Simon Turner

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

Simon Turner worked in America for Gray Robertson's Healthy Buildings International (HBI), the notorious fake air-testing operation. Simon's full name (which he never used in America) was Guy Simon Mark Turner.

The company HBI was originally known as ACVA (sometimes ACVA Atlantic) and it was established by Robertson and his partner Peter Binnie in 1981. It became a virtual subsidiary of the tobacco industry in 1985.

Binnie left the company and Simon Turner was recruited, and obviously given a minor share. He was brought to the USA as an executive and spokesperson of the revambed HBI. He was the son of the leading figure -- and chief scam-artists and industry spokesman, -- in what was effectively the British version of the Tobacco institute. AD Clive Turner (known universally as Clive] had originally been seconded to the industry's advisory council from British-American Tobacco (BAT) and he was given the title of Director of Public Affairs at the British Tobacco Advisory Council.

Healthy Buildings International (HBI)
Peter WH Binnie and Gray Robertson
Richard Silberman and Simon Turner
Jeffrey R Seckler and Reginald B. Simmons
Business Council on Indoor Air
The Legionnaire's disease scam
Sick Building Syndrome
ACVA/HBI (Doc Index)

He became an important spokesman for HBI and the Tobacco Institute, and he also worked (through HBI) for Philip Morris along with Richard Silberman, Reginald Simmons, and Jeffey Seckler.

Documents & Timeline

1987 Sep 15 The Agenda for the Tobacco Institute's College of Tobacco Knowledge which ran training programs for industry disinformation staff in the techniques of countering anti-smoking propaganda and industry attacks. Simon Turner is listed here as a lecturer/speaker. and a ventilation specialist from ACVA Atlantic Inc. [1]

1989 Dec /E The Tobacco Institute has circulated this list of available 'consultants' who are willing to give testimony at ordinance hearings, or appear before State Assemblies to promote the tobacco industry's line. Essentially they will say that ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) is not a significant pollutant of normal office IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) and so there are no substantial health effects. Also that any cub on smoking is a human rights issue.

The ETS consultants disputed the science behind passive-smoking and the potential adverse-health claims. The IAQ consultants had the job of shifting the blame for poor indoor air quality to a) outside pollution being drawn into an office, or b) photocopier chemical vapours (early models gave off fumes), or c) exudates from synthetic carpets, d) etc. etc...). They claimed that even if there was substantial second-hand smoke in the office atmosphere, it carries no significant level of harmful components anyway.

There were four basic categories of 'witnesses' with lists of names. Every one of them is a well known long-term tobacco industry friend and "smoke-health denier". The document boasts that the ...

Tobacco Institute consults with 37 ETS and IAQ scientists: 14 are members of university or medical school faculties; 23 are professional consultants; 11 are exclusively expert on IAQ.
Scientific disciplines include chemistry, toxicology, biochemistry, statistics, medicine, environmental science, biostatistics and industrial hygiene.

It the gives the breakdown of the consultant list as being:

  • Academics:
14 academic scientists from institutions including the University of California; New York University Medical Center; Columbia University; University of South Carolina; University of Alabama; University of Maryland; Medical College of Virginia; Pace University; West Virginia University; Stillman College; New York Medical College; and George Washington University.
  • ETS Consultants:
George L. Carlo;   Walter J Decker;   Thomas Golojuch;   Gio Gori;   Larry Halfen;   Larry Holcomb;   Alan W. Katzenstein;   Maurice E LeVois;   Joe Pedelty;   Jack E PetersonBarry Seabrook and David Weeks.
  • IAQ Consultants:
Peter Binnie;   Bill Butler;   John W Drake;   Jolanda Janczewski,   D. Johnson;   Gray Robertson;   Jeff Seckler;   Elia M Sterling;   Nancy Stone;   Simon Turner; and Jon Yereb.

The document also provides details such as "Length of relationship," "How we use them," and ... the "Kinds of things they do"

  • Testify on federal, state and local smoking restriction and indoor air quality bills and regulations -- explaining complex scientific information in straightforward lay terms.
  • Appear on television and radio talk shows -- often in debate formats -- in areas where smoking restriction activity is underway.
  • Assist the industry in responding to media reports by preparing critiques of adverse research.
  • Help reassure allies that they are on solid scientific ground

It then lists "What Have They Done lately", "Strengths", and "Limitations",
Another section deals with special consultants suited for discussions with corporate executives to persuade them not to implement smoking bans in offices and workplaces:

[Note: the full document has much more information. It is worth reading.) [2]

