Uncertainty and Social Conflict over Animal Rescue
This chapter focuses on the corporate production of doubt and uncertainty. The uncertainty over the possible short- and long-term health effects of the cleanup were called into question by many people who felt that existing occupational health and safety data were being downplayed by Exxon and its subcontractors in order to obfuscate the problem. In the United States, an ideological offensive was launched to argue that litigation and regulatory controls should not move forward until scientific analysis is capable of fully resolving scientific uncertainty Even with the strictest practice of science, this demand can seldom, if ever, be met. David Michaels, an epidemiologist and former assistant secretary of energy for Environment, Safety and Health and current assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Health, argues in his critique of the corporate production of doubt, that for scientists, proof of absolute certainty is almost never obtainable.