“In the mood for some nice government-speak? EPA appoints new ‘Scientific Integrity Official,’” by American Council on Science and Health.
Well, we can all rest a little uneasier today: thanks to a new EPA appointee, there will be a sudden and profound uptick in the environmental agency’s integrity when evaluating research and formulating scientific policies. Not. In announcing the creation of a new Orwellian-sounding position called the “scientific integrity official,” EPA administrator Gina McCarthy says, “Dr. [Francesca] Grifo brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to EPA that will help continue our work to implement the agency’s scientific integrity policy. Science is, and continues, to be the backbone of this agency and the integrity of our science is central to the identity and credibility of our work.” Read more at ACSH.org.
“In the mood for some nice government-speak? EPA appoints new ‘Scientific Integrity Official,’” by American Council on Science and Health.
“Fearmongering: Be Afraid… Of Everything!” by Julie Gunlock.
A few years ago, I was watching the news and was shocked to learn that my garden hose was incredibly dangerous. Say, what? The newscaster anchoring the program that night seemed really upset about this story. He leaned forward in his seat, stuttered… and…wait…did I see him tear up? Did his voice just crack? Oh my gosh, he’s going to cry! Read more at IWF’s Inwell Blog.
“Thanksgiving Chemophobia – If Toxins Scare You, Stop Eating,” By Hank Campbell.
When I was younger, only Rachel Carson was ruining dinner and her evidence-by-anecdote heritage in Silent Spring still lingers with us today. To many in America, ‘carcinogens’ are a bad word, DDT will give you cancer 6 months after you spray it on crops and all chemicals are bad. And that is just among Grist readers. Once you broaden it out to the rest of progressives, you will find them paralyzed by “chemophobia” and a broad contempt for science. Read more at Science 2.0.
“Disregard Toxic Advice on Turkey Day,” by Angela Logomasini.
Toxic chemicals lurk in the “typical” Thanksgiving meal, warns a green activist website. Eat organic, avoid canned food, and you might be okay, according to their advice. Fortunately, there’s no need to buy this line. In fact, the trace levels of man-made chemicals found in these foods warrant no concern and are no different from trace chemicals that appear in food naturally.
The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) illustrates this reality best with their Holiday Dinner Menu, which outlines all the “toxic” chemicals found naturally in food. The point is, at such low levels, both the man-made and naturally occurring chemicals pose little risk. This year ACSH puts the issue in perspective explaining:
Toxicologists have confirmed that food naturally contains a myriad of chemicals traditionally thought of as “poisons.” Potatoes contain solanine, arsenic, and chaconine. Lima beans contain hydrogen cyanide, a classic suicide substance. Carrots contain carototoxin, a nerve poison. And nutmeg, black pepper, and carrots all contain the hallucinogenic compound myristicin. Moreover, all chemicals, whether natural or synthetic, are potential toxicants at high doses but are perfectly safe when consumed in low doses.”
Watch ACSH’s video on this topic:
Nevertheless, green groups continue to demonize man-made chemicals, suggesting that they are somehow different than naturally occurring ones. At the top of the green hit list is the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which is used to make hard-clear plastics and resins that line food cans. A couple years back, the Breast Cancer Fund issued a report that measured the trace levels of BPA in food. It warned: “An unwelcome visitor may be joining your Thanksgiving feast: bisphenol A. BPA is an estrogenic chemical that lab studies have linked to breast cancer.”
Seriously, if you are worried about chemicals with estrogenic properties, you’d need to avoid many healthy foods, such as beans, nuts, and any soy-based products, which contain naturally occurring hormonally active chemicals. These naturally occurring chemicals are tens of thousands of times more potent than traces of synthetic chemicals in food. And guess what? Even though they are more potent and plentiful than BPA, these chemicals pose little risk as well.
When they hype the risks of BPA, anti-chemical activists never communicate truly useful information about actual BPA risk, which is negligible, according to extensive scientific reviews that numerous government agencies and research bodies around the world have conducted. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration affirmed BPA safety again this past March, stating: “FDA’s current assessment is that BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods. This assessment is based on review by FDA scientists of hundreds of studies including the latest findings from new studies initiated by the agency.”
The negligible risks of BPA are certainly worth taking given the huge benefit that BPA provides in making long-term safe food storage and distribution possible. Get more information on BPA here.
BPA levels, like so many trace chemicals — man-made and natural — are simply too low to pose much risks. So enjoy your turkey along with canned green beans and cranberry dressing, and don’t worry!
“HBO’s “Toxic Hot Seat” is Toxic All Right: It Seems to Have Addled Kristof’s Brain,” By American Council on Science and Health.
1181213_88625943New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, in his latest opus entitled Danger Lurks in That Mickey Mouse Couch — wait, did he really say that? Anyway, Nick has gone off the rails again, intoxicated by the siren song of an HBO special on tonight (Monday, November 25th), similarly entitled Toxic Hot Seat. The producers of that documentary have the following brief to promote: household furniture (including any Mickey Mouse couches, one assumes) are laden with toxic chemicals — brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are in the spotlight this time — and their dangers are being covered up by their manufacturers and the chemical industry trade group, the American Chemistry Council. Further — as if these “facts” were not damning enough — the industry is echoing the evil tactics of Big Tobacco (20th century variety) by creating controversy about the devastating health impacts of BFRs where none rightly exist and standing in the way of sensible, protective regulation. And, they go on, the stuff doesn’t even retard fires, either! Read more at ACSH.org.
