The New England Journal of Medicine recently stepped in it with the publication of bogus study on PM2.5 and death. I have called for the NEJM to retract the study. Jim Enstrom has a different suggestion.
Enstrom’s letter to the NEJM is below. My letter from last week is here.
July 10, 2017
Jeffrey M. Drazen, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief, New England Journal of Medicine
Professor, T.H. Chan SPH Department of Environmental Health
Re: Request for Special Article Opposing June 29 NEJM Original Article and Editorial Claiming PM2.5 Deaths
Dear Editor-in-Chief and Professor Drazen,
I am writing regarding the June 29, 2017 New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Original Article “Air Pollution and Mortality in the Medicare Population” and your accompanying Editorial “Air Pollution Still Kills.” In order to allow your readers to see evidence of NO relationship between fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and mortality, I request that you allow me and potential co-authors to publish a peer-reviewed Special Article, tentatively entitled “Particulate Matter Does Not Kill Americans.” I have very strong evidence that the NEJM has repeatedly published articles and editorials since 1993 that have falsified the relationship between PM2.5 and mortality in the United States. Also, I have strong evidence that you did not reveal an important conflict of interest in the ICMJE Form for your Editorial. Finally, I have evidence that the HEI-funded Original Article did not undergo proper HEI review before you published it.
My extensive evidence of falsification includes five actions by you regarding my NEJM submissions:
1) On November 10, 2004, you rejected my October 12, 2004 NEJM Manuscript #04-3494, “Fine Particulate Air Pollution and Total Mortality Among Elderly Californians, 1980-98” in spite of one positive review of my major epidemiologic study showing NO relationship in the California ACS CPS I cohort.
2) On September 11, 2015, you rejected my September 8, 2015 NEJM Manuscript #15-11655, “Particulate Matter Does Not Cause Premature Deaths,” without any peer review. This manuscript contained detailed evidence of falsification by NEJM regarding PM2.5-related deaths.
3) On June 17, 2016, you rejected my June 7, 2016 NEJM Manuscript #16-07588, “Fine Particulate Matter and Mortality in Cancer Prevention Study Reanalysis,” after it was evaluated by two external reviewers and was discussed among the editors. Although the manuscript received one positive review and you found it interesting, you did not accept it for publication. This manuscript represented the first ever independent analysis of the ACS CPS II cohort and it found NO relationship in this large national cohort.
4) On June 28, 2016, you immediately rejected my June 27, 2016 request for reconsideration of my Manuscript #16-07588, “Fine Particulate Matter and Mortality in Cancer Prevention Study Reanalysis.”
5) In spite of your direct involvement with my above manuscripts, none of the null evidence contained in these now published manuscripts was cited in the NEJM Original Article or Editorial. Also, your Editorial advocated for the scientifically unjustified “imposition of stricter limits on levels of PM2.5.”
Manuscript #16-07588 was published with minor changes as the March 28, 2017 Dose-Response article “Fine Particulate Matter and Total Mortality in Cancer Prevention Study Cohort Reanalysis” (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1559325817693345). Reference 27 of this article documents the above NEJM rejections. This peer-reviewed article contains important evidence that there is NO relationship between PM2.5 and total mortality in the ACS CPS II cohort. This evidence refutes the basic PM2.5 premature deaths finding in the seminal 1995 Pope AJRCCM article that provided the primary epidemiologic justification for the 1997 EPA PM2.5 NAAQS.
If you reject my request for a Special Article, your rejection will add to the extensive evidence by me and others that the NEJM has falsified the relationship between PM2.5 and mortality and refuses to correct this falsification. Evidence of falsification is included in the major ongoing reassessment of the EPA PM2.5 NAAQS. Finally, you should realize that falsification damages the credibility of NEJM.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
James E. Enstrom, Ph.D., M.P.H.
UCLA and Scientific Integrity Institute