By Diane Farsetta on December 11, 2006

"Sir Richard Doll, the celebrated epidemiologist who established that smoking causes lung cancer, was receiving a consultancy fee of $1,500 a day in the mid-1980s from Monsanto," reports The Guardian. "While he was being paid by Monsanto, Sir Richard wrote to a royal Australian commission investigating the potential cancer-causing properties of Agent Orange, made by Monsanto and used by the US in the Vietnam war. Sir Richard said there was no evidence that the chemical caused cancer." Monsanto confirmed that Sir Richard worked for the company as recently as 2000, as "an expert witness for Solutia," a Monsanto spin-off. Sir Richard "was also paid a £15,000 fee by the Chemical Manufacturers Association and ... Dow Chemicals and ICI, for a review that largely cleared vinyl chloride, used in plastics, of any link with cancers apart from liver cancer -- a conclusion with which the World Health Organization disagrees." Colleagues defended the late Sir Richard, saying that he received the fees when "it was not automatic for potential conflicts of interest to be declared in scientific papers," and that he donated the money to Green College, Oxford.