“Are There Spiders Lurking In Your Food?” by Lindsey Jahn.
Occurrences of shoppers discovering spiders lurking in grocery-store grapes have been reported throughout the Midwest over the past month — and the issue isn’t limited to one retail chain. Budget supermarket chain Aldi pulled all grapes from its Milwaukee locations after a consumer found a black widow spider in a package of grapes from an Aldi store in Wauwatosa, Wis….The prevalence of black widows being found in grapes has increased since the mid-1990s, when growers began to cut back on pesticide use. Grapes are commonly associated with heavy pesticide use, and the fruit still remains No. 3 on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen list of produce with the most pesticide residue. In the EWG’s latest Dirty Dozen study, a single grape tested positive for 15 pesticides. Read more at Manufacturing.net.
“Results First, “Study” Later: JAMA Dredges up More Junk against Phthalates,” by American Council on Science and Health.
An article published in today’s JAMA Pediatrics purports to link premature birth to exposure to the group of chemicals known as phthalates. These are plastic softeners-plasticizers, and are also found in numerous household products and cosmetics and shampoos. In fact, this so-called study is a typical product of those researchers whose goals are — rather than the advancement of science, knowledge, or public health — to advance their own agendas and careers by propelling the anti-chemical bandwagon to which they have attached their stars. Despite all the self-expressed plaudits with words such as “elegant,” “robust,” and “solidifies,” anyone with an inkling of insight into valid epidemiological methods will smell a rat almost immediately. Read more at ACSH.org.
“Bad Science Could Kill Global Trade Talks,” by John R. Block.
Has irresponsibility gone intercontinental?…The European Commission has laid out a set of new rules that could effectively ban a quarter to a third of U.S. agricultural output and keep out U.S.-made products for controlling weeds, funguses and insects. The United States sets standards for pesticides essential to providing the world’s food needs based on scientifically determined levels of safety, then applies a 100 to 1000 fold extra margin of safety, to set the allowed residue. The new European rules would ban the importation of fruits, vegetables and grains when even the tiniest traces of so-called “endocrine disruptors” are detected. … That’s one reason the editors of eighteen leading scientific journals in the field of chemical hazards recently signed a common editorial protesting the E.U. action….[T]he editorial accused the commission of acting “contrary not only to science but to the very principles of an enlightened governance and social contract….” The editors warned that, “society itself would pay dearly if unscientific approaches were to undermine our everyday practice of science.” Read more at Real Clear Markets.
“Dr. Oz Agrees With Health Experts – Eat More Conventional and Organic Produce,” by SafeFruitsandVeggies.com.
Despite his segment last week about pesticide residues which was clearly designed to scare viewers and raise produce safety concerns, Dr. Oz’s own viewpoint regarding consumption of conventionally grown produce appears to agree with health experts everywhere who recommend consuming more of either conventionally or organically grown produce for improved health. Following the airing of the segment “What the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know,” the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) reached out to the Dr. Oz Show for clarification on the doctor’s recommendation for consumers. Our main question in the outreach concerned a Time Magazine editorial by Dr. Oz which ran a year ago and seemed to be in direct contrast with the content from last week’s show (and previous shows). Among Dr. Oz’s statements in Time: Read more on SafeFruitsandVeggies.com.
“Can’t Get Pregnant? Blame It On Plastics! Well, Not If Science Matters,” Jon Entine.
If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, plastics may be the culprit—at least that’s what a credulous reader might conclude based on recent news reports and a slew of website stories with headlines like: “New studies link BPA and phthalates to miscarriage and infertility.” But as is often the case when journalists report on complex science issues, the headlines do not align with the facts. A careful reading of the actual studies and the established research history suggest that these substances do not pose any unusual dangers, despite bumbling efforts by the media and even some scientists to spin the findings to scare up publicity. But the misreporting of conflicting data is not just a case of bad journalism. The consequences are far more pernicious, as scare stories end up infecting the public discussion and the result is often bad legislation. Read more on Forbes.com.
“Over-Reaching California EPA Regulators Promoted A False Breast Cancer Link,” by Geoffrey Kabat.
In 2005 the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA) issued a voluminous report on the health effects of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) which attracted attention for its rash claim that ETS was associated with increased risk of breast cancer. Thirteen years earlier the US EPA had published a report showing a weak link between ETS and developing lung cancer. But, of course, smoking is a powerful risk factor for lung cancer, whereas any relation between smoking and breast cancer is subtle at best. Read more on Forbes.com.
“Bumbling BPA Critics Actually Manage to Prove Themselves Wrong. Not Easy,” By American Council on Science and Health.
We at ACSH are rarely surprised by anything we see published. Since it is our job to debunk bad science, we get a steady diet of it. But we got a special dessert dropped in our laps, and this one takes the cake. Although the study in question is from July, it is so jaw-droppingly awful that we decided to include it today. And when you read it, you may want to discontinue your subscription to Scientific American, which according to ACSH’s media director Erik Lief “should really be called Unscientific American. Read more at ACSH.org.
“Pesticide Residue Calculator,” Julie Gunlock.
