chapter  Chapter 16
15 Pages

Corporate Crime: Why We Cannot Trust Industry-Derived Safety Studies

WithSamuel S. Epstein

Velsicol has conducted its chronic toxicity, carcinogenicity, and reproductive toxicity tests on chlordane and heptachlor exclusively by oral administration. The continuing failure of Velsicol to undertake chronic inhalation tests is consistent with its failure to publish information on the composition of technical chlordane/heptachlor, and to warn and label with regard to volatile ingredients. Velsicol has employed an extensive battery of consultants, principally from academic backgrounds, in aggressive attempts to support its position on the safety of chlordane/heptachlor, and to defend itself in toxic tort litigation. It is generally assumed that the industry-generated database on toxic chemicals provides a reliable basis for the scientific evaluation of their public health hazards and for governmental regulation. The use of chlordane and heptachlor for treating termites in homes was, however, exempted from regulation, as the agency accepted the industry’s misleading assurances that subterranean application of the chemicals did not result in human exposure.