Maria del Rosario Alfaro
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Maria del Rosario Alfaro was enlisted by the law firm Covington & Burling into a small group of Latin American academics and medical specialist who were willing to act under cover for the tobacco industry in their own countries. They were called "ETS Consultants" but they were actually enlisted as lobbyists -- they had no consulting role with the tobacco companies whatsoever. The report on her reveals this propaganda emphasis:
Dr Maria del Rosario Alfaro (Costa Rica)
Dr Alfaro Is a Professor of Chemistry at the National University of Costa Rica. (Laboratorio de Contaminantes, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, Heredia, She is currently conducting research into the effects of ambient air pollution on street vendors in San Jose. She has given press conferences on air pollution issues. She has a good presence, and her English is relatively good. She is clearly the best of the Costa Rican candidates whom I met. 
- She went on to work for the tobacco industry.
|LATIN AMERICAN CONSULTANTS|
|Latin American ETS Consultants Program|
|Latin American ETS (Doc Index)|
Documents & Timeline
A few dozen of these "ETS Consultants were recruited in the 1991-1995 period. The details are in the Latin American ETS (Doc Index) entry.
1991 Mar 27 The decision had been made by Philip Morris and British American Tobacco to recruit 14 medical ETS/IAQ Experts in Latin America. The lawyers Covington & Burling were given the job of interviewing the prospective recruits. At this stage they only had names -- the prospective recruits had not been approached. 
1991 Apr 9 Sharon Boyse, the Issues Manager at British-American Tobacco in the UK (later B&W in the USA) has written to tobacco lawyer John Rupp at Covington & Burling in New York. She says that the Chilean tobacco staff have difficulty in coming up with constructive comments or suggestions on the list of proposed ETS Consultants for Latin America. She also wanted to know what they intended to do with Dr Tezano-Pinto who had already been identified in the media as a tobacco tout. 
On the same day she writes to her company representative in Chile saying that she has asked C&B to add Tezanos-Pinto to their list … but that C&B "prefer to contact people themselves in an attempt to maintain independence of consultants from individual companies." 
- Obviously the self-delusionary aspects of this operation were important for the lawyers self-respect.
|1991Background to the ETS Consultants recruitment program|
The American tobacco industry lobby was primarily directed by a group of corporate executives at Philip Morris, using the services of the Washington tobacco law firm Covington & Burling (C&B), to protect itself from legal 'discovery'. By the 1990s, the Tobacco Institute had re-asserted its role (under Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds) as the primary channel for lobbying in the USA, and had begun to extend its influence to involve both North and South America. It was also running the WhiteCoats (recruitment of scientific 'consultant' in Europe and Asia). Philip Morris called these recruited academics and medical specialists 'WhiteCoats' while the lawyers knew them as 'IAQ/ETS Consultants.'
Potential recruits were approached through the lawyers, usually on the advice of other recruits. The lawyer would then conduct an interview where the scientist or academic would be ensured that their involvement would be kept secret, and so they could maintain the ethical position of an 'independent' and deny any direction from the tobacco industry since they would always be dealing through a lawyer or a third-party scientific society (like IAPAG or ARIA). Payment for services could also be channelled through these third-parties.
Since most recruits had no knowledge of the engineering, medical or health problems of second-hand smoke (ETS) they were to be put through a brief training program developed and run at the Tobacco Institute under the name "College of Tobacco Knowledge". To provide them with a semblance of credentials in this new area of 'expertise', they would probably also be given speaking engagements at one of the many closed or controlled (by the industry) conferences on held around the world on the indoor air environment -- which always sought to point the finger for second-hand smoke problems at outside air pollution, carpet exudates, formaldehyde, radon, CO2.Free travel and luxury accommodation for closed conferences held in exotic locations was also a major factor in the benefits of working for tobacco. They also got to socialize with a group of like-minded mercenary contemporaries who would be available to "peer review" any research papers they might later submit (on a 'you-scratch-my-back' principle) to one of the industry's compliant journals.
