Author loses 2nd paper on supposed dangers of chemtrails

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:

Herndon JM (2016) Human and Environmental Dangers Posed by Ongoing Global Tropospheric Aerosolized Particulates for Weather Modification. Front. Public Health 4:139. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2016.00139

The journal retracts the 30 June 2016 article cited above. Based on information discovered after publication and reported to Frontiers in July 2016, the article was examined, revealing that the complaints were valid and that the article does not meet the standards of editorial and scientific soundness for Frontiers in Public Health. The retraction of the article was approved by the Field Chief Editor of Frontiers in Public Health and the Specialty Chief Editor of Environmental Health. The author considers the retraction to be unwarranted and therefore does not agree to the statement.

Conspiracy theorists have long believed that “chemtrails” released by jet planes consist of coal fly ash rather than harmless ice crystals, as the government has claimed.

Herndon told us more about his study:

The present paper presents three independent lines of evidence pointing to coal fly ash as the aerosolized particulate matter. It also points to the possibility that toxic methylmercury and ozone-killing compounds are being added to the environment.

He added:

…any organization that would engage in harming humanity on such a wide scale would not hesitate to lie and coerce editors to retract public health information. At some point, I posit, those who ordered and conducted the spraying will face court justice for crimes against humanity. It is a safe bet that all such defendants will claim ignorance of adverse health effects.

Herndon requested the journal to include the following text in the retraction notice:  

The author considers this retraction unwarranted, made upon the basis of undisclosed allegations that appear to be part of a concerted effort to hide evidence of a serious, global threat to public health and environmental health as explained in the correspondence about this retraction posted at

Pseudonymous science blogger Neuroskeptic took to twitter to criticize Frontiers, the journal’s publisher:

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6 thoughts on “Author loses 2nd paper on supposed dangers of chemtrails”

  1. What a distraction. Sadly, while all this hand wringing goes on about the supposed danger of chemtrails, the real danger of the trail of non-renewable oil-based carbon dioxide that spews out of thousands of jet engines every day continues to help push up the Mauna Loa CO2 curve, now showing over 400 parts per million of CO2 every day. The earth has not experienced such levels since about 10 million years ago (Science, 08 Oct 2009 DOI: 10.1126/science.1178296).

      1. Why, no danger at all. As all of Florida slips under the ocean, its residents will simply jump in their canoes and paddle to Colorado. The residents there will welcome all who come with open arms. People will learn many new recipes for kelp and jelly fish, as ocean acidification and warming rid the seas of many current species. Then, everyone in America can move to Canada, as the warming air temperature makes farming in the Dakotas as successful as it is in Arizona today. Siberians and Canadians will love all of their billions of new neighbours. People will of course breed new plant varietals, that don’t mind months of dim light during the northern winters, which will be lovely and balmy. Nothing dangerous in any of that. Why bother moderating fossil fuel excavation and combustion at all? Why would anyone want thousands of years of additional existence in the fashion we currently enjoy? Far more thrilling to just throw ourselves over an unknown cliff, singing all the way. Thanks for clarifying all that with your most informative link.

  2. in a relatively rare case of rapid action by a journal.

    According to the Frontiers tweet from July 15, the investigation came after the EoC:

    Statement of concern will be issued. Followed by full investigation.

    So it only took 48 hours. That hardly gives much time to contact everyone involved and hear their rationales for publication. Shabby treatment of the Editor and the peer reviewers, let alone the author.

    The alternative is that the Frontiers management had determined right back at the beginning of the month that the paper needed to be retracted, but they took no action in the hope that no-one would notice.

    1. If the Editor, peer reviewers, and author did not wish to be treated shabbily, perhaps they should not have published obvious garbage?

  3. How utterly weird that the well known poisonous products of hydrocarbon/air combustion, the oxides of nitrogen, and possibly carbon monoxide, were ignored in favour of fanciful nonsense, especially the deadly dimethyl mercury.
    So far as has ever been published, jet fuel does not include coal derivatives.
    And Steven McKinney is right, I cannot see how complete 100% non-emissions of GHG can be done while aircraft continue to fly on hydrocarbon fuel.

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