Indoor Air International

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

In early 1990, John Rupp the lawyer lobbyist working for the tobacco industry through Washington lawfirm Covington & Burling wrote a memo from Europe to keep his masters at Philip Morris in New York informed. His focus at this time was in recruiting so-called "consultants" (later known as WhiteCoats ... however they didn't consult with the tobacco company, but rather acted as undercover lobbyists, disinformation experts, and scientific influence peddlers for the industry in scientific meetings, conferences, media briefings, etc. See also Whitecoats Project.

One section of this report dealt with the creation of what eventually became the Indoor Air International (IAI), supposedly a worldwide society of scientists working in the area of indoor air quality testing and research. Another section mentions the closely-related UK group known as Associates for Research in Indoor Air (ARIA). ARIA was a cut-out organisation which allowed academics working for the tobacco industry to be paid through an intermediate 'consulting group', which would then pass on the payment in some untraceable way (often to Swiss bank accounts).

WhiteCoats Orgs.
IAPAG   (Nth America)
ARIA   (UK & Europe)
EGIL   (Scandanavia)
EMIES (E Med/N.Africa)
ARTIST   (S.E. Asia)
APTRC   (East Asia)
APAIAQ (Asia-Pacific)

IAI also provided the tobacco industry with an international front group for pseudo-scientific conferences in exotic locations (one of the favoured ways the tobacco industry used for paying compliant scientists) and it ran its own 'peer-review' Journal "Indoor Environment" and a bimonthly newsletter "AIRMAIL". The administration of all of these operations appears to have been with George B Leslie and his wife Kathleen based in Biggleswade, Beds. in the UK.

This section of the report also mentions a matching consulting group being formed in Asia which later acquired the name Asian Regional Tobacco Industry Science Team or ARTIST. And there was already a third in Scandanavia, known as EGIL.

Rupp wrote:

4 . Learned Society
Our consultants have created the world's only learned scientific society addressing questions of indoor air quality. The society (Indoor Air International) is seeking memberships from all those interested in IAQ [Indoor Air Quality] issues throughout the world. It will soon have its own periodic newsletter, in which ETS [Environmental Tobacco Smoke] and other IAQ issues will be discussed in a balanced fashion to an audience of regulators, scientists, building operators, etc. It will also have its own scientific journal, published by a major European publishing house, in which IAQ issues will again be addressed.

The society will be self-supporting from its own dues. it already exists under the laws of Switzerland, and has its own executive director based in Brussels. The society will sponsor meetings and conferences, such as the one scheduled for Switzerland in 1991, and thus can serve as an independent and accepted source of ideas and research regarding IAQ to the public and the scientific community. it should be a major vehicle for reaching a variety of different audiences on IAQ issues.

We are of course including Asian and American consultants in the society, so as to provide worldwide coverage of IAQ issues.

5. Consulting group

Our EC consultants formed a consulting group called ARIA (Associates for Research in Indoor Air) that has its own brochure and is offering consulting services to companies and governments on IAQ issues. The ARIA model has been followed on a smaller scale by Asian consultants. We hope both groups will extend the reach and effectiveness of our consultants' advice on IAQ matters. [2]


The IAI circulated a bimonthly newsletter AIR MAIL and it also produced a peer-reviewed scientific journal, Indoor Enviroments' which later changed its name to Indoor + Built Environment. when the IAI changed its name to the International Society of the Built Environment. All the same corrupt scientists were Offices of this new association, and on the 30-Man editorial board of the new journal. Obviously they now had considerably more money from the tobacco industry. [3]

Exposure as a front group

The US Department of Justice noted in Aug 16 2004:

  • ARIA: was created in Feb 1988 by lawyers Covington & Burling as a Philip Morris indoor air initiative in the United Kingdom. It was designed to generate tobacco-favorable scientific comment on ETS issues, and as such, it was little more than a public relations program. It was not a scientific research operation.

Although ARIA was funded by the industry, Covington & Burling acted as a buffer between the industry and the scientists to allow the members to retain the appearance of "independence."

