1. FRAUDULENT TESTING PROVIDES AN ILLUSION OF SAFETY
Industrial Bio-Test (IBT) was the largest testing lab in the country.
It conducted about one-third of the toxicity and cancer testing of chemicals
in America -- as many as 22,500 safety tests over the last decade.
On June 22, 1981, the former president of IBT and three ex-subordinates
were indicted for alleged fraudulent tests on four chemicals. The four
suspect chemicals were TCC, an antibacterial agent used in deodorant
soaps; naprosyn, an arthritis medication; and soconor and nemacur, both
The full extent of the fraud can be seen in the studies of TCC done
for Monsanto. During the experiments, IBT substituted live rats for
those which died and did not keep proper identification of the test
animals; it also provided the FDA with false information and made a
practice of shredding documents.
These testing procedures did not appear to disturb Monsanto. It originally
fought efforts by FDA inspectors to gain access to TCC records and only
later, during an investigation by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Health
and Scientific Research, did Monsanto try to present itself as being
cooperative. Despite its huge financial stake in TCC, Monsanto was allowed
(by the FDA) to retest the chemical; the FDA accepted Monsanto's decision
that TCC was safe. Oh yes, one of the indicted IBT men now works for
The Monsanto/TCC case may be merely the tip of the iceberg; IBT conducted
tests for nearly 30 years and its corporate clients included companies
that produced drugs, dyes, plastics, pesticides, food additives, and
cosmetics. (The companies included Proctor and Gamble, Armour, Upjohn,
Dow, 3M, and Shell.) Governmental clients included the Army, Defense
Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Food and Drug Administration.
And the World Health Organization relied heavily on IBT to set human-exposure
standards for potentially dangerous chemicals to be used in foreign
Nor is such fraud confined to chemical testing. For nearly a year,
a team of reporters and researchers working at Mother Jones and the
Center for Investigative Reporting examined the subject of safety with
particular attention to testing laboratories, standard setting boards
and regulatory agencies that perform, review, certify and oversee the
science of testing for safety. They found that much of the research
and regulatory effort aimed at ensuring us a safer world is either fraudulent
or useless. Rather than living in a scientifically proven, healthy,
hazard-free environment, we are actually surrounded by a comforting
illusion of safety ... an illusion created by public and private institutions
more concerned with the safety of their own existence than with the
safety of the public.
It is the news media's responsibility to shatter such illusions.
FOCUS/MIDWEST, September, 1982, "Testing Fraud," by Judith
and Mark Miller; Mother Jones and the Center for Investigative Reporting,
1982, "The Illusion of Safety," by Mark Dowie, Douglas Foster,
Carolyn Marshall, David Weir, Jonathan King.