Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Competing Interests

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: protecting the private good?

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 15 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2362

Workers Require Interventions Now. A Way Forward.

Regarding the sugar industry's funding of Boston University's research into Chronic Kidney Disease of non-Traditional cause(CKDnT) Dr. Jerome Hoffman states: "...given the human suffering involved, we need to devise and test interventions that have a chance to prevent or ameliorate this substantial harm, as quickly as possible. It’s inappropriate to focus on things that cannot protect these workers,such as identifying an unusual genetic predisposition to kidney failure, or evaluating a biomarker to follow the disease (the work funded by the indusry), while ignoring modifiable factors."
La Isla Foundation, and our colleagues at Karolinska Institutet, Lund University, and Gothenburg could not agree more. We've just completed our first year of field work for an intervention:
This program was designed with the participation of OSHA, CDC-NIOSH, USARIEM and in coordination with a sugar mill, local researchers and workers in El Salvador.
While focusing on heat stress, workload, repetitive muscle injury and chronic dehydration, we are also testing for environmental toxins and infectious disease. In effect, we have an incredible living lab in order to address the known risk factors of CKDnT while assessing what other factors may be in play.
It should be noted that when we asked the CDC Foundation if we could work with them in order to fund the intervention they flatly refused. It is our hope that our efforts on protecting occupational health, while simultaneously addressing aetiology, serve as a model for similar situations, and a more responsible way forward.
For any questions or comments:

Competing interests: No competing interests

17 May 2015
Jason R Glaser
Ilana Weiss
La Isla Foundation
2116 W Cullom