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Science History Podcast

Nov 11, 2020

How is it that corporations routinely and successfully obfuscate science and seed public doubt on issues of paramount importance, ranging from climate change to health effects of tobacco and pesticides? Who are the scientists for hire whose job is to muddy the waters on important policy issues? Why doesn’t our government protect us from nefarious corporations that threaten our health and the environment, and how can we change regulatory ethics to favor the public interest?

With us to answer these questions is my guest, David Michaels. David is a professor of epidemiology in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at George Washington University. From 1998 through 2001, David served as the Assistant Secretary for Environment, Safety and Health at the U.S. Department of Energy, with responsibility for the safety of workers, communities and the environment surrounding nuclear weapons facilities. From 2009 to 2017, David served as the 12th Assistant Secretary of OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He is the longest serving leader of OSHA in its history.

David is the author of numerous articles, as well as the books Doubt is their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens your Health (2008), and The Triumph of Doubt – Dark Money and the Science of Deception (2020), both published by Oxford University Press.