----- Original Message -----
From: Sandra Finley
To: sabest1@sasktel.net
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 8:50 AM
Subject: Scientists Identify Corporate Structure as Bad for Public Health de

Many thanks to Paule for item #1.

(2)  SYNOPSIS OF THE MOVIE, "THE CORPORATION"  (This movie has contributed
to people's willingness to challenge the role of the corporation in


Egilman, David and Susanna Rankin Bohme; Corporate Corruption of
Science; International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
special issue; Volume II, Number 4; October - December 2005

Scientists Identify Corporate Structure as Bad for Public Health
November 15, 2004

Corporate power is a major cause of health problems, according to the
October/December 2005 special issue of the International Journal of
Occupational and Environmental Health. Contributions to the issue reveal how
corporate structure results in pressure to influence science and place the
public at risk from pesticides, lead, asbestos, toxic municipal sewage
sludge, and other harmful substances.

"Occupational and environmental health diseases are in fact an outcome of a
pervasive system of corporate priority setting, decision making, and
influence," state guest editors David Egilman and Susanna Rankin Bohme.
"This system produces disease because political, economic, regulatory, and
ideological norms prioritize values of wealth and profit over human health
and environmental well-being."

Skip Spitzer, Program Coordinator at PAN North America and a contributing
author to the journal notes that, "In market economies, private corporations
play such a decisive role in the economic sphere that they are often able to
secure more rights than people. Corporations deeply influence politics, law,
media, public relations, science, research, education and other
institutions. It's no surprise that corporate self interest routinely
supersedes social and environmental welfare."
In his article "A Systemic Approach to Occupational and Environmental
Health", Spitzer describes how corporations are part of a "structure of
harm", meaning that the very way in which corporations are structured
produces social and environmental problems and undermines reform. The
pressure to compete in the marketplace and create demand for their products
creates incentives for corporations to shape the political system, the mass
media, and science for commercial ends. Corporations use this power to avoid
taking responsibility for the larger environmental and social impacts of
their actions (or "externalities"), including the public health impacts of
developing dangerous new technologies. Spitzer quotes Reagan administration
economist Robert Monks describing the corporation as "an externalizing
machine, the same way that a shark is a killing machine - no
malevolence...just something designed with sublime efficiency for
self-preservation, which it accomplishes without any capacity to factor in
the consequences to others."

This "structure of harm" creates incentives for corporations to seek
political influence over institutions designed to protect and serve the
public good. Corporations often use this power to influence scientific
debates so as to avoid regulation and litigation. "Science is a key part of
this system," note Egilman and Bohme, "there is a substantial tradition of
manipulation of evidence, data, and analysis ultimately designed to maintain
favorable conditions for industry at both material and ideological levels."
Independent scientists whose findings counter corporate interests often face
pitched battles to obtain funding, publish their research, and gain academic

The corporate "structure of harm" undermines health protections not only
domestically, but also by influencing the international agreements and
treaties that shape the global economy. In her article "Who's Afraid of
National Laws?", Erika Rosenthal, a frequent consultant to PAN in North,
Central and South America, identifies how pesticide corporations are using
trade agreements to block proposed bans on pesticides identified as the
worst occupational health hazards in Central America. Through privileged
access to closed-door negotiations, agrichemical corporations inserted
deregulatory mechanisms into the draft Central American Customs Union and
the Central American Free Trade Agreement. These agreements undermine
health-based national pesticide registration requirements, weaken health
ministries' role in pesticide control, block marketing of cheaper and less
toxic pesticides, and have a chilling effect on future pesticide regulation.
Rosenthal argues that as long as corporations have privileged access to
trade negotiations and civil society is excluded, the resulting agreements
will benefit special interests at the expense of public health.

The editors conclude that corporate corruption of science is widespread and
touches many aspects of our lives, as indicated by the range of articles in
the issue. In "Genetic Engineering in Agriculture and Corporate Engineering
in Public Debate", Rajeev Patel, Robert Torres, and Peter Rosset analyze
Monsanto's efforts to convince the public of the safety of genetically
modified crops. Other articles describe how industry pressure on government
agencies such as EPA have influenced cancer research and resulted in
approving toxic municipal sewage sludge as crop fertilizer.

