Die Schaffung wissenschaftlicher Unsicherheit

Jahrzehntelang hat die Tabakindustrie mehr hergestellt als nur Zigaretten. Neben der aggressiven Vermarktung von Tabakprodukten, betrieb sie auch eine erfolgreiche PR-Kampagne, die darauf abzielte, Unsicherheit über die zerstörerische und tödliche Wirkung ihrer Produkte zu erzeugen. Obwohl die Aufdeckung dieser Bestrebungen für viele Raucher zu spät kam, zeigten Dokumente, die in Gerichtsverfahren auftauchten, dass es konzertierte Bestrebungen gab, die Einführung staatlicher Bestimmungen durch Angriffe auf die Gesundheitswissenschaft und die Forscher zu verhindern.

Es gibt wenige Herausforderungen in der Wissenschaft, die komplexer sind, als Erkenntnisse über Erkrankungen des Menschen zu gewinnen. So können Wissenschaftler beispielsweise nicht einfach Menschen toxische Substanzen verabreichen, um herauszufinden, in welchen Dosen diese Substanzen Krebs erregend sind. Stattdessen sind die Forscher darauf angewiesen, „natürliche Experimente“ für sich zu nutzen, im Zuge derer es bereits zu einer Belastung mit einer gewissen Substanz kam.

Natürlich werden im Labor unter kontrollierten Bedingungen Tierversuche gemacht, um die Wirkung toxischer Substanzen zu erforschen. Aber ebenso wie bei epidemiologischen Ergebnissen gibt es auch bei Laborversuchen viele Unsicherheiten und die Wissenschaftler müssen studienspezifische Ergebnisse extrapolieren, um die Ursächlichkeit zu beurteilen und Schutzmaßnahmen zu empfehlen. Absolute Sicherheit gibt es dabei selten..

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