It will take time for people to comb through them.
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But Chowkwanyun is already looking ahead, and hopes that the site will continue to grow and adapt. Rosner and Markowitz would love to see the site thrive as well.
Instead of having to defend themselves to every critic, or respond to every document request, they have started referring people to the website. They thank Chowkwanyun for that. The duo had always wanted to make the material available to the public, Rosner said.
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The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution
This one, though, was particularly scathing. ROSNER: Well, literally, from the first moments of the organization of the Lead Industries Association, discussions about lead poisoning among children are, you know, very, very significant.
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They literally discuss in their meetings that lead poisoning is becoming prevalent, and they began to develop a campaign that literally tries to minimize the danger by saying that these are children who are relatively few in number, and the ones that are damaged are generally kids who are not being supervised by their parents, or, alternatively, have a disease called pica, which is a craving for non-food substances.
The second way was literally publicizing the healthful and sanitary qualities of lead, rather than the dangerous and noxious qualities of lead.
In the s and s the industry will promote the idea that the dangers from lead are only for those children who are living in slums, and who are being raised by what they call — and these are words that they use — ineducable Hispanic and Negro families. CURWOOD: Now, the lead industry used advertising to a great extent, but what other avenues did they follow to try to build public confidence in lead? ROSNER: Well, they would sometimes visit doctors who were reporting on lead cases and tell them that they were not really seeing it, or challenge their clinical abilities.
One very famous case is the case of Randolph Byers, who was a researcher at Harvard, who wrote an article in talking about the long-term effects of lead poisoning on children, and pointing out that lead poisoned children, even after they were detoxified, or the lead was taken out of their bodies, were permanently damaged, and that it caused problems in reading, perceptual problems, et cetera.
Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution by Gerald E. Markowitz
And his argument gained a lot of national attention in Time magazine. And in his memoirs, he talks about his confrontation with the industry; that when he published that article the Lead Association and its lawyers descended upon him in Boston and, essentially, threatened him with lawsuits. So you can see that not only were there benign attempts at promoting lead, but there are also less benign, and actually malignant attempts of intimidating researchers. So in the s, the gentleman I talked about before, Randolph Byers, following that infamous meeting when he saw himself as being threatened by lawsuits, he was actually given a grant by the industry, and for the next ten years he published no more than two articles, both of which did not really ever address again the severity of the lead poisoning problem in children.
So clearly the industry was intent on, in some sense, capturing the loyalty of the researchers who were doing work. Some of the authors' findings on the lead industry will not be new because historians have been investigating the business for decades. However, Deceit and Denial's examination of vinyl chloride manufacturing will be welcomed for its close study of an industry largely ignored by historians. The authors argue persuasively that vinyl-industry researchers—scientists who for decades had dominated debates on health and safety issues surrounding vinyl manufacture—had never had the protection of workers as their goal.
Rather, their raison d'etre was, in their own words, to "reassure the public," "to develop data useful to the defense of the industry," and "to assure the employees Now, when environmental regulations, particularly in the area of occupational safety and health, are being systematically weakened, and industry self- regulation is routinely touted, this study provides a much-needed "reality check" for policymakers, health officials, scholars, and especially the public at large.
The study's findings have far-reaching implications, particularly in regard to contemporary policy proposals that rely on scientific research developed by regulated private interests. As these authors demonstrate in the cases of lead and vinyl chloride, this reliance has led to the development of environmental regulations that provide the dangerous illusion of safety with little of the substance. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution, With a New Epilogue
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