Lead poisoning article disappears for “legal” — but mysterious — reasons

OM_ak4A 2014 article in Occupational Medicine has been pulled with no retraction notice. Instead, the text was replaced with eight ominous words:

This article has been removed for legal reasons

The title of the paper appears to have been scrubbed from the journal’s table of contents, but in PubMed it is indexed with the title “A case of tetraethyl lead poisoning.” The article does not have any citations.

The author, according to the PubMed entry, is D. Gidlow, who appears to write about lead exposure and other issues in occupational health. The most recent listed affiliation in PubMed for Gidlow was at Health in Business Ltd, an occupational health and lab service. (LinkedIn also lists a profile for David Gidlow, clinical director at RPS Health in Business.)

Christian Purdy, director of publicity at Oxford University Press, which publishes the journal, offered a bit more explanation in response to our inquiry:

I apologize for the delay in getting this info to you, but we take retraction matters seriously and wanted to review our actions and policies before commenting further. It looks like there were a few missteps in our retraction procedures regarding this paper and we have taken steps to correct the process in the future.  Our position following this review is…

 “The item was removed at the author’s request due to requisite permissions not being obtained.”

We’ve contacted Gidlow, too, and will circle back if he replies.

This isn’t the first time a paper has been pulled “for legal reasons,” and it most likely won’t be the last.

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