Franz Adlkofer

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Dr. Franz Adlkofer

Dr. Franz Adlkofer (aka Professor Franz Xavier Adlkofer) is a professor of internal medicine in Germany who specializes in diseases partly or completely caused from environmental and/or behavioral causes. He was a tobacco industry consultant who worked closely with the Verband (German Tobacco Institute - also known by the initials VdC), and later equally as faithfully with the cellular mobile phone industry when they faced growing public concerns about the possible brain effects of microwave radiation from the proximity to the head of the early high-powered pulse-transmission (GSM) mobile phones.

He was both a boardroom Director of the tobacco industry's Verband and its Research Director at a time when the Verband was actively involved in creating misleading scientific papers and circulating disinformation about the health consequences of passive smoke (ETS or Environmental Tobacco Smoke).

He was clearly one of the main disinformation executives and global science recruiters for the tobacco industry in Europe. However his ethical stance appeared to be different from his associates in the USA and England, because it reflected the way in which the German industry itself dealt with the German government. Their relationship was much less antagonistic, and relatively more open than it was in the other countries.

Norbert Hirschhorn, [[2]] an Austrian-born American public health physician and a consultant to the World Health Organisation, wrote a long document in September 1999 called "Shameful Science: Three Decades of the German Tobacco Industry's Hidden Research in Smoking and Health." At this time only 500 tobacco documents had been released in the public domain -- but many had a focus on Germany.

His introductory remarks tell the story of ...

"... corrupt science in the service of a deeply flawed product. The selected quotations will astonish even those who have become inured to what has already been discovered, "in their own words."

Beyond the petty squabbles and unpleasant characters, the story can be boiled down to a few essential themes that thread themselves throughout the annotations.

  • The company scientists had to struggle with the accumulating and on-rushing evidence that theirs is one of the foulest products (in the environmental sense) sold to be taken into human bodies. That struggle was seldom openly or honestly fought.
  • Even as some of the scientists hoped, in vain, to create the "safer cigarette," company lawyers were focused entirely on avoiding litigation and loss when sued. An army of public relations experts, front-organizations, and corrupted consultants served the lawyers, not the truth; the companies, not the public.
  • The Geriiian tobacco.scientists, led by the wily Professor Franz X Adlkofer, managed to integrate and ingratiate themselves with leading researchers, academics and government officials; even with some who were strongly anti-tobacco. This gave the German industry the prestige and time to carry out research, and the ability to influence policy not just in Germany but throughout Europe and other continents, even until today.
  • The German scientists knew from the start that the true battleground was, and still is, passive smoking. Their worry was not so much whether smoking caused disease -- they knew early on it did -- but they were obsessed by the evidence that tobacco poisons released into the air could affect the health of nonsmokers; and they did everything they could to deny, distort, suppress, and finally ignore the overwhelming evidence.

[1] It is not surprising that Dr Franz Adlkofer turns up repeatedly in the next hundred-or-so pages of the full document.


Franz X Adlkofer was born in 1935. He received his doctorate from the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich in 1965, and got his post-doctoral education in internal medicine from the Free University of Berlin where he studied until 1976. From 1976 to 1992 Prof. Adlkofer worked for various industries, including the tobacco industry. A puff piece on him explains:

Since 1992 he served as Executive Director and since 2002 has been a Member of the Board of VERUM - Foundation for Behaviour and Environment in Munich. His special interest concentrates on the investigation of diseases caused by behaviour and environment. Until 2004 he lectured on this topic at the Free University of Berlin. Later, to investigate the biological effects of electromagnetic fields, Prof. Adlkofer organized and coordinated the EU-funded research project REFLEX between 1999 and 2004. [2]

Documents & Timelines

Note to document researchers: his name is also misspelled Adlkoper and Adelkofer.

1988 June 27 Report on the Indoor and Ambient Air Quality Conference (aka International Conference on Indoor and Ambient Air Quality held June 13-15 1988) This report was made to the executives of Philip Morris who had secretly funded the meeting.

The Conference, organized by Professor Roger Perry of Imperial College, London, was attended by approximately 200 individuals. Eighty papers were presented, and nearly half of those presentations dealt with environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).

Papers given at the Conference have been published and distributed under the title Indoor and Ambient Air Quality ( Selper Ltd., London, 1988.) In addition, fourteen selected papers appear in the June 1988 issue of Environmental Technology Letters. Copies of the proceedings and journal are availlable through Professor Perry. A copy of the Conference program is attached to this memorandum.

On Monday, June 13, an article (attached), appeared in the (London) Times which reported that the WHO (World Health Organisation) had "withdrawn" from the Conference due to tobacco "industry involvement". (Dr. M.J. Suess of WHO, Denmark served on the Technical Review Committee for the Conference.)

The high-lights were:

  • Numerous bullet points about the major speakers (They were almost all secretly paid tobacco scientists.) (See full explanatory document) This was the conference open to the media.
  • Franz X Adlkofer (FRG); "Exposure of Hamsters and Rats to Sidestream Smoke of Cigarettes : Preliminary Results of a 90-day Inhalation Study" . In this 90-day subchronic inhalation study, no exposure-related changes in either clinical or hematological areas were noted . Light microscopy revealed no differences between exposed and nonexposed animals.

1988 June Adelkofer argued in a parallel-but-secret joint meeting of the executives from the worldwide tobacco companies (held at St. James Court in London) that the industry should stop developing "marketable science" for use in public relations to fight the secondhand smoke issue and instead should establish a safe threshold for exposure to secondhand smoke. [3]

Sourcewatch resources

External resources



  1. Downloadable + Other related documents.
  2. International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety Biosketch of Franz Adlkofer , accessed July 15, 2009
  3. Donald K. Hoel Joint Meeting on ETS- London Meeting Minutes. July 15, 1988. 14 pp. "Privileged and confidential attorney work product." Philip Morris Bates No. 2021548222/8235