Reviews of Doubt is Their Product

Doubt is Their Product

Carl F. Cranor, Science:
"Ever wonder why it has been so slow and difficult to reduce the health risks from tobacco, secondhand smoke, lead, beryllium, or chromium? David Michaels’s excellent Doubt Is Their Product provides part of the explanation, showing numerous ways in which “the product defense industry” uses scientific (and pseudoscientific) arguments to undermine public health protections, corrupt the scientific record, and mislead the public."

Dick Taverne, Nature:
"David Michaels has written a powerful, thorough indictment of the way big business has ignored, suppressed or distorted vital scientific evidence to the detriment of the public’s health. Doubt Is Their Product catalogues numerous corporate misdemeanours, especially in the United States, from the criminal neglect of the dangerous nature of asbestos and the lies told by the tobacco industry, to the suppression of adverse findings of deaths caused by the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx and the increased risk of suicide among teenagers taking selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors for depression. The book concludes with a list of prescriptions for securing better regulation and greater protection for the public, mainly through increased public disclosure of vested interests."

Steven G. Gilbert, Environmental Health Perspectives
"Doubt Is Their Product is a powerful argument for the need to reinforce our ethical responsibilities to protect human and environmental health even when it requires regulation and increased costs. After all, it would seem only fair for those who profit to acknowledge and be accountable for the true costs of their products."

Merrill Goozner, New Scientist:
"As David Michaels persuasively argues in Doubt Is Their Product, the tobacco industry’s anti-antismoking campaign has become the template that every company can turn to when its bottom line is threatened by health, safety and environmental laws."

Sharon Begley, Newsweek:
"That science can be bought is hardly news to anyone who knows about tobacco 'scientists.' But how pervasive, effective and stealthy this science-for-hire is -- as masterfully documented by David Michaels of George Washington University in his new book, 'Doubt is Their Product: how Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health' -- will shock anyone who still believes that 'science' and 'integrity' are soulmates."

Britt E. Erickson, Chemical & Engineering News:
"The book is a shocking portrayal of the tactics used by corporate America to delay public health and environmental regulation of their products for the sake of profit. Although a bit overwhelming at times, it is a must-read for anyone interested in public health and environmental protection."

Ross Mullner, Library Journal:
"Despite the overwhelming evidence that tobacco use causes lung cancer and other forms of the disease, the American tobacco industry vigorously denied for decades any cancer link, hiding the facts and attempting to discredit the growing body of medical and scientific evidence. Michaels, a scientist and former government regulator, identifies many other harmful industries in the nation that are using similar tactics. He points to the chrome-plating, lead, and rubber industries, which in many instances knowingly expose workers to toxic substances and produce harmful products. These businesses, like the tobacco industry, continue to deny and attack the findings that show their harm. They label such findings as "junk science," and they hire product-defense consultants to shape and skew the scientific literature, create uncertainty, and influence policy decisions in their favor. To protect against such tactics, Michaels discusses a number of ways to strengthen the nation's court system and regulatory agencies. This insightful, well-written, and well-researched book is an essential read for anyone interested in occupational health and safety and public health."

Scott Schneider, Lifelines Online:
"Doubt is Their Product is a well-written book, a page turner, that offers a crystal clear glimpse at our ailing regulatory system and how it could be fixed. Doing so will take new political will, driven by electoral change in November. Read this book, get angry and get active."

Daniel Engber, Slate:
"According to former Assistant Secretary of Energy David Michaels, whose startling new book, Doubt Is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health, comes out this week, manufacturers routinely hire 'product defense' firms to challenge scientific findings and stave off government regulation. Scientific consultants are brought in to dust off and reanalyze data sets, group and regroup subject pools, and dream up confounding variables—all so that a given study can be discredited as inconclusive or, worse, labeled as 'junk science.'"

Chris Mooney, The American Prospect:
"With his extensive chronicling of just how many times the manufacturing-uncertainty strategy has been used to make our world more dangerous, Michaels has performed a great service. Moreover, because he's a scientist himself and has seen these abuses up close in government, he can go much further than muckraking journalists who have often sought to expose this kind of malfeasance."

Arthur Allen, The Washington Independent:
"In his riveting new book, “Doubt Is Their Product,” George Washington University epidemiologist David Michaels details how Big Tobacco originated the cottage industry of doubt in the 1950s. Many of the same scientists and public relations firms worked first to defend tobacco before moving on to chromium, asbestos and other toxic substances. They did so not by denying harm, but by raising questions about its extent."

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