An investigation at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia has found that a paper on air pollution and human health contains a host of issues with the data and its analysis. The paper has been retracted with a very detailed note from Environmental Research.
The issues with the paper include an “incorrect analysis of the data,” and its failure to properly cite multiple papers and one researcher’s contributions. Ultimately, according to the retraction note, the investigation found that the “conclusions of the paper are flawed.”
“Submicrometer particles and their effects on the association between air temperature and mortality in Brisbane, Australia” has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
The retraction note is very, very detailed. It outlines the problems with the paper:
An expression of concern has been published on a paper that taps into a decades-long fight over how to remove lead from the water supply.
The paper in question, published in the Journal American Water Works Association, supports the safety of a common but frequently criticized way of incrementally removing lead pipes. The expression of concern came after years of back-and-forth letters to the editor between other scientists and the authors.
Lead water pipes have been causing lead poisoning for generations; some people have even theorized that the ancient Romans’ use of the metal facilitated the empire’s downfall. The dangers of childhood exposure to lead — delayed development, irreversible damage to the brain and nervous system and behavioral problems — have been documented in the U.S. since the 1940s, but the Environmental Protection Agency didn’t start regulating lead levels in drinking water until 1991, when the “lead and copper rule” went into effect. That set the standard for utility companies’ lead testing: if 10 percent or more of samples from homes had lead levels above 15 parts per billion, the companies were required to replace 7% of their lead pipes a year until they met the requirements.
The Spanish press has picked up on the story of a prominent veterinary scientist in that country who has been accused of research misconduct.
According to El Pais, the researcher, Jesús Ángel Lemus, whose areas of interest include the effects of toxins on birds, ran into trouble in December when colleagues complained to the Ethics Committee of the Higher Council for Scientific Research about the reproducibility of his results and other problems. That triggered an inquiry by the CSIC into Lemus’ body of work, an investigation that, evidently, could not find a body.