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Financial Conflicts of Interest and Study Results in Environmental and Occupational Health Research

Friedman, Lee PhD; Friedman, Michael BS

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: March 2016 - Volume 58 - Issue 3 - p 238–247
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000671

Objectives: To date, there is no comprehensive analysis of the relationship between financial conflict of interest (COI) and a potential publication bias in environmental and occupational health studies.

Methods: We analyzed original research articles published in 2012 in 17 peer-reviewed journals. Multivariable ordinal logistic regression models were developed to evaluate the relationship between financial COI and the study outcome.

Results: Of the 373 studies included in the analysis, 17.2% had a financial COI associated with organizations involved with the processing, use, or disposal of industrial and commercial products, and studies with this type of COI were more likely to report negative results (Adjusted Odds Ratio = 4.31), as were studies with any COI associated with the military (employment or funding; Adjusted Odds Ratio = 9.15).

Conclusions: Our findings show a clear relationship between direction of reported findings and specific types of financial COI.

University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health (L Friedman); and The Social Policy Research Institute, Skokie, Illinois (M Friedman).

Address correspondence to: Lee Friedman, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Division of Environmental and Occupational Sciences, 2121 W. Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60612 (

Authors Friedman and Friedman have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2016 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine