Manufacturing doubt about endocrine disrupter science – A rebuttal of industry-sponsored critical comments on the UNEP/WHO report “State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2012”
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We present a detailed response to the critique of "State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2012" (UNEP/WHO, 2013) by financial stakeholders, authored by Lamb et al. (2014). Lamb et al.'s claim that UNEP/WHO (2013) does not provide a balanced perspective on endocrine disruption is based on incomplete and misleading quoting of the report through omission of qualifying statements and inaccurate description of study objectives, results and conclusions. Lamb et al. define extremely narrow standards for synthesizing evidence which are then used to dismiss the UNEP/WHO 2013 report as flawed. We show that Lamb et al. misuse conceptual frameworks for assessing causality, especially the Bradford-Hill criteria, by ignoring the fundamental problems that exist with inferring causality from empirical observations. We conclude that Lamb et al.'s attempt of deconstructing the UNEP/WHO (2013) report is not particularly erudite and that their critique is not intended to be convincing to the scientific community, but to confuse the scientific data. Consequently, it promotes misinterpretation of the UNEP/WHO (2013) report by non-specialists, bureaucrats, politicians and other decision makers not intimately familiar with the topic of endocrine disruption and therefore susceptible to false generalizations of bias and subjectivity.
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