WhiteCoat organisations

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

When the problems of the tobacco companies extended globally, the Tobacco Institute extended the reach of its corruption.

They needed specialist 'witnesses' recruited to lie about the problems of indoor air quality and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Those open to this employment were often second-rate academics with little prospects for advancement, and so they often needed to be given some relevant credentials to allow them to be considered seriously as experts in smoking pollution and health.

The Tobacco Institute therefore hired tGeorgetown University academics Nancy Balter, Sorell Schwartz and Philip Witorsch, to create an air-pollution scientific organisation (IAPAG). To extend this worldwide, they contracted a corporate recruiter Myron Weinberg, and the Washington lawyers John Rupp and David Remes from the law firm Covington & Burling]] to find credible witnesses for smoking hearings, etc. These recruits were then put though a basic training program and then grouped into regional 'pseudo-scientific organisations (which effectively gave them 'scientific credentials').

These phantom organisations existed in reality only as membership lists of potential tobacco industry consultants in the hands of a few paid administrators. The aim was to create the appearance of a genuine scientific organisations comprising three types of expert scientist in the field of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS). These organisations merged the specialities of

(1) the engineering aspects of air-conditioning, air-exchange rates, IAQ testing, etc.
(2) the medical/hygiene debunking of adverse health claims and the role of tobacco smoke in 'sick building syndrome and the
(3) challenging statistical claims of health damage, and the associated risk-assessments of any proven problems.


  • France seems to have used its National Manufacturer's Association (NMA) known as [AFCC]]
  • Italy appears to have used the SIETA organisation.


Indoor Air Pollution Advisory Group

IAPAG was the first, and it was based at the Georgetown University in Washington DC. In 1986 IAPAG had a core group of 10, and overall more than 20 scientists who could claim IAPAG membership if they needed to bolster their scientific credentials.[1]


Center for Health and Human Toxicology
CEHHT was linked to IAPAG at Georgetown University. It probably did nothing more than provide a way to launder payments for services and some administration. It may also have laundered grants to IAPAG scientists.


Associates for Research on Indoor Air

ARIA was established by Roger Perry, George B Leslie, and Frank Launa adn Francis JC Roe in the UK. It had strong links into Western Europe. In 1988 they had recruited 14 - 16 scientists.[2]


Indoor Air International
(Also known as IAI). AIA was the conference-running and publishing subdivision of ARIA.


Asian Regional Tobacco Industry Scientists Team

ARTIST was established in Asia during the Asian ETS Recruitment Project. It had about 20 - 25 members. [3]


Asian Pacific Tobacco Research Conference

APTRC appears to be a subsidiary of ARTIST in the same way that ARIA was linked to IAI.


East Mediterranean Indoor Environment Society

EMIES {needs a lot more research}


Asian Pacific Association for Indoor Air Quality

APAIAQ was also known by the abbreviated abbreviation APA) Established by John Rupp of C&B in September 1989.[2]

1989 Sep 27 John Rupp's Status report on the Asian WhiteCoats Project.

[This is probably the foundation of the organisation APAIAQ -- the Asian Pacific Association for Indoor Air Quality.],br> Rupp reports that:

At the first meeting of the Asian consultants in Bangkok, we responded to a unanimously expressed view among the consultants that the stature and credibility of the group would be strengthened if they were permitted -- as a group -- to solicit and accept research assignments from a variety of sponsors, including governmental bodies.

Although we voiced some skepticism concerning the practicability of this tack, we did not gainsay the advantages it would entail. We therefore prepared a draft brochure, which was distributed at the Hong Kong meeting and offered up as one means of attracting other clients for the group (see tab B). The Asian consultants are presently tinkering with this draft, and a final version may be forthcoming next month. [3]

It is impossible to escape the fact that the consultants saw APAIAQ as an organisation run by the tobacco industry, not themselves. But they did realised that the link would best be hidden by them working for other industries. The climate of scepticism surrounding the tobacco industry would best be camouflaged by them working for other industries (and they'd make more money also).

1990 Apr The FTR/PM Swiss, Helmut Gaisch's Monthly report says that there was a

"Visit to Neuchatel by Dr TORBJORN MALMFORS, the organiser of the Scandinavian Indoor Air Research Group, EGIL. EGIL's activities and plans for the future, and in particular EGIL's cooperation with ARIA and APAIAQ were discussed. [4]

1990 Oct 19 Asian Whitecoats who have been invited to meeting of consultant (a joint training session) in Manilla. George Leslie speaks to them about APAIAQ (Asian Pacific Association for IAQ), IAI (Indoor Air International), and ARIA (Association for Research into Indoor Air), and the history of these organisations.

This is an Asian Whitecoats meeting with the ARIA/IAI coordinators. The meeting has Luis Ferrer, Helen Garnett, Linda Koo, George B Leslie, Roger Perry, Ben Reverente, Camilo Roa, Lina Somera, and the two lawyers from Covington & Burling, John Rupp and David Billings.

There are a number of new consultants to be trained to speak out in support of the tobacco industry: Dr. Izhar M Fihir (Jakarta), Dr Lee Siew Bang (Singapore) Dr Lim Heng Juat (KL) Dr Wen-Chen Victor Liu (Taipei) and Dr Quah Lee Kiang (Singapore) [5]

1990 Oct 20 Press Release put out after SE Asian conference in Bangkok.

The final presenter at today's seminar was GB Leslie of the UK, one of the founders of Indoor Air International, a learned society of professionals dedicated to improving indoor air quality worldwide.

After reiterating some of the major themes of previous presenters, Dr. Leslie understood the importance of crafting Philippine solutions to Philippine indoor air quality problems. As Dr Leslie pointed out:

    "It worth emphasizing the point that indoor air priorities in the Philippines should reflect local facts and circumstances. The priorities that have been pursued in the West so far as indoor air.pollution is concerned would be out of place here because of the many climatic and other differences that exist between East and West. In particular, in the Philippines one of the most serious and urgent problems to be addressed is motor vehicle exhausts. Indeed, in most Asian countries outdoor air pollution is the limiting factor for indoor air quality. In addition, it should be noted that a single-minded pursuit of only one pollutant, environmental tobacco smoke, has tended to divert attention in many Western countries from far more serious indoor air pollution problems. The avoidance of that mistake alone would consitute a substantial step forward for Philippine policy makers."

The sponsors of today's seminar were the Asia Pacific Association for Indoor Air Quality, Philippine College of Occupational Medicine, United Architects of the Philippines, and the University of Santo Tomas Building and Planning Research Service. [6]

1991 Nov 18 - Dec 1 [Invoice dated Dec 11.] George Leslie at ARIA is billing John Rupp (C&B) for a 14 day trip to Thailand and Hong Kong on APAIAQ business ($8250).

There are only a few references for APAIAQ. George Leslie and the ARIA group seem to be main ones involved in establishing it for the new Asian Whitecoats [7]

1992 Nov 28-29 IAI conference on Indoor Air Quality held in Bangkok

George Leslie and Linda Koo. Satellite symposium. Covers asbestos and other pollution problems. (APA = Asian Pacific Association on IAQ).

  1. Memo: National Academy of Sciences Hearing "Passive Smoking" Chilcote S; Bates No. TIDN0004490, January 30, 1986.
  2. ETS Strategy in the Philip Morris EEC Region, Bates No. 2028364722, August 9, 1988
  3. Japan Tobacco, "Dr. Walk's Suggestion" Japan Tobacc; Bates No. 2067227473, July 4, 2001.