How Business Interests Deceive, Misinform, and Buy Influence at the Expense of Public Health and Safety
Science helps keep us safe and healthy. The public safeguards that keep our drinking water clean and our children’s toys safe rely on independent science and a transparent policymaking process. And we all rely on scientific information to make informed choices about everything from what we eat to what consumer products we buy for our families.
But the results of independent science don’t always shine a favorable light on corporate products and practices. In response, some corporations manipulate science and scientists to distort the truth about the dangers of their products, using a set of tactics made famous decades ago by the tobacco industry. We call these tactics the Disinformation Playbook.
To be clear: most companies don’t engage in disinformation. The deceptive practices that make up the Playbook are used by a small minority of companies—and yet, as we show, they are found across a broad range of industries, from fossil fuels to professional sports.
Here are five of the most widely used “plays” and some of the many cases where they have been used to block regulations or minimize corporate liability, often with frightening effectiveness—and disastrous repercussions on public health and safety.