Deceit And Denial: The Deadly Politics Of Industrial Pollution

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Throughout world history, industry managers and laborers alike understood that work was dangerous. But it was not until the beginning of the twentieth century that reformers began a concerted effort to ameliorate the worst aspects of industrial civilization. The growing concern over safety and health issues for American workers developed during the first decade of the twentieth century in the wake of revolutionary social and economic changes.¹ In little more than three decades Americans had witnessed an unprecedented population explosion in its cities and manufacturing centers. Work for most laborers had become so dangerous that some newspapers and magazines published…

3 Cater to the Children: The Promotion of White Lead

The response by the lead industry to reports on the dangers of lead was a cynical thirty-five-year advertising campaign to convince people that lead was safe, and the most insidious part of this campaign was the industry’s marketing to children. Beginning in 1918, just as the studies of the Harriet Lane Home in Baltimore confirmed that lead paint was a danger to children, the industry undertook a sustained advertising and promotion campaign designed, in the words of National Lead’s trade magazine,Dutch Boy Painter,to “cater to the children”¹ while convincing their parents and the public health community that lead…

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