Healthy Buildings International (HBI)
Gray Robertson
Simon Turner
Jeff Seckler
Holcomb Environmental Services
Holcomb Scientific Services
Larry Holcomb
Joseph F Pedelty
'Barry' Seabrook
Peterson Associates Jack E Peterson
Consolidated Safety Services (CSS)
ENV Services
Jola Janczewski
Nancy Stone
Jon Yereb
Environmental Consultants IncLawrence Halfen
Nat. Energy Management Institute(NEMI)Frank Powell
TDS Ltd. or TD Sterling AssociatesElia Sterling
Toxicology Consultancy ServicesWalter J Decker

1992 Jul 27 Gray Roberson is billing Mary Pottorff at Philip Morris for the services of Simon Turner and Richard Silberman in presenting the seminars in Boston and New York on July 21-22, 1992. The consulting fees were $1000 a day ($3,000) and expenses added another $2,000. [3]

1993 Feb 25 A Tobacco Institute document labelled "'1993 EPA Briefings"' refers to a concerted attack on the Environment Protection Agency; by the tobacco companies. They are holding briefings with various editorial boards and selected journalists.

The document lists the various briefings to editorial boards, meetings with legislators (often one-to-one), organised radio interviews, etc. by:

In this month they are holding meetings with the media, town councils, airport officials, and legislatures in: San Diego, Dallas, Kansas, Lincoln, Salt Lake City, Carson City, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Hilton Head, Sacramento, Denver, St Louis, Minneapolis, Monroe County and have had scheduled meetings cancelled in Santa Fe, Cheynne, Charleston, Nashville, Minneapolis, Pierre and Madison. [4]

Diane Avedon ran this operation out of the Tobacco Institute: Here is her advice to witnesses and early schedule. [5]
Also Diane Avedon's list of witnesses involved in these EPA Briefings [6]

1994 Dec The activities of HBI were exposed by a US House of Representatives Subcommittee looking at the problem of ETS. This was a result of the work of Rep. Henry Waxman.

Subcommittee on Health and the Environment - Majority Staff Report: Dec. 20 1994
Healthy Buildings International (HBI) began its relationship with the tobacco industry in 1985. At that time, the company was a small and obscure indoor air firm. In addition to the president and vice president, it had only two technical employees and operated under the name ACVA Atlantic. Over the next nine years, however, HBI grew to be an international presence in the indoor air field. This was due in large measure to the patronage of the tobacco industry. During this period, the Tobacco Institute, Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, and the Center for Indoor Air Research (a tobacco-industry research organization) paid HBI millions of dollars for its services.
    The tobacco industry went to great lengths to promote HBI. The Tobacco Institute paid the expenses of a public relations firm, Fleishman-Hillard, to arrange media tours for HBI throughout the United States. From September 1990 to November 1992, Philip Morris covered all the expenses of, and paid HBI a substantial fee for, the publication of a magazine entitled "Healthy Buildings International Magazine." The magazine, which included glossy color photographs, was published in eight languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Dutch, and Finnish) and disseminated worldwide.
    A report circulated within HBI in late 1991 or 1992 describes "the HBI concept" that the tobacco industry paid so much to promote. According to this document, "the key objective of the HBI concept is to broaden the debate on indoor air quality to deflect the ETS challenge." The document states that "HBI is now positioned as an authority on IAQ issues" [and has] "brought balance to the IAQ [indoor air quality] debate" [by promoting] "acceptance that ETS is in fact a minor contributor."
    HBI performed at least two vital services for the tobacco industry. First, it conducted scientific research for the industry that purported to show that ETS is not a significant source of indoor air pollution. The most significant of these research studies was done in 1989, when HBI was paid over $200,000 by the tobacco industry's Center for Indoor Air Research (CIAR) to study ETS levels in 585 office environments. The results of this study were summarized in a final report to CIAR in January 1990 presented to EPA in public comments in September 1990, and formally published in 1992.
    In addition to conducting research for the tobacco industry, HBI regularly testified for the industry in opposition to federal, state, and local restrictions on smoking. Over most of the last decade, HBI was the tobacco industry's principal defender on ETS matters. According to the records of the Tobacco Institute, HBI testified 129 times for the Tobacco Institute from August 1985 through September 1994 -- an average of more than once per month. In some months, HBI testified as many as six times. HBI's appearances for the Tobacco Institute included testimony before Congress (including this Subcommittee on June 27, 1986, and March 17, 1994), before state legislatures, and before local governments. [7]



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