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Naomi Oreskes,Erik M.Conway

Merchants of Doubt

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The U.S. scientific community has long led the world in research on such areas as public health, environmental science, and issues affecting quality of life. These scientists have produced landmark studies on the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming. But at the same time, a small yet potent subset of this community leads the world in vehement denial of these dangers.
Merchants of Doubt tells the story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. Remarkably, the same individuals surface repeatedly-some of the same figures who have claimed that the science of global warming is "not settled" denied the truth of studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole. «Doubt is our product," wrote one tobacco executive. These “experts” supplied it.
Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, historians of science, roll back the rug on this dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how ideology and corporate interests, aided by a too-compliant media, have skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era.
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    Alberto Galvancompartió una citahace 10 meses
    The game here, as before, was to defend an extreme free market ideology. But in this case, they didn’t just deny the facts of science. They denied the facts of history.
    Alberto Galvancompartió una citahace 10 meses
    And what about cancer? A few years ago, medical researchers realized that there was a shocking flaw in previous studies that investigated DDT exposure and breast cancer. Most of them were done after DDT use was already on the decline, or even after the ban, so the women being studied had probably been exposed only to low levels (if at all), and exposed later in life when the body is less vulnerable. To really know whether or not DDT had an effect, you’d need to study women who’d been exposed to DDT early in life, at a time when environmental exposures were high.

    In a remarkable piece of medical detective work, Dr. Barbara A. Cohn and her colleagues identified women who had been part of medical study of pregnant women in the 1960s, and therefore might have been exposed as children or teenagers when DDT use was widespread in the 1940s and ’50s. These women had given blood samples at the time, samples that could now be reanalyzed for DDT and its metabolites. In 2000–2001, they measured DDT-related compounds in these samples and compared them with breast cancer rates. The average age at the time of the original study was twenty-six; these women were now in their fifties and sixties—an age by which breast cancer might reasonably be expected to appear. The results showed a fivefold increase in breast cancer risk among women with high levels of serum DDT or its metabolites.59 DDT does cause cancer, it does affect human health, and it does cost human lives. Rachel Carson was not wrong.
    Alberto Galvancompartió una citahace 10 meses
    If DDT’s defenders have exaggerated its benefits, have its detractors exaggerated the harms? If DDT rarely harms people and sometimes helps, why not reintroduce it? Isn’t Bjørn Lomborg right at least that DDT saved more lives than it cost?

    The argument is a red herring. DDT was not banned on the basis of harm to humans; it was banned on the basis of harms to the environment.

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