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Bending Science

How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research

by Thomas O. McGarity and Wendy Wagner

What do we know about the possible poisons that industrial technologies leave in our air and water? How reliable is the science that federal regulators and legislators use to protect the public from dangerous products?  

 

Drawing together a host of little-known but dramatic cases, Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research, by CPR Member Scholars Thomas O. McGarity and Wendy Wagner, comprehensively documents what has been suspected for years:  how extensively scientific data are misused and abused in regulatory and tort law. Sound science is critical to the public policy process, particularly where health and safety issues are concerned. But as Professors McGarity and Wagner show, many interest groups do all they can to influence and undermine independent and honest research, in an effort to bend science to their ideological will.

The perpetrators of the attacks on science include corporations, plaintiff attorneys, think tanks, and even government agencies.  The book describes the range of sophisticated legal and financial tactics political and corporate advocates use to discredit or suppress research on potential human health hazards.  Scientists have had their research blocked and found themselves threatened with financial ruin. 

Bending Science shows just how far science has been corrupted, and offers a road to reform.

  • Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research, by CPR Member Scholars and University of Texas Law Professors Thomas O. McGarity and Wendy Wagner, published by Harvard University Press May 2008, is available on Amazon.com or from Harvard University Press.

  • Read an excerpt from the book at the website of Harvard University Press.

  • Read a recent Dallas Morning news op-ed article by author Thomas O. McGarity, in which he says that  revelations about ghost-written Vioxx research are a warning about the dangers of "tort reform."

 


 

Thanks to extraordinary detective work into both law and science, Bending Science makes a compelling case that the system of policy-relevant science has gone badly off the tracks, and that law is both part of the problem and the solution. Powerful but not polemical, McGarity and Wagner show groups of all political stripes, and the government itself, have misrepresented and manipulated science.

Lisa Heinzerling, co-author of Priceless: On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing.

 

Drawing together a host of little-known but dramatic cases, this landmark book documents more comprehensively than any previous study, what has been suspected for years: how extensively scientific data are misused and abused in regulatory and tort law. Society depends on science to guide public policy on health and safety, but as McGarity and Wagner show, many interest groups do all they can to influence --and undermine-- independent and honest research. Bending Science shows just how far science has been corrupted, and offers a road to reform.

Carl F. Cranor, author of Toxic Torts: Science, Law, and the Possibility of Justice.

 

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