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Manufacturing Doubt

by on November 24, 2013

Manufacturing Doubt

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  1. Ashley Leonard permalink

    I found this article to be an excellent example of the power that major corporation hold in the advertisement of products as to lure customers into believing of the safety of these products. As parents buy what they believe to be safe sofas and chairs for their children, (by major corporations such as The Walk Disney Company that are trusted by parents),” about 90% of the child products tested by the Center for Environmental Health reported as positive for having toxic flame retardants. While the toxic flame retardants found in the majority of these child products contained hidden health and life threatening risks such as cancer, major corporations are primarily concerned about the business and every way possible to cover up the facts. The reality that retardants barely provide any delay for fires but rather, lead to a greater risk for toxic fumes shows that these companies are skewing advertising techniques to increase sales and the “image” of safety without making any move towards a change. In an effort to simply hide the health risk from consumers, these major corporations have developed the “Citizens for Fire Safety” as a public awareness and effort to patrol the manufacturing of flame retardants “for the consumer.” This article illustrates the advertisement of major corporate industries as existing to meet every need of the consumer, as being trusted “for the consumer,” when in reality, the only interest of these corporations is for the money of the consumer. As we shop for our generation’s children, every consumer places a deserved trust in their products’ companies with the naive belief that if a Mickey Mouse chair is manufactured by The Walk Disney Company, it has to be safe. Unfortunately, the only trust we can count on is our own research of the product’s safety.

  2. This sounds very familiar to the manufacturing of doubt by the tobacco, lead, and asbestos companies in “Kivalina.” These companies try to produce “scientific” claims in order to appeal to the public and insert doubt into the public eye. The organizations that produce these claims are directly tied to these companies so that they can keep making profits even after real evidence surfaces about the harm they cause. And because these companies are so powerful they can heavily influence public opinion with their refuting evidence even though there is recent scientific evidence against them. Fortunately once the links between the companies and these organizations are made, the public begins to doubt their legitimacy. They then create doubt towards their product. The documentary mentioned in this article exposes the companies involved and has encouraged them to begin to save face by changing the website for their organization. Big companies that have more money are able to make up new research claims against the outside studies that are trying to help the public’s health. It takes exposing the companies to the public for their fraudulence to restore the the credibility of the initial data and evidence against them.

  3. emilylangan permalink

    In this day and age, I feel like I am told 3 new products that are “linked to cancer” per day. The idea of causing doubt and uncertainty to avoid any movement is a tactic used by big business and lobbyists repeatedly. In this way, they can almost completely avoid one single thing being linked or blamed for sickness. It is interesting to see, how this article does, the historical ways that “cancer causing couches” are formed. Almost all of these cancer causing, disease causing, or illness linked chemical components came about because of cutting corners for simplistic safety precautions. Cutting these corners was often funded by big companies that could pay off lobbyists easier than making their products safe.

  4. hagerbridget permalink

    This article reminded greatly of the documentary Toxic Soup. In one scenario explored in the film, a town in Kentucky was resold metal from Ashland Oil for a reasonable price. Years later however, this metal was tested and an intense form of radioactivity was found in the metal. Members of the community used this metal to build vital infrastructure for their homes and the town. The town suffered from an abnormally high rate of cancer which can now be linked to the high exposure to radiation from the metal. Just as Emily said above, corners were cut. The metal was not tested properly, and because it was being sold to the community which surrounded Ashland, their allegiance to the company blinded them to the reality of potential risk.

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