Monday, February 28, 2005

The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution: New Deceit and Denial Website

I've added a new link over on the left (no pun intended) for Deceit and Denial, a new webpage designed to rebut the attacks on David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz's fine work Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution. I frequently reference this fascinating (depressing and infuriating) book that documents decades of corporate cover-ups of the health effects of lead and vinyl chloride on workers and the public.

In a desperate attempt to defend themselves against lawsuits by the victims of their poisons, the vinyl chloride industry is currently attacking and attempting to discredit Rosner and Markowitz (as well as their peer reviewers!).

According to the website, Deceit and Denial
was unusual in a number of respects, including the fact that a number of the chapters on the two primary cases were based on documents historians rarely if ever use in critical evaluations of corporate behavior. These documents were internal company correspondence, memos and minutes of meetings of both the lead and chemical industry trade associations and some of their member companies. The extensive cache of documents we gathered had become available during the previous number of years through legal proceedings in cases involving injured children, consumers and workers.

The book used documents gathered during the “Discovery” phase of various lawsuits against the lead and chemical industries, including the member companies of the Lead Industries Association (LIA) and the Manufacturing Chemists Association (MCA), (today renamed the American Chemistry Council), and its member companies.


Here we provide the reader with Scranton’s expert report [defending the vinyl chloride industry], our response, reviews of our book by the academic community, and a link to websites that provides historians with access to a selection of documents from the chemical industry papers. Because one of the key accusations is that we inadequately and inaccurately documented our statements in Deceit and Denial, we will be posting on this site the documents we used in our footnotes for the scholarly community to evaluate. In the meantime, we encourage the reader to visit two other sites where an extensive selection(10,000 pages) of these and other documents about the vinyl chloride story are available here and here.
Check it out. This is today's front line of the ongoing battle to force the chemical industry to take responsibility for the damage it has caused, and hopefully to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

Oh, and while we're on the subject, buy and read the book. Don't let the extensive documentation turn you off. It reads like a novel, a tragic novel.