I was once told by another mother (visiting my house for a playdate) that I was putting my children at risk by letting them eat non-organic apples. She warned me about “those awful pesticides” and got even more nervous when I pulled out the non-organic milk (I write about this incident in more detail in my new book, available here). It took all my strength (and good manners) not to kick her out of my house right then and there but I decided that this was a good test for me. Could I convince this Kool-Aid drinking mom that she was misinformed about conventionally grown food? Could I relieve her of her habit of spending her scarce resources on no-healthier organic fruit? Could I make her stop screeching and biting her nails? Read more on IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“Study Shows Consumers Continue to Have Misguided Safety Concerns About Produce,” by SafeFruitsandVeggies.com.
A new study from Colorado State University (CSU) shows that consumers continue to have concerns about the safety of conventionally grown produce and the government regulatory processes in place to protect public health. Among other findings, the study showed that: “A distrust in regulatory oversight is a key trigger in the valuation for local and organic.” And, consumers generally agreed with the statement that “eating organic lowers health risks.” Read more on SafeFruitsandVeggies.com.
“An Alarmist Vocabulary: Chemical Is ‘Linked To,’ ‘Study Suggests,’ ‘Consistent With,’ by Angela Logomasini
Headlines continue to appear to claiming that a recent study has shown that the chemical bisphenol A increases the risk of miscarriage, which I addressed in a Forbes article last week. There are many problems with this research, such as the fact that it is not available in a published, peer-reviewed format. Check out my piece here for more details. This issue raises a bigger concern about the state of science today, particularly when the research is related to chemical safety. Reliance on hard facts, scientific standards, and cautious conclusions seems to be withering away. Even well-school researchers have become involved in the game of activism and alarmism, using carefully chosen rhetoric to generate headlines and fear based on inconclusive and largely meaningless studies and even unpublished research. Read more at Openmarket.org.
“Ignore the Halloween Alarmist,” By Julie Gunlock
We’ve entered scary season. On Halloween, people actually enjoy getting spooked. Yet increasingly, feeling frightened isn’t a choice or a once-a-year occurrence. Each day, Americans, particularly moms, are told they should be terrified – not of monsters, goblins and ghosts – but of their spray cleaner, makeup, moisturizer, their children’s clothing and the food they eat. Why is every day Halloween for so many American moms? The reason is simple: Environmental organizations realize that fear is profitable and effective, and moms are eating it up in spite of the high cost to their family’s budget, their confidence as mothers and their sense of safety and security. Read more at US News & World Report.
“5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Environmental Working Group,” By the Center for Consumer Freedom.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) does not represent mainstream scientific views on the health risks from chemicals. According to a survey conducted for the George Mason University Statistical Assessment Service by pollster Harris International, 79 percent of members of the Society of Toxicology — experts on health risks from chemicals — who expressed an opinion thought EWG overstated chemical risks. Small wonder then that some call the EWG the Environmental “Worrying” Group. Read more at ConsumerFreedom.com.
“Whatever Happened To Science?” by Michael D. Shaw.
For the Baby Boomers, born under the halo of victory in World War II, and into the 1950s, one of the key themes was the promise of Science. Electrical power–courtesy of splitting the atom–would be so plentiful that consumers would simply pay a flat monthly fee, and the discovery of the structure of DNA meant (somehow, although this was never fully explained) that a cure for cancer was just beyond the horizon. The successful rollout of the Salk/Sabin polio vaccines would further demonstrate the great humanitarian power of Science, and its unblemished search for Truth. Read more at Health News Digest.
“Another Non-Problem Distracting the FDA: Cosmetic ‘Safety,’” by American Council on Science and Health.
Cosmetics funWhat’s up with our Federal government these days? Now that the government has un-shutdown, we find the FDA, our regulator with oversight over about one-third of all the goods and products in our commerce, dealing with many important issues. As if they didn’t have troubles enough assessing drug safety, how to deal with the supplement industry, food safety inspections, medical devices, and many other daunting responsibilities, they have been dithering over how (or even whether) to regulate tobacco and related products since 2009, with no discernible progress. Why, then, did they turn their attention to the pressing matter of cosmetics? Read more at ASCH.org.
“Junk Science Attacks On Important Products And Technologies Diminish Us All,” By Dr. Henry Miller.
As far back as 1995, renowned American astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan expressed concern about the trend in this country toward a society in which, “clutching our crystals and religiously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in steep decline…we slide, almost without noticing, into superstition and darkness.” Almost two decades later, thanks in large part to the actions of vocal, well-funded, fear-mongering activists, Sagan’s concerns are even more in evidence. Read more at Forbes.com.
“A Miscarriage Of Science: BPA’s Unproven Pregnancy Risk,” by Angela Logomasini.
The headlines are out: Pregnant woman should fear the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) because a “new study” says it increase the risk of miscarriage. Fortunately, we have lots of good reasons to doubt these headlines. What does the study really say? We don’t completely know since it’s not available in any peer-reviewed publication. All that’s available is an abstract produced for a recent presentation at a conference hosted by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). The abstract does, however, provide enough information to allay fears—despite how the headlines read. Read more on Forbes.com.
“Does Your Halloween Costume Contain Flame-Retardants? It should!” by American Council on Science and Health.
Halloween is right around the corner and we’re sure you’ve been thinking about costumes and candy, pumpkins and haunted houses. However, safety is also something that can be forgotten on Halloween. But here’s one way you can make sure to keep you and your kids safe: Make sure your costumes are made from materials containing flame retardants or use material that will not set on fire should it come into contact with an open flame. Read more on ACSH.org.
