Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘toxicology’ Category

Publisher responds to public health journal editorial board’s “grave concerns”

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A representative of Taylor & Francis has responded to concerns raised by former and current editorial board members of an occupational health journal, after the publisher took some significant actions without consulting the board.

The board’s main concerns: That the publisher hired a new editor with industry ties, and withdrew a paper by the former editor that was critical of corporate-sponsored research.

In a letter to the editorial board of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health dated last week, managing director Ian Bannerman writes:

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Written by Alison McCook

May 12th, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Public health journal’s editorial board tells publisher they have “grave concerns” over new editor

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First, an occupational health journal appointed a new editor with industry ties without consulting the editorial board. Then, with no explanation, it withdrew a paper by the previous editor that was critical of corporate-sponsored research — again, without consulting the editorial board.

At that point, they’d had enough.

Yesterday, the editorial board of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health sent a letter to the publisher, Taylor & Francis, expressing their “grave concerns” over the future of the journal, and its recent actions.

As part of the letter — signed by 30 past and present editorial members and the founding editor — they write:

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Written by Alison McCook

April 27th, 2017 at 9:30 am

A journal said it would retract a paper about asbestos — now it’s “withdrawn.” What changed?

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journal-of-occupational-and-environmental-hygieneEarlier this year, an environmental journal told an activist group it was going to retract a study about the safety of roofing products made from asbestos. Now the journal has let the authors withdraw the paper — a different process, according to the journal.

The move follows multiple letters from critics asking to retract a study, which found exposure to asbestos-containing roofing products to be within safe limits. The study’s critics claimed that it contains multiple problems, including not declaring the approving editor’s links with the asbestos industry, grouping together different materials with varying levels of asbestos exposures, and providing misleading information.

Although the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) initially said it planned to retract the paper, last month, Stephen Reynolds, president of JOEH’s board of directors, sent a letter to Kathleen Ruff, director of the organization Right On Canada, saying plans had changed: Read the rest of this entry »

A paper on chemical safety was accepted one day after submission. Was it peer reviewed?

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Toxicology Reports

Some scientists raise their eyebrows when they see a paper was accepted only a day or two after being submitted — which is exactly what happened during an academic debate over a controversial topic: e-cigarettes.

In 2015, a group of Harvard researchers published a paper in Environmental Health Perspectives suggesting the flavoring added to e-cigarettes could be harmful; the next year, another group criticized the paper in the journal, noting the chemicals may not be as dangerous as the original paper claimed. The Harvard researchers then fired back, noting that the criticism cited two papers that were accepted within one and three days after submission, and therefore “appear not to have been peer reviewed.”

However, a little digging suggests otherwise. 

The editor of the journal that published both of the cited papers in question — Toxicology Reports — told us the papers were peer reviewed at Toxicology, but transferred to his journal as part of a process known as portable peer review.

Here are more details from Lawrence Lash, editor-in-chief of Toxicology Reports from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

October 5th, 2016 at 9:35 am

Journal to retract study declaring safety of asbestos roofs: Report

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joehOnly a few months after publication, an environmental journal has told an activist group it plans to retract a paper about the safety of roofing products containing asbestos after facing heavy criticism.

This summer, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) received multiple letters asking the to retract the paper. Critics of the paper — which concluded that exposures to asbestos-containing roofing products were within safety limits — argued the article provided misleading information, grouped different materials with different asbestos exposures together, and failed to note the approving editor’s ties to the asbestos industry.

The article was published as a case study, which is considered a type of “column” by the journal, thereby bypassing its peer-review system; according to an email the journal sent to the organization Right on Canada (which a representative forwarded to Retraction Watch), this served as the basis for the journal’s decision to pull the paper.

According to the email, the journal’s editorial board decided on August 10 to retract “Airborne asbestos exposures associated with the installation and removal of roofing products” due to

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Study of air quality around Damien Hirst’s artwork retracted — against most authors’ wishes

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via Flickr Commons

Damien Hirst’s “Away From The Flock” — exhibited at Tate Britain, via Flickr Commons

The corresponding author of the study that detected toxic leaks from the work of prominent British artist Damien Hirst has now retracted it — but most of his co-authors disagree with the decision.

