Friday, September 24, 2010

New book attacks the chemical industry as "The Polluters"

A new book by Benjamin Ross and Steven Amter apparently pulls no punches in attacking the chemical industry for lobbying to inhibit regulations of toxic substances.  I have not read this book, so for more information please see the Washington Post book review by Seth Shulman.  The title is "The Polluters: The Making of Our Chemically Altered Environment" and is available at

Based on the review, it appears to be reminiscent of two other recent books, "Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens your Health" (by David Michaels), and "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming" by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway.  Both borrow the famous phrase from a former tobacco executive for their titles, and both accuse various industry's trade associations and individual companies of hiding the truth to protect corporate profits.

The Shulman review includes the following regarding the industry's lobbying role:
Some parts of the story are wrenchingly familiar. Just as tobacco executives twisted the science and strove to manufacture uncertainty about the dangers of their products even when fully aware of them, so did the chemical industry undertake a similar campaign through its main lobbying arm, the Manufacturing Chemists Association (now the Chemical Manufacturers Association).
It's unclear whether Mr. Shulman wrote that or if it is extracted from the book, but the Chemical Manufacturers Association is no longer in existence, at least by that name, as it has been called the American Chemistry Council for the last 10 years.  Hopefully the rest of the book is more up to date.

In any case, the book's authors are scheduled to appear at the National Book Festival being held on the Smithsonian Mall on Saturday, September 25th.

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