“The Public Demonization Of Bisphenol-A: I Smell A Rat,” by Patrick Michaels.
I’ve been following the saga of Bisphenol-A, aka BPA, for over three years now, ever since I used it as a case study in my course “Public Science and Public Policy.” BPA is a current rage as a cause of all things evil: cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and probably flatulence. BPA in tiny amounts is in a lot of things that we eat that come out of a can. It’s a popular liner that prevents corrosion and extends shelf life, no doubt contributing to some reduction in cases of food poisoning. Read More at Forbes.com.
“BPA Causes Miscarriages (Or So The Headlines Say),” by Steve Hentges.
It was the late astronomer and author Carl Sagan who popularized the phrase “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” and originated the closely related concept of scientific skepticism. In the case discussed here, skeptics we should be. Last week we saw a flurry of media articles with headlines suggesting that exposure to the common chemical bisphenol A (BPA) increases the risk of miscarriage. Considering how much research has been conducted on BPA already, in particular extensive research on laboratory animals that examined the potential for BPA to cause any effect on reproduction, that’s a rather extraordinary claim that has not been corroborated or replicated. Read more at Science 2.0.
“Nutty Nick Kristof Flunks Chemistry Again, and Again…Nothing New Here. We’ve Written About this Before,” by American Council on Science and Health.
Once the esteemed New York Times columnist Nick Kristof gets out of his comfort (and knowledge) zone he goes from a really great commentator to an ignorant scaremonger. Sort of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydrogen. But even he has outdone himself this time. In an effort to be seen as a superhero against the evil chemical industry he is grabbing for straws that don’t even exist. Read more at ACSH.org.
“Another Unnecessary BPA Scare for Expectant Moms,” by American Council on Science and Health.
If you thought you’d seen all the putative risks to health from the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), think again. It’s been one of the most frequently cited supposedly dangerous chemicals in fear-mongers’ armamentaria. Their drumbeat of alarmism persists, although study after study has failed to find a valid link between BPA and dangers to human health. In fact, the FDA (among numerous scientific and regulatory bodies worldwide) has studied it and determined that its use in food cans and other containers is not only safe, but provides an important public-health benefit against food spoilage and contamination. Read more at ACSH.org.
“Want More Babies? Stop Needlessly Terrifying Pregnant Women,” by Carrie L. Lukas.
Western democracies face a growing problem. No, it’s not the ballooning budget deficits, swelling entitlement programs, or expanding ranks of the permanently unemployed. This time the problem is what’s not growing: Too few women are having babies to sustain the population. … Take the recent release from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Society for Reproductive Medicine, trumpeting the dangers of chemical exposure for pregnant women. It goes far beyond… Read more at USA Today.
“Is BPA linked with increased risk of miscarriage?” by Sense About Science.
On 14th October 2013 the Independent, Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail reported a study which linked the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) with increased risk of miscarriage, and advised pregnant women to avoid tinned foods. Read more at Sense About Science.
“Enviro Scare Tactics Undermine Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” by Angela Logomasini.
October is “breast cancer awareness month” thanks to a collaborative campaign arranged by public and private groups united in the mission to fight breast cancer. Their educational efforts can save lives by promoting early detection and healthy lifestyle choices. Yet environmental activists and media are using this campaign as an excuse to scare women about chemicals, and unintentionally, divert their attention from truly useful information, such as the importance of regular breast exams and a healthy diet. Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“Women Should Worry about Shoddy Reporting, Not Chemicals,” Julie Gunlock.
Earlier this week, USA Today ran a story by reporter Liz Szabo who warned women “A growing number of health advocates are raising concerns about possible links between the estrogen-like chemical BPA and breast cancer.” Notice Liz says “health advocates” are concerned, not health professionals, scientists, toxicologists, breast cancer researchers, or oncologists. That’s right; Liz doesn’t actually talk to the experts in the fields of toxicology and disease but relies on one of the country’s best-known purveyors of junk science. Read the full article on IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“USA Today Spins Breast Cancer Scare Out Of Retracted Study Claim As New EPA Study Dismisses Risk,” by Trevor Butterworth.
USA Today reporter Liz Szabo has long rung the alarm bells on bisphenol A (BPA), devoting an entire full page article to promoting the repeatedly discredited claims of University of Missouri researcher Frederick vom Saal. Now, she has turned to vom Saal’s longtime collaborator, University of Tufts researcher Ana Soto to advance the claim BPA increased the risk of mammary cancers in rats and therefore might pose a risk to humans. The rub – as I reported recently here on Forbes – is that Soto and her co-authors were forced to walk back this claim by the journal that published the study because the statistical data showed no such risk. Read the full article at Forbes.com.
“Great For Lawyers; Terrible For California; A Nightmare For Manufacturers: Introducing ‘Green Chemistry,’” by Hugh Hewitt.
The road to manufacturing Hell is paved with…well Green Chemistry regulations. Lost amid the intense focus on the CR, the debt limit and various other stories of mayhem and strife, the Golden State officially entered its Green Chemistry era on Tuesday. Read the full post at HughHewitt.com.
“Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Also be Aware of Quackery,” by American Council on Science and Health.
The recent updated re-revision of the Women’s Health Initiative data on hormone replacement therapy reminds us, as if we needed reminding, that October is breast cancer awareness month. Even without the new information — which didn’t actually say much different from the prior re-revision, i.e. HRT is safe for menopausal symptom control — the awareness of BCA Month is inescapable for sentient beings in America who have electricity. Read the full article at ACSH.org.
