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The Inside Story

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The Inside Story


If you listen to the chemical industry's public relations campaigns, you'd think that all of its products are perfectly safe -- and that environmental and public health advocates who criticize those products are biased, misguided, or even self-serving.

The industry's own documents tell a different story.

For decades, the chemical industry has known all too well that some of its products pose risks, both acute and chronic, to human health -- including cancer, endocrine disruption, liver damage, and other serious health problems. Worse, the industry's documents show that chemical companies have gone to great lengths to conceal these dangers from its workers, consumers, and from the public at large.

This website draws from an extensive collection of the chemical industry's own internal documents, which were obtained through lawsuits brought by citizens who alleged that they were harmed by the products of chemical companies -- or by the family members who survive them. These documents point to a damning conclusion: that the chemical industry has known for decades that its products were dangerous, and did not inform the public of the potentially devastating health effects.

   

SOME OF THE STORIES:

Arsenic
When it suits their purposes, the chemical industry has acknowledged that arsenic is extremely toxic. But when arsenic is found toxic and in need of regulation, the industry criticizes individual studies to deflect regulation of arsenic compounds.

Scotchgard
A component of Scotchgard, known to cause liver damage in rats, was found in every sample of human blood tested. Although the company found this compound in its workers' blood 20 years ago, they only recently agreed to phase out it when pressure by EPA mounted.

Anniston, AL
For years, Monsanto did not tell the residents of Anniston, Alabama about the PCBs contaminating their community.

Hairspray
A hairspray propellant widely used in the 1960s and 1970s was known by the chemical industry to cause tumors. Fearing lawsuits, the industry did nothing that would draw attention to the problem and the public went unprotected for years.





last updated: march.27.2009

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The Chemical Industry Archives is a project of the Environmental Working Group.
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