Academics sticking their heads above the parapet and raising health concerns about work hazards have always risked a career wrecking run-in with the mighty US business lobby. But in a new twist, it is not just the whistleblowers that should be fearful. The Chronicle of Higher Education has revealed a case where chemical companies are also going after the peer reviewers of critical academic publications. Lawyers representing more than 20 chemical companies, including many household names, have taken the unusual step of issuing subpoenas to five peer reviewers of a scholarly book as part of litigation over the alleged health risks of vinyl chloride, a widely used cancer-causing industrial chemical. At issue in the subpoenas to the publishers and reviewers is the book Deceit and denial: The deadly politics of industrial pollution, which was published in 2002 by the University of California Press and the Milbank Memorial Fund, a foundation dedicated to research on health policy.
Deceit and denial website. Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner, Deceit and denial, the deadly politics of industrial pollution, University of California Press, 2002. ISBN13: 9780520240636 (also see updated 2013 epilogue).