“Environmental Group Tries to Save Face, but Falls on It,” by American Council on Science and Health.
We at ACSH have written countless pieces on the absolute garbage science surrounding BPA—a chemical that has been in use for more than 50 years, and is used in the manufacturing process of various plastics. So, it is only natural that we give a huge shout-out to Trevor Butterworth, a journalist and master junk science (especially statistics) debunker, who has an impressive pedigree of editorial and media exposure. Read the full article and watch the video on ASCH.org.
“The EU, US Approaches to Endocrine Disruptors Have Been Appropriate Until Now,” by Jeff Stier.
When it comes to food safety, the European Union and the United States have some of the most effective scientific and regulatory programs in the world. So it came as a surprise when France flouted the studies and assurances of EU and US food safety regulators and sought to ban the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in any food contact item starting in 2015. Read the full article on Euractiv.
“Keep the Kids Safe with Flame-Retardant Halloween Costumes,” by Angela Logomasini.
It bears repeating: flame retardant chemicals make life safer. Yet more often than not, news stories say we should fear these chemicals—ignoring the fact that these products have safely reduced fire risks for decades. This is why firefighters suggest judicious use of flame-retardant materials from treated furniture to clothing. So rather than fall for anti-chemical hype, moms should focus on reducing fire risks. The local fire marshal in the town of Orange, Conn., offers some advice for Halloween safety, which is published in a local paper there. Read the full post at IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“Green Advice on Flame Retardants Promises to Prove Deadly,” by Angela Logomasini.
For the past few years, newspapers have featured stories on the allegedly dire risks of flame retardants, and environmental activists are pushing for government bans and regulations. Keep the kids off those “toxic couches” they say, if you care at all about them. Never mind the fact that these trace chemicals in the foam have never been shown to hurt anyone. But when they are not there, life threatening fires move quickly! Read the full article on IWF’s Inwell Blog.
“Green Policies Translate Into Less Food, Higher Prices,” by Angela Logomasini.
Thanks to misguided bureaucracy and fear mongering from environmental activists, myriad valuable products are disappearing from the marketplace. Walmart, Proctor & Gamble, and Johnson and Johnson are leading the way by following green advice to phase out a host of valuable chemical technologies because of misinformed green hype. Pesticides—which are needed to feed a growing world population and fight vector-borne diseases—are often found on the regulatory chopping block. Read the full post on OpenMarket.org.
“Taxpayer-Funded Journal Walks Back BPA Cancer Claim After Statistical Meltdown,” by Trevor Butterworth.
First, bisphenol A – a chemical widely used in food packaging for safety reasons – caused breast cancer in rats at “human relevant” levels, according to a study published in the taxpayer funded scientific journal, Environmental Health Perspectives. Now, according to the same study, it doesn’t. After Forbes noted that the statistical data clearly showed BPA had no effects and did not cause cancer – a judgment supported by one of the country’s top statisticians – the journal forced the authors, all researchers at Tufts University, to walk back their claim for publication in print. Read the full article at Forbes.com.
“Pregnant Women Encouraged to Worry about Everything,” by Carrie L. Lukas.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Society for Reproductive Medicine are calling on doctors and the government to do more to warn pregnant women about the dangers of chemical exposure. I’d like to see the exact wording of their statement (which didn’t appear to be available on either website). I’d hope that it is more tailored and nuanced than the headlines it is generating such as “Toxic Chemicals and Pregnancy Don’t Mix.” Read the full article on IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“Royal Pains: Why Queen Honeybees Are Living Shorter, Less Productive Lives,” by By Francie Diep
What’s killing the bees? If you’ve been watching the news, you might answer: “Colony collapse disorder.” Yet after the winter of 2011-2012, beekeepers only attributed 8 percent of their wintertime honeybee-hive losses to colony collapse disorder. … In fact, some entomologists say colony collapse disorder is no longer a major problem. After a spike in incidents in 2006, when the condition was first described, cases dwindled. American honeybee colonies are still dying at an average rate of 30 percent every year, but most hives succumb to the same problems that have plagued beekeepers since 1990 or even 1890: bees running out of honey to eat over the winter, the blood-sucking Varroa mite, and unhealthy queens. … “I think we have known for a long time that miticides can adversely affect queens and kill drone sperm,” says Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an entomologist at the University of Maryland who was one of the first to identify colony collapse disorder. “It’s like chemotherapy. They know it’s bad, but it’s a lot better than the alternative.” Read the full article at Scientific American.
“While Global Bee Colonies Struggle, European Politicians Seem Determined To Kill Them Off,” by Jon Entine.
Science and politics don’t mix well. In the United States, we’re witnessing rancorous policy debates over shale gas extraction (i.e. fracking) and GMOs in our foods. But in Europe, the hottest issue is the health of honeybees. And the ugly public discussion is lapping onto our shores. Bees pollinate 80 percent of our flowering crops, which constitute about one third of everything we eat. On December 1, a European wide ban takes effect on the use of three chemicals collectively known as neonicotinoids, which guard against insect infestation. The two-year restriction was voted into law last April after a split vote by the European Commission in response to public fears that ‘neonics’ were the source of a rash of bee deaths reported in some countries. Read the full article at Forbes.com.
“Even Retail Giant Walmart Caves to Anti-Chemical Activists,” American Council on Science and Health.
