Corporate Power and the Failure to Protect Public Health

Thursday, February 06, 2014

(Stephen Reader/WNYC)

The chemical spill that polluted the drinking water in Charleston, West Virginia, last month raised a lot of questions about the failures to prevent such an accident and protect the public. Nicholas Freudenberg argues that as the influence of corporations has grown, regulations have been weakened and consumer and environmental protection has been undermined. His book Lethal but Legal: Corporations, Consumption, and Protecting Public Health examines how corporations have impacted public health over the last century. 


Nicholas Freudenberg

Comments [11]

june from NYC

I hate the use of the "n" word in describing black American. It is still offense even if Lenoard Lopate uses it to introduce his guest. The "n" word is offense and should not be aired on the radio.

Feb. 06 2014 01:04 PM


"The AR-15 is just a .22 caliber rifle."

Wow...Do you have it wrong. The AR-15/M-16 receiver is ubiquitous because the weapon has been the standard issue sidearm of the United States armed forces for NEARLY 50 years. Every gunmaker has fully amortized the design, development and testing or licensing part of the process. Therefore, the profit from every new receiver they stamp out is price - variable costs. All the fixed costs have been covered. When you have such a pure profit engine it only makes sense to find more uses for that product. Never mind that when put to the use for which it was designed, the outcome is brutal and often sickening.

The Remington .223 may be only .003 of an inch greater in radius than a .22L but there is A LOT more power in the cartridge and the bullet is designed to tumble on impact shredding flesh as it goes. Your comparison just doesn't work.

Feb. 06 2014 01:00 PM

You both seem abysmally ignorant of the burgeoning corporate influence of e-cig manufacturers--including big tobacco--using the exact same science-bending and lobbying tactics the industry used in the past to thwart regulation.

In fact, an e-cig ad ran during the Super Bowl.

Feb. 06 2014 12:36 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Part of the problem w/trying to get access to healthier food is that it usually costs more. Ever notice that the less they do to food, the more it costs? Don't put pesticides on it, it costs more. Don't refine the flour or sugar in it, it costs more. Don't even cook it, it costs even more. So if you want organic, whole-grain food, you pay more, & if you're a raw-food eater, you pay a lot more (OK, not talking about raw produce here).

The other problem is that "no salt" is treated as a flavor in itself. Why can't snacks in flavors like chipotle or garlic be made w/no salt?

Feb. 06 2014 12:36 PM
Mike from Canarsie

They may no longer be selling tobacco products, but CVS will continue to earn billions selling worthless homeopathic junk.

Water has no memory, people!

Feb. 06 2014 12:34 PM

The reason the AR-15 rifle is popular and profitable is that it is infinitely customizable. It's the accessories that make it popular and profitable, not that it has been "supersized." The AR-15 is just a .22 caliber rifle.

Feb. 06 2014 12:28 PM
Tony from Canarsie

Oops, in my previous comment that should have been "82,000 tons."

Feb. 06 2014 12:26 PM
McNamara from New York

What about the ethics of a “sector” (Big Ag) that has accrued the
political power to trample over the rights of over 90% of American Consumers who desire GMO labeling?
When is enough, enough ~ with their presence controlling our
regulatory agencies; and if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is passed, will further push the GM presence into markets (countries) who have clearly stated their opposition?

Feb. 06 2014 12:24 PM
Tony from Canarsie

Updating the first sentence of the synopsis:

The approximately 82,0000 tons of toxic coal ash released by the Duke Energy in Eden, North Carolina this week raises a lot of questions about the failures to prevent such an accident and protect the public.

Feb. 06 2014 12:21 PM
Roberta Bilbo from LIC

LL is my favorite show on WNYC - I tune in everyday! I love the variety of topics and the compelling questions Leonard asks! Keep up the good work!

Feb. 06 2014 12:19 PM
Tony from Canarsie

The Center for Media & Democracy's "ALEC Exposed" website is very informative..

Feb. 06 2014 12:15 PM

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