January 30, 2005
Cancer, chemicals and history
Interesting article in The Nation about chemical companies attacking Rosner and Markowitz' book, Deceit and Denial about the chemical industry covering up knowledge of carcinogenic products.
Posted by robe0419 at January 30, 2005 12:05 AM
Not unlike the recent National Guard memo scandal involving CBS news, this appears to be an attempt to smear the messenger without denying the validity of the message. It's really brilliant PR because it deftly goes beyond simply refuting accusations (always a tiresome activity when the accusations are true) - it changes the subject entirely. Of course, it is unfortunate that this may cause publishers to be more cautious about any manuscripts that accuse anyone of anything.
While I am no fan of chemical industry ethics, I think it's instructive to note that cause-and-effect relationships between particular chemicals and cancer are notoriously difficult to quantify. We've all heard stories about people who get cancer and blame the harsh chemical they may have used years ago. It's tempting to believe their own diagnoses, and many of these unfortunate folks may be correct in assigning blame. But it's usually impossible to prove and a number of confounding factors usually muddies the waters such that even the bravest scientists are unwilling to make definitive conclusions except in the most egregious and obvious cases.