138829_6871In fear of getting left behind, Walmart — the world’s largest retailer — followed in Procter & Gamble’s footsteps last week in deciding to require full disclosure of chemicals used by companies selling cosmetics and cleaning products. Ironically, that list is undisclosed, but if it’s anything like the one produced by Procter & Gamble recently to rid the industry of long-used, harmless chemicals like phthalates, triclosan, parabens and formaldehyde (and we are most certain it is), it’s yet another unnecessary attack produced by none other than environmental and ‘consumer safety’ groups plagued by their own agendas. You can read more of ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom’s thoughts on P&G’s move here. Read more on the ACSH website.
“Instead of Scaring Moms, Join Us in Promoting Healthy Eating,” by SafeFruitsandVeggies.com.
Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama held a meeting with food companies, media, consumer groups and academics to discuss the impact of marketing unhealthy foods to kids. In addition to encouraging a decrease in advertising and marketing of “junk foods,” Mrs. Obama repeatedly urged members of the audience to encourage healthy eating among children. At one point, Mrs. Obama told her audience that “If anyone can get kids to eat their vegetables, it’s you.” Read the full story on SafeFruitsandVeggies.com.
“Organic Agriculture Cannot Feed The World,” Center for Consumer Freedom.
We’ve written before that, despite organic activists’ claims to the contrary, conventional agriculture (a.k.a. non-organic) is the only way to feed the world’s burgeoning population, and there’s nothing wrong with that. So it was with mild frustration yesterday when we read a blog post and heard a Morning Edition segment by NPR’s Dan Charles titled, “American Farmers Say They Feed The World, But Do They?” which glossed over this reality. Read the full article on the Center for Consumer Freedom Website.
“Green Market Pressure Takes Toll on Consumer Choice,” by Angela Logomasini.
When environmentalists don’t have the political power to regulate away consumer choice, they sometimes can get industry to do the job for them. Most recently, Proctor and Gamble (P&G) has decided to phase out the chemical triclosan, which has been used in a wide range of soap products to reduce risks from bacteria. P&G’s announcement follows other dumb triclosan phase outs that Colgate Palmolive (2011) and Johnson and Johnson (2012) have already begun. Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“Same Old: Procter & Gamble Bans Two Ingredients— But Not Based on Science, by American Council on Science and Health.
It never ends. Having nearly put themselves out of business because of huge improvements in the environment over the last few decades, environmental and “consumer safety” groups are looking for work. Unfortunately, their work now seems to consist of shaking down companies by getting them to ban long-used, harmless chemicals. And it sure works. Read the full article and watch the video at ACSH.org.
“Pass the Microphone to Science: The Truth Behind BPA and Breast Cancer,” By the BPA Coalition.
Earlier this week, the US-based Breast Cancer Fund (BCF) published a report on BPA exposure during pregnancy. The report is described as a “comprehensive review of the scientific literature” despite its selective use of only older studies that support BCF’s conclusion that BPA “disrupts fetal development and sets the stage for later-life diseases, including breast cancer”. The report also conspicuously avoids mention of some very comprehensive toxicity studies that show no link between BPA and breast cancer. Read the full story at BPA-Coalition.org.
“Arsenic and Old News,” by American Council on Science and Health.
In today’s “Let’s Worry About Nothing” news, there is a story that will either make people feel better, worse, or simply confused about a non-problem—tiny amounts of arsenic in rice. For the first time ever, the FDA published data on arsenic levels in rice and rice products, and the results should enable people to cross one needless worry off their list (except for Dr. Oz followers, who have far more to worry about than this. Read the full story at ACSH.org.
“No Case for “Toxic” School Supplies,” by American Council on Science and Health.
It’s that time of year again. Summer’s over, and school is starting again. And with this new year comes another (predictable) chance for activist groups posing as scientific experts to scare parents about “toxic” chemicals found in children’s school supplies. Some take it further as well, warning consumers about cosmetics, cleaning supplies and furniture. The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) even puts out a publication detailing “safer” school supplies that can be purchased for your children. Read the full article and watch the video at ACSH.org.
“Opinion: PCBs are Not ‘Toxic Time bombs,’” by Joe Schwarcz.
We hadn’t heard much about polychlorinated biphenyls since the fire at St-Basil-le-Grand in 1988, but we sure are hearing a lot now. There are two angles to news about the illegally stored PCB-filled transformers and contaminated waste in Pointe-Claire. There is the legal and political story, and there is the scientific one. Without question, the PCB-containing materials were improperly and illegally stored and will have to be removed and properly processed. That is the law. But when it comes to the science, the risk posed by the stored chemicals as well as the “toxicity” of PCBs have, in my view, been exaggerated, generating an unwarranted degree of public anxiety. Read the full article in the Montreal Gazzette.
“PCBs: Not What You Thought,” by American Council on Science and Health.
The always-brilliant Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Ph.D., a professor of chemistry (among other things) at McGill University in Montreal, has hit another one out of the park — as can be discerned from his latest “Dr. Joe” column in the Montreal Gazette. Dr. Schwarcz is one of the great skeptics and rebutters of junk-science scares, especially those based on the often-intentional misinterpretation of chemistry. This time he takes on the hot button issue of PCBs. Read the full article at ACSH.org.
“ACSH Advisor Nails It: Bad Studies About BPA,” American Council on Science and Health.
