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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $32.95

400 pp.
6 1/8" x 9 1/4"


Publication date:
April 2008

Imprint: OUP US

Doubt is Their Product

How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health

Edited by David Michaels

"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.

Introduction: "Sound Science" or "Sounds Like Science?"
1. "Doubt Is Our Product"
2. 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. 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

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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.

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Special Features

  • A shocking account of how our regulatory agencies are being undermined-and our public health endangered-by unethical corporations and the scientists who work for them