  • Indoor Air International: The group was headed by industry consultants George Leslie, Francis Roe, and Frank Lanau, who set up another industry front to fund indoor air quality seminars, research, and publications.
[This was a ...] European front organization made up of industry consultants that acted on behalf of the tobacco industrv on ETS and indoor air quality issues . IAI Scientists were paid through, and received direction from Covington & Burling. IAI issued its own newsletter and published it's own scientific journal which was utilized to publish the works of the various industry consultants . IAI later became the International Society of the Built Environment or ISBE. [which published this journal]


Summary of Changes

  1. it was registered as a non-profit organisation in Switzerland under the name International Association for Indoor Air. It was probably then under the control of Helmut Gaisch at Philip Morris's S&T division, Laussane, Switzerland.
  2. The name was changed by adding "Quality" (and possibly 'The') to become The International Association for Indoor Air Quality -- register at Postfaach 2, CH-4467, Rothenfluh, Switzerland.
  3. It later became known as 'Indoor Air International and was under the control of the key ARIA group: George B Leslie (and his wife Kathleen), Frank Lunau, and Professor Roger Perry of Imperial College London.
  4. A peer review journal was created under the editorship of Frank Lunau. It was later taken over by DF ('Max') Weetman
  5. The journal became Indoor and Built Environments (IBE)

Documents & Timelines

1990/E George B Leslie and his wife Katherine Leslie must have been contracted by Philip Morris at about this time to create what became the Indoor Air International umbrella organisation as a coordinating group which included:

a) Some members of IAPAG and CEHHT the pseudo-scientific associations run by Sorrel Schwartz and Nancy Balter (with the Witorsch brothers) out of Georgetown University.
b) Owners and some staff of the indoor air testing companies which had been retained by the US tobacco industry to test office air. {Larry Holcomb, HBI, Joe Robertson etc)
c) Sheet metal companies and air-conditioning ducting installers and air-conditioning manufacturers.
d) Members of the various European, Asian, Middle Eastern, etc. WhiteCoats groups -- ARIA, EGIL, ARTIST,
e) Independent academics willing to provide witness services, or conduct dubious research for the tobacco industry.

1991 May 29-31 IAI Conference on Indoor Air Research priorities in Montreaux, Switzerland. [5]

1991 May The BOHS Montreaux Conference: Activity Report - Summary

  • Indoor Air International is organising a meeting on IAQ research next May at which many consultants will present papers.
  • These will be published in Indoor Environments, the peer reviewed journal of IAI.
  • Karger, a well-respected European company is to be publisher of this journal.


This conference was actually run under the name of the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS). George Leslie was also an office holder in this society (which we assume was a genuine organisation). However all the speakers and participants were from the IAI tobacco group.

1991 Oct 1 IAI Conference on indoor air pollution held in Paris. [6]

1992 Oct 8 Kathleen Leslie is circulating to members a confidential membership list with about 250 names. This copy was in British-American Tobacco's files.

It is difficult to believe that all names on this list were necessarily in the pay of the tobacco industry -- but at least half were ... and it is difficult to be sure about most of the the other half. This is possibly the most corrupted major scientific association ever.
See the original document [7]
See also full details of the membership in the IAI Membership (1992) list

1992 The name of the IAI changed to the International Society of the Built Environment and the new journal was a real scientific-looking journal, Indoor + Built Environment.

1992 The obituary for Francis JC Roe says:

'Indoor and Built Environment' began life as 'Indoor Environment' in 1992 under the editorship of Professor DF Weetman, It was started by a diverse group of scientists and specialist who had backgrounds in Ventilation Engineering, Chemistry, Occupational and Public Health, Toxicology and Pathology."

[The obit failed to mention that they were united by the fact that they all worked as contractors to Philip Morris and the tobacco industry, and needed a front to confect some legitimacy.]

It was a world leader, providing a forum for papers whose subjects crossed a number of disciplines. The most eminent scientist in the founding group was the experimental pathologist Dr FJC Roe. Francis acted as Technical Secretary to Indoor Air International as the group had called themselves ... [etc] ...

Francis was perhaps the leading British experimental pathologist of his generation... He was member of numerous national and international expert committees including the DHSS (UK Department of Health) Committee on Carcinogencity and Toxicology in the UK and was on the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Food Safety, and was on the editorial boards of a number of scientific and medical journals.

[In short, he must have been one of the most influential of all the corrupt tobacco-friendly scientists, and in his long life, one of the most destructive to public health.]

1994 Jan 2: IAI Council Membership and Tenure. [8]

1994 Feb IAI's newsletter "AIRMAIL" [9]

1995 Jan: OAO Council Membership and Tenure [10]

1995 Mar 31 - Apr1 IAI Conference on Toxicology and Air Pollution: Risk Assessment, held at the Medical Faculty, De Parmacie University de Bourgogne, Dijon France. [11]

1995 June: 7th - 9th IAI Conference: Scientific and Regulatory Aspects of Air Quality Managenient - - Venue: St Petersburg, Russia Details from: Professor N Bitcolov . Association "Air Environment" Research Institute of Industrial and Marine Medicine. [12]