Dr. Geoffrey Kabat, in his blog on Forbes.com, elegantly reinforces a core ACSH message: That poor science is the basis for many of the scares promulgated by various activist groups. Dr. Kabat, a cancer epidemiologist at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, has a history of debunking phony cancer scares, as he did in his recent book, Hyping Health Risks (Columbia University Press, 2008). Read the full article at ACSH.org.
“What’s Killing the Bees? Pesticides, But Not the Ones You Think,” by Randy Oliver.
I’m a professional beekeeper and independent research scientist. My sons and I run a 1000-colony beekeeping operation. I talk on a daily basis with beekeepers and researchers around the world. Bees are my life. I’m also a lifelong environmentalist and organic gardener, coming of age at the time Silent Spring was published. So when bee colonies — including my own — started to die at an increased rate in the winter of 2004-5, roughly coinciding with the introduction of the neonicotinoid insecticides, the claim that they were killing off the bees resonated with me. But my scientific training called for me to actually check the facts of the situation. Read the full article at The Daily Caller.
“Advocating and Educating About the Safety of All Fruits and Veggies,” by SafeFruitsandVeggies.com.
Twenty thousand cancer cases could be prevented if half of all Americans increased their consumption of fruits and veggies by a single serving, according to a paper published in Food and Chemical Toxicology. A peer reviewed Swedish study involving 71,000 people followed over a 13-year period showed that a higher consumption of fruits and veggies leads to a longer life. These are compelling statistics. However, this information is often overshadowed by inaccurate and scary safety statements like produce is “contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system” or there is “widespread pesticide contamination on popular fruits and vegetables.” Read the full article on SafeFruitsandVeggies.com.
“What Do We Really Know About BPA And Fertility?” By Steve Hentges.
Last week, a study published in the journal Human Reproduction reported that bisphenol-A (BPA), a compound widely used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, altered maturation of human oocytes in vitro. Specifically, at high concentrations of BPA, oocyte maturation decreased while the incidence of oocyte degeneration increased. In an accompanying press release, the authors suggested that BPA “may cause a significant disruption to the fundamentals of the human reproductive process and may play a role in human infertility.” Read the full article on Science 2.0.
“Are Worries about Chemical Danger Overblown?” By Deborah Kotz.
Concerns about the dangers caused by the use of man-made chemicals in our environment has caused what Gordon Gribble, a professor of organic chemistry at Dartmouth, calls a “colossal mess,” causing some people to go to extreme lengths to avoid such chemicals. Some people take pains to avoid all things that they identify as dangerous chemicals to the point that it impairs their daily lives, a phenomenon known as “chemophobia.” It has spawned a multi-million dollar industry marketing foods and cleaning products labeled “all natural” or “chemical free.” Read the full article in the Boston Herald.
“Lead Paint: All Over but the Lawsuits,” By James R. Copland.
As if California and its municipalities were not already making life difficult for businesses and taxpayers, the Golden State’s courts could pile on too. On July 15, a trial began in San Jose, in which seven California counties (Santa Clara, Alameda, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Mateo, Solano and Ventura) and three cities (Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco) are suing five companies that once manufactured paint containing lead. The lawsuit alleges that these companies’ sale of lead-based paint created a “public nuisance” and that such companies should pay the municipalities a total of $1.4 billion for the cost of “abating” the problem — in essence, to support government-led efforts to find and replace all lead paint from older buildings. Read the full article in the Los Angeles Times.
“There Are A Thousand Ways To Do An Experiment Wrong,” by By Henry I. Miller and Jeff Stier.
The 18th century philosopher and economist Adam Smith observed, “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” That view is one justification for giving federal agencies so much money, control and discretion over commerce and other aspects of our lives. And when it comes to research on the risks of products or activities, because the government is here to protect us, so the thinking goes, the research it funds or performs is more trustworthy than that emanating from the private sector. Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“Berkeley Anti-Atrazine Crusader Blames ‘Big Ag’, Set To Sue, After University Dispute Over Dwindling Research Funds,” by Jon Entine.
Has ‘Big Ag’ finally nailed a long time nemesis? Or has an ideologically obsessed activist scientist with a long history of discredited studies finally fallen victim to his own bizarre behavior? Or has an ideologically obsessed activist scientist with a long history of discredited studies finally fallen victim to his own bizarre behavior? These are the competing narratives in play as journalists and policymakers try to make sense of reports last week that Tyrone Hayes, the University of California at Berkeley herpetologist who churned out study after study about the alleged dangers of a popular herbicide—research that many scientists and the federal government have found neither convincing nor reproducible—has at least temporarily been forced to shutter his lab because of a lack of funds. Hayes suggests the university has unfairly shut him down because of outside pressure from his longtime critics, including the Swiss-based chemical company Syngenta. Read the full article at Forbes.com.
“Four Foods You Should Probably Eat,” by American Council on Science and Health.
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviewed David Jack, an editor from Men’s Health about five foods one should supposedly never eat. And the ridiculous claims made by Jack were soaked right up by Gupta. James Cooper sums up the poor science behind each claim made by “nutrition expert” Jack in an on-point editorial in the Examiner entitled “Sanjay Gupta bats 1 in 5 on foods you should never eat.” The five foods were strawberries, white chocolate, sprouts, canned tomatoes and swordfish. Only one of those five, sprouts, actually pose a health threat. Raw sprouts have a higher likelihood of being contaminated by salmonella or E-coli, according to the FDA and EFSA, than other pre-packaged leafy veggies. Here’s a kicker though – organic sprouts are just as likely to be contaminated as non-organic sprouts. Read the full story on ACSH’s website.
