California/Milbank Books on Health and the Public

Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution, With a New Epilogue

January 22, 2013 | Gerald Markowitz, David Rosner, Co-published with and distributed by the University of California Press

Deceit and Denial details the attempts by the chemical and lead industries to deceive Americans about the dangers that their deadly products present to workers, the public, and consumers. Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner pursued evidence steadily and relentlessly, interviewed the important players, investigated untapped sources, and uncovered a bruising story of cynical and cruel disregard for health and human rights. This resulting exposé is full of startling revelations, provocative arguments, and disturbing conclusions—all based on remarkable research and information gleaned from secret industry documents.

This book reveals for the first time the public relations campaign that the lead industry undertook to convince Americans to use its deadly product to paint walls, toys, furniture, and other objects in America’s homes, despite a wealth of information that children were at risk for serious brain damage and death from ingesting this poison. This book highlights the immediate dangers ordinary citizens face because of the relentless failure of industrial polluters to warn, inform, and protect their workers and neighbors. It offers a historical analysis of how corporate control over scientific research has undermined the process of proving the links between toxic chemicals and disease. The authors also describe the wisdom, courage, and determination of workers and community members who continue to voice their concerns in spite of vicious opposition. Readable, ground-breaking, and revelatory, Deceit and Denial provides crucial answers to questions of dangerous environmental degradation, escalating corporate greed, and governmental disregard for its citizens’ safety and health.

After eleven years, Markowitz and Rosner update their work with a new epilogue that outlines the attempts these industries have made to undermine and create doubt about the accuracy of the information in this book.


“an important work…a wonderful depiction of the difficulty of combating a well-funded corporate culture.”Brian Black, Enterprise & Society

“This ably written book makes a strong case for a precautionary approach toward the regulation of toxic hazards.”—The Lancet

446 pages
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