Corporate corruption of science represents a real threat to the health and
well-being of people and to the environment the world over. "The negative
social impacts of corporate structures deserve a concerted response on the
part of conscientious public health researchers," note Egilman and Bohme.
Spitzer sees this analysis as a call for researchers to join movements
working for fundamental change of corporate structure and power. "We need to
build bigger, more integrated social movements with the popular wherewithal
to make deep change," he states. "This means combining multiple issues,
connecting local work nationally and internationally, and building long-term
change goals into action for more immediate change."

Source: International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health,


(2)  SYNOPSIS OF THE MOVIE, "THE CORPORATION"  (This movie has contributed
to people's willingness to challenge the role of the corporation in

In THE CORPORATION, case studies, anecdotes and true confessions reveal
behind-the-scenes tensions and influences in several corporate and
anti-corporate dramas. Each illuminates an aspect of the corporation's
complex character.

Among the 40 interview subjects are CEOs and top-level executives from a
range of industries: oil, pharmaceutical, computer, tire, manufacturing,
public relations, branding, advertising and undercover marketing; in
addition, a Nobel-prize winning economist, the first management guru, a
corporate spy, and a range of academics, critics, historians and thinkers
are interviewed.

In the mid-1800s the corporation emerged as a legal "person." Imbued with a
"personality" of pure self-interest, the next 100 years saw the
corporation's rise to dominance. The corporation created unprecedented
wealth. But at what cost? The remorseless rationale of "externalities"-as
Milton Friedman explains: the unintended consequences of a transaction
between two parties on a third-is responsible for countless cases of
illness, death, poverty, pollution, exploitation and lies.

To more precisely assess the "personality" of the corporate "person," a
checklist is employed, using actual diagnostic criteria of the World Health
Organization and the DSM-IV, the standard diagnostic tool of psychiatrists
and psychologists. The operational principles of the corporation give it a
highly anti-social "personality": It is self-interested, inherently amoral,
callous and deceitful; it breaches social and legal standards to get its
way; it does not suffer from guilt, yet it can mimic the human qualities of
empathy, caring and altruism. Four case studies, drawn from a universe of
corporate activity, clearly demonstrate harm to workers, human health,
animals and the biosphere. Concluding this point-by-point analysis, a
disturbing diagnosis is delivered: the institutional embodiment of
laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a

But what is the ethical mindset of corporate players? Should the institution
or the individuals within it be held responsible?

The people who work for corporations may be good people, upstanding citizens
in their communities - but none of that matters when they enter the
corporation's world. As Sam Gibara, Former CEO and Chairman of Goodyear
Tire, explains, "If you really had a free hand, if you really did what you
wanted to do that suited your personal thoughts and your personal
priorities, you'd act differently."

Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface, the world's largest commercial carpet
manufacturer, had an environmental epiphany and re-organized his $1.4
billion company on sustainable principles. His company may be a beacon of
corporate hope, but is it an exception to the rule?

A case in point: Sir Mark Moody-Stuart recounts an exchange between himself
(at the time Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell), his wife, and a motley crew of
Earth First activists who arrived on the doorstep of their country home. The
protesters chanted and stretched a banner over their roof that read,
"MURDERERS." The response of the surprised couple was not to call the
police, but to engage their uninvited guests in a civil dialogue, share
concerns about human rights and the environment and eventually serve them
tea on their front lawn. Yet, as the Moody-Stuarts apologize for not being
able to provide soy milk for their vegan critics' tea, Shell Nigeria is
flaring unrivaled amounts of gas, making it one of the world's single worst
sources of pollution. And all the professed concerns about the environment
do not spare Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other activists from being hanged for
opposing Shell's environmental practices in the Niger Delta.

