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Toxic Deception: How the Chemical Industry Manipulates Science, Bends the Law, and Endangers Your Health [Hardcover]

Dan Fagin , Marianne Lavelle , Center for Public Integrity


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Book Description

February 1997
Two investigative journalists document how the chemical industry in America has used its financial power to circumvent government regulation, keep dangerous products on the market, and taint research to further their business.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Birch Lane Pr (February 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559723858
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559723855
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,554,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Booklist

Fagin and other investigative reporters, with funding by the Center for Public Integrity, show chemical companies successfully working to keep known health threats profitably on the market. The authors suggest one industry method for prosperity: nearly half the top officials who left the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the last 15 years now work for these companies, directly or indirectly--which might explain why the industry is essentially responsible for testing the toxic effects of its own chemicals and then reporting the results to the EPA. The authors find numerous discrepancies between the work of industry and that of independent scientists. Chemical companies also resort to obfuscation, lawsuits both threatened and real, propaganda, and borderline fraud. The result is that their products continue to contaminate our air, water, and food. And those pro-environmental television commercials these companies sponsor? After reading this book, many viewers will never take them seriously again. Brian McCombie

Review

"...describes the nearly complete failure of all our attempts to regulate the behavior of the chemical corporations.... Even those of us who study chemicals and health full-time have never put all the pieces together the way these two have." -- Peter Montague, Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly, July 11, 1997, about first edition

"Toxic Deception shows how the industry uses campaign contributions, junkets, job offers, 'scorched earth' courtroom strategies, misleading advertising and multi-million-dollar public relations campaigns to keep their products on the market no matter how great the potential dangers." -- Bob Herbert, The New York Times, Feb. 17, 1997, about first edition --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Muckraking is not (totally) dead! April 13 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a great book, telling the reader how and why the EPA, the supposed bane of industry, has become toothless in the face of organized opposition (and co-optation) from the industries themselves. Four chemicals, including the drycleaning chemical "perc", formaldehyde, and two pesticides, are followed through the EPA maze, with fascinating diversions to corporate lawfirms, PR flacks, and financial records, until the reader discovers why these dangerous chemicals are not properly regulated. Anyone who understands math knows the EPA will never adequately test the millions of chemicals now in existence--now find out the politics that explain why they can't even properly test or regulate some of the most dangerous ones in common use all over the USA. An eye-opener!
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book every American should read Nov. 30 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you've ever wondered why the public health system in this country is a mess, this book will show you. Basically, the burden of proof to demonstrate that a given chemical is harmful is on the victims or the underfunded EPA, who often, for both financial and legal reasons, have to depend on tests and information given by the chemical companies themselves. If that's not the fox guarding the henhouse then I don't know what is.
The book examines in depth four chemicals : atrazine and alachlor (both pesticides), perchloroethylene (used in dry cleaning), and formaldehyde, which is used in many products, particularly wood-related ones. The companies that make these products include some of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world including du Pont, Monsanto, Ciba-Geigy, Dow Chemical, Borden (yes, Elsie the cow is poisoning you) and Georgia-Pacific. They have armies of lawyers. They have many scientists working directly for them, and many others in academia working indirectly through studies that they fund. They also have bigtime PR firms who hammer home the message that (to quote the title of a related book) Toxic Sludge is Good for You.
Even in the few cases where a chemical actually is banned, the taxpayer then has to make up the difference. We can all be poisoned but heaven forbid that one of these huge corporations should lose a little profit !
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars informative Aug. 15 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
McLachlan 1996 paper was retracted and the 1st edition was written prior to the retraction.
Very informative on how the EPA works (or doesn't work) and the tactics used by the Chemical companies to mislead.
The precedent established in this book about how Monsanto (Pharmacia) and Zeneca (now Syngenta) act and their lack of concern for people should be kept in mind during the discussion of GMO foods where Monsanto and Syngenta are prime movers.
The book was informative, however, I would check out a copy at the library instead of buying.
11 of 43 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Toxic Deception book simply deceptive April 24 2000
By "kn_56" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The enthusiasm of your reviewers for Toxic Deception is unwarranted.This volume is far from a reliable guide to the science and politics of environmental health risks. Let one example suffice. Research from Science (7 June,1996) is characterized by the authors in the following manner; "A recent study of the effects of ... pesticides on estrogen-sensitive cells in test tubes, for example, found that the pesticides were 1,000 times more potent in combination than individually."
The research in question was formally retracted by its authors in Science, on 25 July 1997. The episode was widely discussed and led to an ethics investigation by Tulane University. Toxic Deception was published in 1999. That news of this development took two years to reach the authors stretches plausibility. Moreover, the same environmental foundation (W. Alton Jones) which funded the retracted study likewise supported the publication of Toxic Deception.

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