Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pg. 99: McGarity & Wagner's "Bending Science"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research by Thomas O. McGarity & Wendy E. Wagner.

About the book, from the publisher:
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? As this disturbing book shows, ideological or economic attacks on research are part of an extensive pattern of abuse.

Thomas O. McGarity and Wendy Wagner reveal the range of sophisticated legal and financial tactics political and corporate advocates use to discredit or suppress research on potential human health hazards. Scientists can find their research blocked, or find themselves threatened with financial ruin. Corporations, plaintiff attorneys, think tanks, even government agencies have been caught suppressing or distorting research on the safety of chemical products.

With alarming stories drawn from the public record, McGarity and Wagner describe how advocates attempt to bend science or “spin” findings. They reveal an immense range of tools available to shrewd partisans determined to manipulate research.

Bending Science exposes an astonishing pattern of corruption and makes a compelling case for reforms to safeguard both the integrity of science and the public health.
Among the early praise for Bending Science:
"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

"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
Read an excerpt from Bending Science, and learn more about the book and its authors at the Harvard University Press website and the University of Texas School of Law website.

Thomas O. McGarity & Wendy E. Wagner are professors at The University of Texas School of Law.

The Page 99 Test: Bending Science.

--Marshal Zeringue