The April Analytical Methods study was covered extensively by the media when it suggested staff at Damien Hirst’s 2012 exhibition at Tate Gallery in London of dead animals embalmed in formaldehyde were being exposed to higher than recommended levels of the carcinogen. 

Tate and Hirst’s company, Science Limited, immediately objected to the results; we’ve obtained what appears to be letter from a lawyer for Science Limited to the corresponding author of the paper — Pier Giorgio Righetti of the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy — saying it was “deeply concerned and troubled by the claims” in the paper.

Last month, the journal issued an expression of concern (EOC) for the paper, nothing the data may not be reliable, and on July 15, Righetti announced in a joint statement with Hirst’s company that he will be retracting his study.

Now, the paper has been officially retracted, noting more recent measurements show formaldehyde levels to be much lower than originally reported. But most of Righetti’s co-authors disagree with the decision, the notice says:  Read the rest of this entry »

More than half of plant toxicity paper isn’t original, journal says

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Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 8.07.37 PM

Plagiarism and duplication can be deadly to a paper in any dose. In the case of a study on the toxicity of nanoparticles to plants, the publisher has presented the precise amount of plagiarism and duplications that ultimately felled the paper.

Specifically, according to Nanomaterials, 56% of Potential Impact of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Exposure to the Seedling Stage of Selected Plant Species” was taken from other work.

Here are more details from the retraction notice, published last year:

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Written by Shannon Palus

August 9th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Author loses 2nd paper on supposed dangers of chemtrails

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Frontiers in Public HealthAgainst the author’s wishes, a journal has retracted a paper about chemtrails, a long-standing conspiracy theory about the dangers of cloud trails released from jet planes.

After the paper was scrutinized on librarian Jeffrey Beall’s blog and social media last week, Frontiers in Public Health issued an expression of concern (EOC). The paper was published June 30, and retracted yesterday, in a relatively rare case of rapid action by a journal. 

Last year, we reported on another retraction of a paper about chemtrails by the same author — J. Marvin Herndon, a geophysicist and self-described “independent researcher” at the Transdyne Corporation in San Diego, California.

Here’s the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

July 18th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Author to retract study warning of toxic leaks from Damien Hirst’s artwork

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via Flickr Commons

Damien Hirst’s “Away From The Flock” — exhibited at Tate Britain, via Flickr Commons

The corresponding author of the 2016 study that found high levels of the carcinogen formaldehyde leaking from a prominent British artist’s exhibition is now retracting it.

The study, about Damien Hirst’s 2012 exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London that presented dead animals embalmed in glass cases full of formaldehyde, suggested that higher than recommended limits of the carcinogen were being released from the exhibition. The study was widely covered by the media, which raised concerns over possible health hazards to visitors.

As we reported yesterday, the journal Analytical Methods had already issued an expression of concern (EOC), noting that the corresponding author of the paper, Pier Giorgio Righetti of the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy, warned the paper may contain unreliable data.

Today, Righetti released a joint statement with Hirst’s company, Science Ltd, stating that he will be retracting the paper (reported earlier today by the New York Times). It reads:   Read the rest of this entry »

Controversial chemtrails paper flagged by journal

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Frontiers in Public HealthA journal has published an expression of concern (EOC) for a 2016 paper providing evidence for a long-standing conspiracy theory about the dangers of cloud trails from jet planes.

A similar paper by the same author was retracted last year by another journal.

Both papers focused on the “chemtrails” emitted from jet planes, which conspiracy theorists have long believed contain toxic coal fly ash rather than harmless ice crystals, as the government claims. According to a press release about the 2016 paper, released by author J. Marvin Herndon, a geophysicist and “independent researcher” at the Transdyne Corporation in San Diego, California, the paper presents evidence the chemtrails contain coal fly ash, linked to a number of health problems.

But many people disagree with the findings — Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver, criticized the paper on his blog.

Here’s the EOC, published today by Frontiers in Public Health: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

July 15th, 2016 at 12:35 pm