Science and Public Policy/Politics
Ever since the government exposed army personnel to atomic radiation and lied about the potential effects, science has been put in danger of corruption by the secrecy and denial attending the implementation of technologies that have the power to disrupt biology. After atomic radiation, Rachel Carson discovered that the widespread use of DDT had led to the near extinction of species; she became the object of a pro-industry smear campaign. Similar denial and in some cases cover-up of evidence have attended the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam, the use of asbestos in construction, the use of chemicals such as benzene, and the contribution of carbon dioxide to global warming. One of the most damaging continuing instances of corporate and government power to obscure legitimate scientific evidence—damaging to science and the ideals of free inquiry and scientific honesty, as well as to human safety—has been the controversy over the effects of electromagnetic fields on human health. In Going Somewhere, detailing the 40-year history of that debate, the experimental biophysicist and lawyer Andrew Marino recounts from personal experience the misuse and abuse of science by power companies, the US military, the National Academy of Sciences, federal agencies including the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health, and scientists employed by these entities to deny any danger of EMFs. The current confusion and misinformation about scientific evidence that characterizes the debate over cell phones is only the latest in a series of campaigns to undermine independent scientists—including Marino and his former boss Dr. Robert O. Becker—who over the past four decades have presented evidence that EMFs are not safe. In its detailed examination of the power industry and its government protectors, Going Somewhere is one of the most thorough case studies ever written about the vulnerability of science to the power of political influence and economics.