1991 Sep 30-Oct 1: A three-day meeting of the Latin American recruits was held in Rio de Janeiro. This was essentially their first training session, where most of the new recruits were introduced to the problems and propaganda of ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke), and IAQ (Indoor Air Quality). This was purely a personal bonding and training session, and a way for tobacco industry staff and executives to meet the recruits.
Those from the 1991 list who attended were Carlos B Alvarez, Celio Paula Motta, Antonio H Miguel, Jari N Cardosa, Francisco Radler de Aquino Neto, Remigio O Lopez Solis, Maria del Rosario Alfaro, Eduardo Gros, Lionel Gil, Osvaldo Fustinoni, Bruno Burger, Zinnia Cordero, Eduardo Souchon.
Following the Rio de Janeiro meeting, the consultants were mailed the following ETS materials : the McGill book ; the Armitage book ("Other People's Tobacco Smoke") ; the Bariloche book ; the Oak Ridge ETS monograph ; the international ETS "white paper" ; the Hong Kong IAQ study ; the Will/Reasor extrapolation article ; the Lee article on ETS risk assessment; and the Layard/LeVois submission to the United States Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) on the epidemiology of ETS, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. The consultants were given copies of other OSHA filings by United States tobacco industry consultants at the conclusion of the Miami meeting .
1992 Feb 24-26: Another three-day meeting of the Latin American recruits was held at the Fontainebleau Hilton Hotel in Miami where each recruit gave a paper on a relevant subject. This was not a conference, but a personal bonding and training session and a meeting of the recruits. There is nothing in any of these papers that would be considered of even moderate interest in scientific circles in 1992. 
Those from the 1991 list who attended were Carlos B Alvarez, Celio Paula Motta, Antonio H Miguel, Jari N Cardosa, Francisco Radler de Aquino Neto, Remigio O Lopez Solis, Maria del Rosario Alfaro, Cesar Leonel Gonzalez Camargo, Lionel Gil, Osvaldo Fustinoni, Bruno Burger, Zinnia Cordero, Eduardo Souchon Jean Raad Anton.. One report says:
- Note Eduardo Gros did not attend. Cesar L Gonzarlez Camargo was included under the name "Cesar Gonzalez" and Jean Raad (Anton) now appears
John Rupp concluded the group meeting first by offering the consultants access to the Georgetown IAQ database (IAPAG/CEHHT)-- which they accepted readily -- and then by opening the floor for suggestions for future projects. There were 8 projects and two field studies. Maria Alfaro has a project - she will go to Athens for nothing:
Maria del Rosario Alfaro (Costa Rica) has agreed to attend the Athens IAQ conference, where she will interview others and prepare an article on the conference for publication in the popular press in Costa Rica.
- The consultants attending the Athens IAQ conference have been told that they will be reimbursed for their expenses but will not be paid for time spent at the conference. With regard to the other projects described above (including the proposed press articles on the Athens conference), we have sent letters to the consultants asking for formal proposals.
- Paul Williams has completed a Spanish translation of the McGill book (McGill University ETS Symposium proceedings). Paul Dietrich has given us an estimate for publishing 5000 copies of the book -- $7 .00 to $8 .00 a copy plus a one-time $3000.00 to $4000.00 design charge -- and has promised us a written quote within a week.
- Dr Remigio Lopez (Chile) expects to complete a Spanish translation of the Armitage book ("Other People's Tobacco Smoke") by mid-April. As you will recall, Dr . Lopez is to receive $4,500.00 for completing the translation.
- Dr Alvarez has offered to publish an article on ETS and cardiovascular disease in Acta Cardiologica, a journal that is distributed without charge to all cardiologists in Argentina. Dr. Alvarez believes that he can complete the article for $5000.00 . It would be ideal to discuss a draft of this article with Dr Alvarez during the Athens conference,
- Drs Gil and Lopez have expressed an interest in participating in the development of a regional article, written by an appropriate free-lance journalist for the popular press, on ambient and indoor air contamination in Latin America.