Book Review of
“Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s
Assault on Science Threatens Your Health”

Doubt is Their Product is an indictment of the way big business has ignored, suppressed or distorted vital scientific evidence to the detriment of the public’s health. This sabotaging of science is now a routine part of American politics and a common corporate strategy. It was a tactic started by the tobacco industry, which worked for years and now is being used by the Pharmaceutical and Chemical industries. They bombard the courts and regulatory agencies with a barrage of dubious scientific information to create doubt about the toxicity of their various products to delay regulation. Unfortunately it has nearly always worked, at least for a time. In these battles over regulating substances, money has bought science, and then science—or, more precisely, artificially exaggerated uncertainty about scientific findings—has greatly delayed action to protect public and worker safety. And in many cases people are dying or suffering unnecessarily….it is criminal.

Here is a good review of the book that I found on the website for the book:

“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”

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