In March 2001, PBS aired a disturbing two-hour special hosted by Bill Moyers that explores the history of the chemical revolution of the past 50 years and how companies have long sought to withhold information from the public and their employees about the safety of many substances. The program draws on a large collection of previously secret industry documents unearthed during a ten-year lawsuit by the family of a man who died from a rare brain cancer after working at a vinyl-chloride plant. The family's lawyer eventually charged all vinyl-chloride-producing companies with conspiracy, and the discovery process brought to light hundreds of thousands of pages of documents which reveal a closely planned and well-executed campaign to limit regulation of toxic chemicals and the liability of manufacturers and to withhold important health information from all parties. A large selection of these internal documents, over 37,000 pages, is available at the Chemical Industry Archives, created by the Environmental Working Group. The site offers several essays on the archive and the industry, including a selection of some egregious examples of companies hiding or denying known health risks of their products. The archive itself may be searched by keyword with several modifiers. The documents are presented in .pdf format. This site is sure to become an extremely important resource for health activists, journalists, and the concerned public.
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