The Corporation exists to create wealth, and even world disasters can be
profit centers. Carlton Brown, a commodities trader, recounts with unabashed
honesty the mindset of gold traders while the twin towers crushed their
occupants. The first thing that came to their minds, he tells us, was: "How
much is gold up?"

You'd think that things like disasters, or the purity of childhood, or even
milk, let alone water or air, would be sacred. But no. Corporations have no
built-in limits on what, who, or how much they can exploit for profit. In
the fifteenth century, the enclosure movement began to put fences around
public grazing lands so that they might be privately owned and exploited.
Today, every molecule on the planet is up for grabs. In a bid to own it all,
corporations are patenting animals, plants, even your DNA.

Around things too precious, vulnerable, sacred or important to the public
interest, governments have, in the past, drawn protective boundaries against
corporate exploitation. Today, governments are inviting corporations into
domains from which they were previously barred.

The Initiative Corporation spends $22 billion worldwide placing its clients'
advertising in every imaginable - and some unimaginable - media. One new
medium: very young children. Their "Nag Factor" study dropped jaws in the
world of child psychiatry. It was designed not to help parents cope with
their children's nagging, but to help corporations formulate their ads and
promotions so that children would nag for their products more effectively.
Initiative Vice President Lucy Hughes elaborates: "You can manipulate
consumers into wanting, and therefore buying your products. It's a game."

Today people can become brands (Martha Stewart). And brands can build cities
(Celebration, Florida). And university students can pay for their educations
by shilling on national television for a credit card company (Chris and
Luke). And a corporation even owns the rights to the popular song "Happy
Birthday" (a division of AOL-Time-Warner). Do you ever get the feeling it's
all a bit much?

Corporations have invested billions to shape public and political opinion.
When they own everything, who will stand for the public good?

It turns out that standing for the public good is an expensive proposition.
Ask Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, two investigative reporters fired by Fox
News after they refused to water down a story on rBGH, a controversial
synthetic hormone widely used in the United States (but banned in Europe and
Canada) to rev up cows' metabolism and boost their milk production. Because
of the increased production, the cows suffer from mastitis, a painful
infection of the udders. Antibiotics must then be injected, which find their
way into the milk, and ultimately reduce people's resistance to disease.

Fox demanded that they rewrite the story, and ultimately fired Akre and
Wilson. Akre and Wilson subsequently sued Fox under Florida's whistle-blower
statute. They proved to a jury that the version of the story Fox would have
had them put on the air was false, distorted or slanted. Akre was awarded
$425,000. Then Fox appealed, the verdict was overturned on a technicality,
and Akre lost her award. [For an update on the case see Disc 2 where we
learn that at one point, Jane and Steve became liable for Fox's $1.8 million
court costs, later to be reduced to $200,000.]

Democracy is a value that the corporation just doesn't understand. In fact,
corporations have often tried to undo democracy if it is an obstacle to
their single-minded drive for profit. From a 1934 business-backed plot to
install a military dictator in the White House (undone by the integrity of
one U.S. Marine Corps General, Smedley Darlington Butler) to present-day
law-drafting, corporations have bought military might, political muscle and
public opinion.

And corporations do not hesitate to take advantage of democracy's absence
either. One of the most shocking stories of the twentieth century is Edwin
Black's recounting IBM's strategic alliance with Nazi Germany-one that began
in 1933 in the first weeks that Hitler came to power and continued well into
World War II.

The corporation may be trying to render governments impotent, but since the
landmark WTO protest in Seattle, a rising wave of networked individuals and
groups have decided to make their voices heard. Movements to challenge the
very foundations of the corporation are afoot: The corporate charter
revocation movement tried to bring down oil giant Unocal; a groundbreaking
ballot initiative in Arcata, California, put the corporate agenda in the
public spotlight in a series of town hall meetings; in Bolivia, the
population fought and won a battle against a huge transnational corporation
brought in by their government to privatize the water system; in India
nearly 99% of the basmati patent of RiceTek was overturned; and W. R. Grace
and the U.S. government's patent on Neem was revoked.

