University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Gillings School of Global Public Health
Department of Epidemiology

EPID600, Principles of Epidemiology for Public Health

Instructors: Victor J. Schoenbach, Lorraine K. Alexander

Corporate behavior

For a thoroughly documented account of corporate malfeasance with major public health impact, see Deceit and denial: The deadly politics of industrial pollution, by Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner. California/Milbank, 2002. This book and several related ones were reviewed by Howard Markel in JAMA 2007;297:2773-2775.

More in that vein is a recent article on uranium mining pollution in Nex Mexico (Shelley Smithson, “Radioactive revival in New Mexico”, The Nation, June 29, 2009:16-20

From The Insurance Forum (Joseph M. Belth, Editor), December 2010:
“In the article about unclaimed property in your November 2010 issue, you said certain disclosures you recommended in the 1970s ’were so controversial that the life insurance companies made it clear to the regulators that such disclosures would not be made.’ What causes you to suggest that the life insurance companies exercise total control over the regulatory agenda?” - Name withheld.

Editor's note: A couple of examples should suffice to illustrate the point. In the 1970s, when a Federal Trade Commission staff report recommended certain important disclosures to consumers, the life insurance industry was able to push legislation through Congress barring the Commission from investigating the industry in the future without a specific request from one of the Congressional commerce committees. In the 1980s, when a National Association of Insurance Commissioners staff report recommended certain disclosures to consumers, the life insurance industry arranged for the firing of the staff person most responsible for the report, a life insurance trade association hired another staff person who helped write the report, and the life insurance industry persuaded a governor to fire an insurance commissioner who was involved with the report.” (p136)


For more information

Victor J. Schoenbach,

Lorraine K. Alexander,


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Updated 11/20/2010, 3/18/2011