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Reviews on Environmental Health

Editor-in-Chief: Carpenter, David O. / Sly, Peter

Editorial Board: Brugge, Doug / Edwards, John W. / Field, R.William / Garbisu, Carlos / Hales, Simon / Horowitz, Michal / Lawrence, Roderick / Maibach, H.I. / Shaw, Susan / Tao, Shu / Tchounwou, Paul B.


IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 1.616

CiteScore 2018: 1.69

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.508
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.664

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2191-0308
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Distract, delay, disrupt: examples of manufactured doubt from five industries

Rebecca F. Goldberg
  • Graduate program in Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA
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/ Laura N. Vandenberg
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts – Amherst, 171C Goessmann, 686 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
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  • Other articles by this author:
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Published Online: 2019-07-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2019-0004

Abstract

Manufactured doubt describes the efforts used by organizations or individuals to obscure the harmful effects of their products or actions by manipulating science. Although approaches to do so are widely used, relevant stakeholders are often unaware of these tactics. Here, we examine the strategies used in five cases of manufactured doubt: tobacco and adverse health; coal and black lung; Syngenta and the herbicide atrazine; the sugar industry and cardiovascular disease; and the Marshall Institute and climate change. By describing the tactics used in these cases, effective methods for identifying and countering instances of manufactured doubt can be generated.

Keywords: dietary fat; endocrine disruptor; ghostwriting; global warming; public relations; true doubt principle; uncertainty

References

About the article

Corresponding author: Laura N. Vandenberg, PhD, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts – Amherst, 171C Goessmann, 686 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003, USA, Phone: +413-477-7405


Received: 2019-01-18

Accepted: 2019-05-18

Published Online: 2019-07-04


Funding Source: National Institutes of Health Sciences

Award identifier / Grant number: K22ES025811

Award identifier / Grant number: U01ES026140

This work was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health Sciences, Funder Id: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000066, grants K22ES025811 and U01ES026140 (to LNV).


Conflict of interest: LNV has received grants from the National Institutes of Health and funding from the Cornell Douglas foundation and Paul G. Allen Foundation. She has been reimbursed for travel expenses by numerous organizations including SweTox, Israel Environment Fund, the Mexican Endocrine Society, Advancing Green Chemistry, ShiftCon, US EPA, CropLife America, BeautyCounter and many universities, to speak about endocrine disrupting chemicals. In 2012, she received payment as an expert witness in a case about a commercial plastic with suspected endocrine disrupting properties. RFG has no conflicts to disclose.

Informed consent: Not applicable.

Ethical approval: Not applicable.


Citation Information: Reviews on Environmental Health, 20190004, ISSN (Online) 2191-0308, ISSN (Print) 0048-7554, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2019-0004.

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