As global individuals take back local power, a growing re-invigoration of
the concept of citizenship is taking root. It has the power to not only
strip the corporation of its seeming omnipotence, but to create a feeling
and an ideology of democracy that is much more than its mere institutional

Along with the groundbreaking 145-minute theatrical version of the film, the
two-disc set has eight hours of never-before-seen footage. All of your
favourite heroes and villains are back. In addition to two commentary
tracks, deleted scenes, Q's and A's, additional languages and descriptive
audio for the visually impaired, 165 never seen before clips and updates are
sorted "by person" AND "by topic." Get the details you want to know on the
issues you care about. Then, check out the web links for follow-up research
and action.





July 21, 2005

By Tim Montague

An ill wind is gusting through the halls of science these days: faked
research, suppression of unwelcome results, corruption of science
advisory panels, university research falling under the influence of
corporate sponsors, and many other conflicts of interest.

It's as if science were under siege.

For at least the last thirty years science has strongly supported the
positions taken by environmental and public health advocates. The
proponents of 'business as usual' have claimed that chemical and
nuclear technologies have created only minor problems or no problems
whatsoever -- but time after time science has shown otherwise. They
said global warming was a "chicken little" fantasy. They said
the Earth's ozone shield couldn't possible be harmed. They argued that
asbestos was benign. They said lead in paint and gasoline was entirely
safe. They said harm from hormone-disrupting chemicals was imaginary.
They said a little radioactivity might actually improve your health.
They said human health was constantly and consistently improving --
until scientific study revealed increases in birth defects, asthma,
diabetes, attention deficits, nervous system disorders, diseases of
the reproductive system, immune system disorders, cancer in children,
and on and on. In each of these cases science showed that the
advocates of 'business as usual' were simply wrong.

Science cannot solve all our problems or tell us everything we need to
know, but it remains a powerful tool for reaching agreement about the
nature of reality (at least for those parts of reality amenable to
scientific inquiry). For the past 30 years, science has shown us
unmistakably that we are destroying the natural systems (and bodily
defences) that we ourselves depend upon, so 'business as usual' is a
dead end.

Perhaps this is why science itself is now under systematic attack by
corporate interests. Whatever the underlying reasons, it seems clear
that industry has lined up to discredit science, control the research
agenda, take over the apparatus for scholarly publication and
otherwise undermine the scientific and democratic pursuit of knowledge
in the public interest. Perhaps they see it as their only hope of
defending themselves against the overwhelming scientific evidence that
-- if accepted by the public -- would end 'business as usual' and set
us on a new precautionary path.

The Los Angeles Times reported July 11 that allegations of faked
scientific findings increased 50% between 2003 and 2004.[1] But the
Times also noted that the federal Office of Research Integrity cannot
keep up with the rising tide of scientific fakery because it's budget
is far too small. The office received 274 allegations of scientific
fakery in 2004, but was able to complete only 23 investigations.

Corporate suppression of data is now so routine that no one raises an
eyebrow. In the wake of an EPA advisory panel classifying the Teflon
chemical C8 (ammonium perfluorooctanoate, or PFOA) as a "likely
carcinogen," reporter Ken Ward Jr. of the Charleston (W.Va.)
Gazette learned that in 1981 DuPont initiated a study to learn whether
exposure to C8 caused birth defects in the children of Teflon factory
workers. When the study found an excess of birth defects in the
children, the study was abandoned and the results filed away without
notifying the federal government. Under the Toxic Substances Control
Act (TSCA) companies must tell the EPA when they find information
"that reasonably supports the conclusion that [a chemical] presents
a substantial risk of injury to health."[2]

Generating Doubt -- OSHA Gives Up

It is common practice for industry to wage scientific and public
relations war against the regulatory agencies whose job is to protect
public health. The Wall Street Journal reports that PR firm executives
openly admit to hiring university professors to put their names on
ghost-written letters to the editor.[3] The letters are written by
hacks paid to put a corporate "spin" on the science, and the
experts sign their names to lend credence to the spin (and to earn a fat

Another common practice these days is "seeding the scientific
literature" with bogus results, to create doubt and confusion. In
recent years, corporations have seeded the literature with false
findings related to tobacco, lead, mercury, asbestos, vinyl chloride,
chromium, nickel, benzene, beryllium and others. They cook the
numbers, publish misleading articles in obscure journals, and then
cite their own work to create confusion and doubt.

This strategy has brought the federal government to its knees. The
case of beryllium is illuminating. Beryllium is a strong, light metal
used in nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors. Beryllium dust is a
potent lung toxicant and carcinogen.

In 1999 the Department of Energy (DOE) set beryllium exposure levels
for federal workers that are ten times as strict as the general
industrial exposure standard set by the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA). The OSHA standard was set based on data
available in 1949.

When OSHA proposed to tighten its safety standard for beryllium
exposure, to bring it into line with the new standard set for federal
workers, industry was able to create enough doubt and confusion that
OSHA backed off and concluded that "more research was needed"
before a tighter standard could be justified.

A writer in Scientific American concludes that "OSHA administrators
have simply recognized that establishing new standards is so time and
labor-intensive, and will inevitably call forth such orchestrated
opposition from industry, that it is not worth expending the agency's
limited resources on the effort."[4] Creating confusion and doubt
pays off.

Science in the Private Interest

Chester Douglass -- chairman of the Department of Oral Health Policy
and Epidemiology at Harvard -- is being investigated for concluding
that there is no relationship between fluoride in drinking water and
bone cancer in children. He himself cites research -- described as the
most rigorous to date -- concluding the opposite. The National
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which funded the
research with a $1.3 million dollar grant, and Harvard are
investigating. Why would a public health expert skew his results? Does
it matter that Dr. Douglass is the editor of The Colgate Oral Health
Report, a quarterly newsletter published by Colgate-Palmolive, which
makes fluoridated toothpaste?[5] Professor Sheldon Krimsky, author of
Science in the Private Interest, warns that science in the public
interest will increasingly lose out as the entire system favors a
tight collaboration between industry, government and academia.[6]

Academic scientists are under increasing pressure to find commercial
applications for their research so that their institution can patent,
license and profit from the work. Corporate partnerships and lucrative
consulting deals inject big money into the equation. In 1996, Sheldon
Krimsky analyzed the biomedical literature and found in 34% of the
articles, at least one of the chief authors had a financial interest
in the research. None of these financial interests was disclosed in
the journals. Krimsky said the 34% figure was probably an
underestimate because he couldn't check stock ownership or corporate
consulting fees paid to researchers.[7] No wonder allegations of
misconduct by U.S. scientists are at an all time high. [1] A recent
survey of several thousand scientists found that 33% had committed at
least one of ten serious misbehaviors -- like falsifying data or
changing conclusions in response to pressure from a funding source.
Six percent admitted to failing to present data that contradicted
their own previous research.[8]

FDA, NIH Broken

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) are now so thoroughly beholden to industry that
they are broken, unable to perform their duties to protect the public.
The New York Times reports "the White House and Congress forced a
marriage between the agency [FDA] and industry years ago for the rich
dowry that industry offered." Dr. Janet Woodcock, deputy
commissioner of operations at the FDA said that the drug approval process is
"pretty much broken down... and has been for some time."[9] The
FDA has become so focused on approving new drugs at the expense of
monitoring the ones already on the market that thousands of people
have been put in harm's way by drugs like Vioxx. One FDA analyst
estimated that Vioxx caused between 88,000 and 139,000 heart attacks
-- killing somewhere between 26,400 and 55,600 people (assuming 30 to
40 percent of heart attacks were fatal).[4, 10]

