‘Rented white coats’ – scientists in the pay of vested interests – are defending toxic chemicals with horrific consequences for the workers these substances make ill.
A ‘Science for sale’ investigation by the Washington DC based Center for Public Integrity (CPI) found industry-backed research has exploded “as government-funded science dwindles. Its effects are felt not only in courtrooms but also in regulatory agencies that issue rules to try to prevent disease.”
CPI found substances like asbestos, arsenic and lead, whose deadly properties seem incontrovertible, have become subjects of ceaseless debate. It discovered corporations intent on obscuring damning evidence are steering millions of dollars to scientific consulting firms including Gradient, Chemrisk and Environ, group often employing scientists with links to prestigious institutions like Harvard.
It concludes this ‘tainted science’ is “used to fend off, or lessen the sting of, lawsuits filed on behalf of sick people.” It also stalls regulatory processes “and made it harder for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect workers. It creates doubt where little or none existed.”
The CPI investigation cautions that science on everything from air pollution, to asbestos risks to toxic chemicals like BPA, styrene and n-propyl bromide has been influenced by often ‘ridiculous’ industry-financed studies. But in casting doubt over the impartial science, people dying of related diseases are denied compensation and efforts to better control chemicals at work and in the wider environment are stalled or blocked entirely.