with the Tobacco Institute of Australia, and a professor of information and computer sciences at Bond University in Queensland.

He lost his job and shifted to the USA, where he continued to work for the tobacco industry out of the Colorado State University.

Mengerson shifted back to Australia, where she became a lobbyist for the tobacco industry herself. Tweedie died in 2001

Documents & Timeline

1962 Born

1985 Graduated with a BA from the University of New England, Armidale NSW.

1989 PhD in Mathematics (Statistic and Computing) University of New England.

1989 Nov 19 [Wrong date on document] The Environmenal Protection Agency (EPA) was in the process of publicly asserting that second-hand smoke (ETS) was a known carcinogen ("risk assessment").

This is a draft speech script prepared for a media briefing by Dr Don de Bethizy, sentior toxicologist at RJ Reynolds. They have lined up all the industry's favourite scientific touts who are being paid to attack

..."the scientific merit of two EPA draft documents -- the ETS risk assessment and the workplace smoking guide" [which he says] contain many major scientific shortcomings. The time we have today only permits us to scratch the surface.

[In fact they dug out the deepest slime in the pit. Every scientist mentioned here is a long-term tobacco industry science-for-sale entrepreneur or witness for hire.]
Today, you'll hear why
  • Gray Robertson, an internationally regarded expert on indoor air quality, believes the Workplace Smoking Guide is poorly conceived, with conclusions that are ill-considered.
    [Robertson was the owner of ACVA/HBI -- the most corrupt of all the indoor air testing company employed by the tobacco industry. He was one of the industry's main contract lobbyists.]
  • After Gray Robertson, you'll hear from Dr Phil Witorsch, pulmonary physician and a clinical professor of medicine at George Washington University Medical Center. He will detail the specific reasons he believes the EPA has drawn invalid from evidence concerning the relationship between ETS and respiratory diseases in children.
    [He spent most of his time as a tobacco consultant lobbyist, travelling around the world to provide witness services for the tobacco industry in court cases. He was a founding member of the notorious IAPAG (Indoor Air Pollution Advisory Group) which was a 'WhiteCoats' organisation run by tobacco lawyers Covington & Burling.]
  • Dr. John Wesley Clayton, professor emeritus of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Arizona, and former president of the International Congress of Toxicologists, will discuss the available toxicological data on ETS. None of these data appears in the Risk Assessment. And -- more important -- none supports the contention that ETS is a human carcinogen.
    [Clayon had then been receiving CTR grants for 15 years, and in return, on his retirement, he had become a professional witness who worked extensively for the Tobacco Institute (and probably any other industry with the funds). He was handled by lawyers Shook Hardy & Bacon.]
  • Dr Maurice E LeVois, a highly experienced epidemiologist who has designed large studies for the US government will detail some important omissions in the Risk Assessment. As Dr LeVois will point out,the draft arbitrarily omits important epidemiological, dosimetric, medical and statistical evidence that conflicts with the conclusions reached by the EPA.
    [LeVois was, at various times, the partner of Max Layard and also George Carlo -- both notorious science-for-sale entrepreneurs (Carlo also for the cellphone industry). During the 1990s they worked almost full-time for two industries -- tobacco and dioxin/herbicides -- mainly through infiltrating organisations like Veterams Affairs and conducting their fake studies]
  • Dr. Richard L Tweedie, the dean of information and computing sciences at Bond University in Australia, will present the findings of his own analysis of the epidemiologic studies conducted on ETS. And he will discuss some major differences between his conclusions and those reached by the EPA.
    [Tweedie and his girlfriend (also a long-term tobacco tout) Kerry Mengersen were rewarded with an endowed chair at the University of Colorado]
  • Peter N. Lee, a British statistician whose work is frequently cited by the EPA in the Risk Assessment, will explain why the misclassification adjustment made by the EPA is mathematically incorrect.
    [Lee spent his life as a full-time contractor in statistics to the Tobacco Advisory Committee (TAC) of the UK. He was retained to try to find holes in any adverse scientific finding.]
    Dr William J. Butler, a biostatistician, will focus on the EPA's failure to identify or discuss several important confounding factors that could account for most -- if not all -- of the increased risk noted by the EPA.
    [Butler was a contract scientific lobbyist from the company Failure Anaiysis, Inc. Butler and this company worked extensively for the tobacco industry: he was one of their regular witnesses used with State Assembly hearings. He also spoke at Philip Morris's closed McGill Uni. ETS symposium -- which only enrolled paid industry touts.]
  • Dr Joseph L Fleiss, the head of the division of biostatistics at the Columbia University School of Public Health, will discuss a number of considerations that make meta-analyis an invalid basis for drawing conclusions about ETS.
    [A regular Tobacco Institute consultant and speaker used at fake/closed conferences. (McGill Uni.)]
  • Dr. Paul Switzer, a professor of statistics at Stanford University, will focus on a number of statistical uncertainties, inconsistencies and biases that seriously undermine the scientific credibility of the Risk Assessment.
    [Another regular scientific witness who also played a key role in the loaded McGill University ETS Symposium,]
  • Finally, Dr W Gary Flamm, the president of the International Society for Regulatory Toxicology & Pharmacology, will talk about serious violations of scientific objectivity contained within the .document. [
    The Society was a front for a group of science-for-sale toxicologist who worked for a range of industries with poisoning and polluting problems. Flamm also lectured at McGill.]

