Congressional Member’s Report Card

Congressional Member’s Report Card

Doubting Science. Why?



  • Business Interests Deceive, Misinform, and Buy Influence at the Expense of Public Health and Safety. Independent science don’t always shine a favorable light on corporate products and practices. In response, some corporations manipulate science and scientists to distort the truth about the dangers of their products, using a set of tactics made famous decades ago by the tobacco industry.These tactics are called the Disinformation Playbook.
  • Five (FBDSF) of the most widely used “plays” where they have been used to block regulations or minimize corporate liability, often with frightening effectiveness and disastrous repercussions on public health and safety. 1. FAKE: Conduct counterfeit science and try to pass it off as legitimate research. 2. BLITZ: Harass scientists who speak out with results or views inconvenient for industry. 3. DIVERSION: Manufacture uncertainty about science where little or none exists. 4. SCREEN: Buy credibility through alliances with academia or professional societies. 5. FIX: Manipulate government officials or processes to inappropriately influence policy.
  • For decades, some members of the fossil fuel industry tried to convince the public that a causative link between fossil fuel use and climate warming could not be made because the models used to project warming were too uncertain. Supran et al. show that one of those fossil fuel companies, ExxonMobil, had their own internal models that projected warming trajectories consistent with those forecast by the independent academic and government models. What they understood about climate models thus contradicted what they led the public to believe.
  • Syngenta’s own studies (1994) show that, if you give rats atrazine, there is an increase in breast cancer and mammary cancer . The mechanism for prostate and breast cancer is the following. Adrenal cells normalize aromatase and estrogen production to one, but if you give these human cells atrazine they express aromatase and start making estrogen. Like we have shown in fish and amphibians —and just like they’ve shown in

    reptiles, just like they’ve shown in rats— lo and behold, human cells respond the same way.

  • While it’s certainly reasonable for industry to participate as a stakeholder in policy decisions, transparency and public vigilance are needed to keep companies from using their deep pockets and powerful networks to promote policies that undermine scientific evidence and threaten public health and safety.