Tuesday, February 08, 2005


"Baggett had sued thirty companies and the Chemical Manufacturers Association (now called the American Chemistry Council) for conspiracy, arguing that they had concealed evidence of disease and death related to vinyl chloride. He had received hundreds of thousands of documents in response to his discovery motions. Apparently the chemical companies had flooded him with material in the belief that he would be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity, and that as a result nothing would happen.

The question about the chemical companies and the health risks of vinyl chloride is the classic one: What did they know, and when did they know it? Rosner and Markowitz used the Baggett materials to show that in 1973 the industry learned that vinyl chloride monomer caused cancer in animals--even at low levels of exposure. Since vinyl chloride was the basis for hairspray, Saran Wrap, car upholstery, shower curtains, floor coverings and hundreds of other consumer products, the implications for public health were massive. Yet the companies failed to disclose that information about cancer to the public and to the federal regulatory agencies."

Cancer, Chemicals and History
by Jon Wiener

via Don Weiss

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