1990-91 The archives also have three papers marked "Not to be quoted without permission". They are:

  • R.LTweedie, PhD DSc, K.L Mengersen, PhD, and j.A Eccleston, PhD Confoun,ding and Misclassification Effects in Case-Control Studies of Lung Cancer Incidence
  • R.LTweedie, PhD DSc Age-adjustment in Passive Smoking Studies
  • RLTweedie, PhD DSc, S . Low Choy, BSc, and KL Mengersen, PhD Dose-Response Relationships in Studies of Lung Cancer and Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke


1991-97 Tweedie became Professor of Statistics, Colorado State University at Fort Collins. Mengersen went to the USA sometime later.

1992 The Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer (CBRC), itself a division of the Victorian Anti-Cancer Council, produced a report in 1992 entitled 'Health warnings and contents labelling on tobacco products'. This was the document that was taken by the Australian government to form

the basis of the case for an increase in the size of warnings on tobacco packaging. It came under attack from Tweedie and Mengersen:

"It is our view that many of these claims are not well-founded in general and often appear to be based on material or opinions not supported by, and even on occasion, contradicted by the studies. "- Dr K L Mengersen, Department of Statistics, University of Central Queensland and Professor R L Tweedie, Department of Statistics, Colorado State University .

A special section of this document is headed: The Mengersen & Tweedie Report

Drs K Mengersen and R Tweedie, respectively of the University of Central Queensland and Colorado State University, produced a detailed review of the statistical aspects of the CBRC report . They summarised their principal findings as follows :

  • The CBRC studies are often too small or too unrepresentative to enable general conclusions to be drawn from them ;
  • The statistical or quantitative analysis is often poor and does not support the conclusions drawn ;
  • There is substantial over-interpretation of the results of the studies in attempting to justify the conclusions drawn;
  • Whilst many of the topics seem to be of both importance and interest within the structure of the report, lack of rigour and control renders them largely incapable of supporting many of the assertions and recommendations of the report. The CBRC report must therefore he viewed more as opinion based on prior views than as the logical outcomes of the studies undertaken.

1994 Apr 7 Richard Tweedie and Kerry Mengersen were recruited as members of the Tobacco Institute of Australia's so-called "Independent Working Party" under medical Lobbyist Julian Lee to counter the findings of the National Health & Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) of Australia which had circulated a draft report labelling ETS as a carcinogen (after studying the EPA findings and other literature.) [5], [6], [7]

1994 Richard Tweedie appears to have transferred over to Colorado State University and began writing tobacco articles for medical journals without Mengersen. The science journal Environmentrics' was due to publish a paper by Richard Tweedie at Colorado State University and Sue Taylor of the university's Department of Preventice Medicine and Biometrics (Health Science Center). It was called Assessing Sensitivity to Multiple Factors in Calculating Attributable Risks. It carries an acknowledgement:

This research was stimulated by the preparation of an open commentary on the NH&MRC Draft Report (1995) by the second author . That commentary and the work in this paper were partially supported by the Tobacco Institute of Australia . The views in this paper are however entirely independent : they have been developed without consultation with any members or representatives of the tobacco industry, and should not be ascribed to that industry.[8]

1995 They are now jointly producing papers for the tobacco industry: "Meta-analystic Approaches to Dose-Response relationships, with Application in Studies of Lung Cancer and Exposure to ETS" published in Statistics in medicine. The authors are given as RL Tweedie and KL Mengersen, Department of Statistics, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. Mengersen must have followed Tweedie to Colorado and got herself a job in the campus.

At this time the tobacco industry was trying to denigrate the importance of meta-analysis and also trying to suggest that low-doses of toxic substances were never a problem, and this study manages to do both. There is a partial admission of tobacco involvement:

This work was largely carried out at Bond University and at the University of Central Queensland.

We are grateful for the input and assistance of Professor John Eccleston and Ms. Samantha Low Choy in the early stages of the ETS analysis. The input of Bill duMouchel and Tom Chalmers at the CDC Atlanta meeting is also gratefully acknowledged.

The paper was completed at Colorado State University, with partial support from several tobacco companies, the methods and analysis here are however entirely those of the authors and should not be otherwise ascribed[9]

John Eccleston was also a member of Julian Lee's Independent Working Group for the tobacco industry.

1996 Dec 12-16 Tweedie in Colorado was still publishing papers for the tobacco industry (which Peter N Lee) reviewed. Tweedie and Mengersen also lined up with a cluster of Chinese research scientists and two well-established international tobacco-science lobbyists (Ragnar Rylander and his girlfriend Linda Koo) to present papers at the "International Symposium on Lifestyle Factors and Human Lung Cancer" in Guangzhou, People's Republic of China. Their paper was Bayesian Meta-Analysis with Application to Studies of ETS and Lung Cancer -- again an attack on the use of meta-analysis with ETS studies. [10]

2001 June 7 Richard Tweedie died suddenly of a heart attack.

Mengersen returned to Australia and eventually became the Professor of Statistics, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology.