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Doubt is Their Product
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"Doubt is our product," a cigarette executive once observed, "since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy." In this eye-opening expose, David Michaels reveals how the tobacco industry's duplicitous tactics spawned a multimillion dollar industry that is dismantling public health safeguards. Product defense consultants, he argues, have increasingly skewed the scientific literature, manufactured and magnified scientific uncertainty, and influenced policy decisions to the advantage of polluters and the manufacturers of dangerous products. To keep the public confused about the hazards posed by global warming, second-hand smoke, asbestos, lead, plastics, and many other toxic materials, industry executives have hired unscrupulous scientists and lobbyists to dispute scientific evidence about health risks. In doing so, they have not only delayed action on specific hazards, but they have constructed barriers to make it harder for lawmakers, government agencies, and courts to respond to future threats. The Orwellian strategy of dismissing research conducted by the scientific community as "junk science" and elevating science conducted by product defense specialists to "sound science" status also creates confusion about the very nature of scientific inquiry and undermines the public's confidence in science's ability to address public health and environmental concerns. Such reckless practices have long existed, but Michaels argues that the Bush administration deepened the dysfunction by virtually handing over regulatory agencies to the very corporate powers whose products and behaviour they are charged with overseeing. In Doubt Is Their Product Michaels proves, beyond a doubt, that our regulatory system has been broken. He offers concrete, workable suggestions for how it can be restored by taking the politics out of science and ensuring that concern for public safety, rather than private profits, guides our regulatory policy.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: "Sound Science" or "Sounds Like Science?" ; 1. The Manufacture of Science ; 2. Workplace Cancer before OSHA: Waiting for the Body Count ; 3. America Demands Protection ; 4. Why our Children are Smarter Than We Are ; 5. The Enronization of Science ; 6. Tricks of the Trade: How Mercenary Scientists Mislead You ; 7. Defending Secondhand Smoke ; 8. Still Waiting for the Body Count ; 9. Chrome-Plated Mischief ; 10. Popcorn Lung: OSHA Gives Up ; 11. Defending the Taxicab Standard ; 12. The Country has a Drug Problem ; 13. Daubert: The Most Influential Supreme Court Ruling You've Never Heard Of ; 14. The Institutionalization of Uncertainty ; 15. The Bush Administration's Political Science ; 16. Making Peace with the Past ; 17. Four Ways to Make the Courts Count ; 18. Sarbanes-Oxley for Science: A Dozen Ways to Improve Our Regulatory System

About the Author

David Michaels is a scientist and former government regulator. During the Clinton Administration, he served as Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environment, Safety and Health. He was the architect of the historic initiative to compensate nuclear weapons workers who developed cancer and lung disease. He is currently Research Professor and Associate Chairman of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and Professor, Albert Einstein School of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He lives in Bethesda, MD.

Reviews

...a powerful, thorough endictment of the way big business has ignored, suppressed or distored vital scientific evidence to the detriment of the public's health. * Nature *

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