Decades of Petrochemical Industry Documents on Hiding Toxicity in Online Archive

December 17, 2014

Care to page through documents showing how the petrochemical industry knew the cancer risks of benzene but plotted for decades to keep the public from knowing? Now there is a searchable online trove where you can see them — soon to be joined by documents on other hazardous chemicals.

The documents could be of value to anyone who covers industry's unrelenting assaults on the integrity of science at agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the National Toxicology Program. Many of the documents demonstrate that the integrity problems are likelier to be on industry's side.

The Center for Public Integrity, Columbia University, and City University of New York have just published some 20,000 pages of hitherto unpublished letters, e-mails, presentations, and meeting minutes from the oil and chemical industries in a public database, called "Exposed: Decades of Denial on Poisons".

The documents were accumulated during discovery proceedings in many toxic tort cases — typically for worker chemical exposure — but had been gathering dust in file cabinets and not previously available to the public.

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