An investigation into drug company ties with NIH scientists found that
more than half of those investigated had violated existing policies
meant to limit conflict of interest. Director of the NIH Elias
Zerhouni said, "We discovered cases of employees who consulted with
research entities without seeking required approval, consulted in
areas that appeared to conflict with their official duties, or
consulted in situations where the main benefit was the ability of the
employer to invoke the name of NIH as an affiliation." To his
credit, Zerhouni ushered in reforms banning NIH employees from accepting
company consulting fees or stock. But congress is now pressuring him
to relent because NIH employees have objected to the restrictions.[11]

To their credit, many courageous government scientists are now
speaking out about the corruption of science and there have been a
number of high profile firings and resignations ranging from the Fish
and Wildlife Service to NASA where scientists are blowing the whistle
on government abuses of solid science.[12]

Some 6,000 scientists including 48 Nobel laureates, 62 National Medal
of Science recipients, and 135 members of the National Academy of
Sciences have signed the Union of Concerned Scientists' (UCS)
statement, "Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policy Making."
The Bush government is certainly not the first to abuse science, but they
have raised the stakes and injected ideology like no previous
administration. The result is scientific advisory panels stacked with
industry hacks, agencies ignoring credible panel recommendations and
concerted efforts to undermine basic environmental and conservation
biology science.[12]

In the words of the UCS, "The actions by the Bush administration
threaten to undermine the morale and compromise the integrity of
scientists working for and advising America's world-class governmental
research institutions and agencies... To do so carries serious
implications for the health, safety, and environment of all

We have merely scratched the surface here. The corruption of the
scientific enterprise has proceeded very far. In some areas of
scientific endeavor, there are almost no independent researchers left
because nearly every scientist in the field is funded by corporations
with an axe to grind.

Agricultural biotechnology (genetically engineered food) is one such
field of inquiry. The flip side of that coin is that certain avenues
of research have been nearly eliminated by the funding sources -- for
example, researchers say funds to study the health effects of biotech
foods are now almost non- existent. [13]

What does this all mean for science and society? The public's
trust in science will most certainly continue to erode. When this happens,
even honest science is tarnished and loses its power to protect nature
and public health because the public doesn't believe it. Honest
science in the public interest is becoming an endangered species. And
America slides further from democracy by and for the people.


[1] Martha Mendoza, "Allegations of Fake Research Hit New
High," THE
LOS ANGELES TIMES, July 11, 2005.

[2] Ken Ward Jr., "DuPont Proposed, Dropped '81 Study of C8, Birth
Defects," THE CHARLESTON GAZETTE, July 10, 2005.

[3] Michael Schroeder, "Some Professors Take Payments To Express
Views," THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, December 10, 2004, pg. B1.

[4] David Michaels, "Doubt Is Their Product, Industry groups are
fighting government regulation by fomenting scientific
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN (June 2005) Vol. 29 No. 6, pg. 96, 6p.

[5] Juliet Eilperin, "Fluoride-Cancer Link May Have Been
Hidden," THE
WASHINGTON POST, July 14, 2005.

2003). ISBN 074251479X.

[7] Sheldon Krimsky and L.S. Rothenberg, "Conflict of Interest
Policies in Science and Medical Journals: Editorial Practices and
Author Disclosures," SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING ETHICS (2001) Vol. 7,
pgs. 205-218.

[8] Meredith Wadman, "One in Three Scientists Confesses to Having
Sinned," NATURE (June 9, 2005) Vol. 435, pgs.718-719.

[9] Gardiner Harris, "Drug Safety System Is Broken, a Top F.D.A.
Official Says," THE NEW YORK TIMES, June 9, 2005.

[10] The World Health Organization estimates that 39% of all heart
RISK: report of a WHO meeting, (World Health Organization, Geneva,
9-12 July 2002).

[11] David Willman, "NIH Inquiry Shows Widespread Ethical Lapses,
Lawmaker Says," THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, July 14, 2005.

Concerned Scientists, February 2004). And SEE SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY IN
Concerned Scientists, July 2004), both available at:


[13] "Monsanto research causes concern about biotech corn,"
Canadian Press June 23, 2005.


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