Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health

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Oxford University Press, Apr 23, 2008 - Medical - 384 pages
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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 behavior 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. Named one of the best Sci-Tech books of 2008 by Library Journal!

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User Review  - JanesList - LibraryThing

Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health David Michaels, 2008 This heavily documented but readable book discusses the ways in which industry fights against ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jorgearanda - LibraryThing

I am with Michaels in his fight to regulate toxic and hazardous substances, and I am angry (but not surprised) at the cynical, reckless industrial behaviour that he documents so thoroughly in his book ... Read full review


Waiting for the Body Count
3 America Demands Protection
4 Why Our Children Are Smarter Than We Are
5 The Enronization of Science
How Mercenary Scientists Mislead You
7 Defending Secondhand Smoke
8 Still Waiting for the Body Count
9 ChromePlated Mischief
The Most Influential Supreme Court Ruling Youve Never Heard Of
14 The Institutionalization of Uncertainty
15 The Bush Administrations Political Science
16 Making Peace with the Past
17 Four Ways to Make the Courts Count
A Dozen Ways to Improve Our Regulatory System
Abbreviations and Acronyms

OSHA Gives Up
11 Defending the Taxicab Standard
12 The Country Has a Drug Problem

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About the author (2008)

David Michaels is a scientist, former government regulator, and the current appointed head of OSHA. During the Clinton Administration, he served as Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environment, Safety and Health, responsible for protecting the health and safety of the workers, neighboring communities, and the environment surrounding the nation's nuclear weapons factories. He currently directs the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. In 2006, he received the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award for his work on behalf of nuclear weapons workers and for advocacy for scientific integrity.

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