“Food Fears Continue to Plague Americans, Whipped by Chemophobia,” by American Council on Science and Health.
In a recent issue of the journal Food Security, Dr. Gordon Gribble, Professor of Chemistry at Dartmouth College (and a long-time ACSH advisor) writes about Food Chemistry and Chemophobia. The latter is a term meaning an irrational fear of chemicals in the environment: that no matter how tiny an exposure one faces, it is to be avoided at all costs. Dr. Gribble points out how unnecessary such fears are and how baseless, given the fact that we are all made of “chemicals.” Read the full article and watch the video at the ACSH website.
“How Abysmal Scientific Research Is Used To Scare America’s Parents,” by Geoffrey Kabat.
We have become accustomed to a steady barrage of reports of hazards lurking in our environment that MAY pose a threat our health and that of our children. These include, among others, low-level radiation exposure from nuclear power plants and nuclear waste; possible water contamination from hydraulic fracturing; and exposure to a wide range of chemicals, including pesticides and industrial pollutants, in food, water, air, and consumer products. Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“‘Certified Naturally Grown’ – No Synthetic Pesticides, No Big Organic Fees,”By >Hank Campbell.
What happens if you adhere to every process restriction that a corporation that sells its food using the ‘organic’ label adheres to, but you don’t pay the fees to get a government ‘certification’ and still try to claim you are ‘organic’ at a local Farmer’s Market? About $20,000 in government fines, it seems. Read the full article at Science 2.0.
“CPSIA’s Fifth Anniversary,” by Nancy Nord.
On August 14, 2008, Congress passed and the President signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). It contained new regulatory authorities and enforcement tools (many of which I suggested to Congress when I served as acting chairman) to make it easier for CPSC to find and recall unsafe products made around the world. Five years ago today, the agency began to follow through on my pledge to implement the law fully and fairly. Unfortunately, as time progressed and the Commission expanded, that has not always been the path the agency has taken.
“Calculate Your Risk from Pesticide Residues,” by Angela Logomasini.
Ever worry how much pesticide residue you consume daily? Environmental activists, particularly at the Environmental Working Group, suggest that you can reduce your risks—and fears–by eating fewer of the fruits and vegetables with the highest residues, such as apples, and more of others, such as onions. IWF’s Julie Gunlock and I along with many others have pointed out why EWG’s claims are simply wrong. Read the full story on IWF’s Inkwell blog.
“Court Rulings Don’t Confirm Autism-Vaccine Link,” by Emily Willingham.
There’s a post making the rounds courtesy of something called “Whiteout Press” with the headline “Courts confirm vaccines cause autism.” It’s spreading across sites, through chains of elementary school parent communities, and onto radars of other communities that overlap. In other words, it’s viral. If only there were a vaccine for it. Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“Emily Oster: Anti-Alarmist Role Model,” by Julie Gunlock.
Saturday’s Wall Street Journal ran an article covering the many warnings pregnant women face today. It wasn’t just the content of the piece that caught and kept my attention; it was what the writer represented—a woman in charge of her own health and the health of her baby. This woman wasn’t going to be pushed around or unnecessarily frightened by the alarmists. Read the full story on IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“The Chemphobes Deadly Agenda: Flame Retardants,” by Julie Gunlock.
In January 2000, a fire broke out in a dormitory at Seton Hall University in New Jersey … In 2001, the New York Times covered the aftermath of the blaze and focused on demands that the school install sprinklers and adopt “mandatory fire retardancy standards” for dorm furniture. …. Now, over a decade past the Seton Hall fire, memories have faded and people are literally inventing things to fear. Enter the chemphobes who have been making noise about…you guessed it…flame-retardants, and are calling for the removal of these chemicals in furniture.
Read the full article in IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“Perspectives on Honeybees & Pesticides,” by Angela Logomasini.
If you believe the headlines, honeybees may soon be endangered, pesticides are to blame, and regulations offer an easy solution. Yet headlines belie the truth of the matter: Some honeybees have left their hives to never return, but we really don’t know why. Referred to as “colony collapse disorder,” the disappearance of honeybee colonies raises concerns that it will be increasingly difficult to produce food without enough of these pollinators. Ironically, the proposed “solutions” involving banning agro-technologies from pesticides to biotechnology, may do even more harm to agricultural production while not helping the honeybees at all. Read more here at SafeChemicalPolicy.org.
“Everyone Calm Down, There is No ‘Bee-pocalypse,’” Shawn Regan.
Honey BeeThe media is abuzz once again with stories about dying bees. According to a new report from the USDA, scientists have been unable to pinpoint the cause of colony collapse disorder (CCD), the mysterious affliction causing honey bees to disappear from their hives. Possible factors include parasites, viruses, and a form of pesticide known as neonicotinoids. Whatever the cause, the results of a recent beekeeper survey suggest that the problem is not going away. For yet another year, nearly one-third of US honey bee colonies did not make it through the winter. Read the full article at PERC.
“California Judge Rules on the Side of Sound Science – No Warning Labels Required,” by American Council on Science and Health.
In the culmination of a five-week trial, California’s Judge Brick ruled that health warnings would not be necessary on various fruit and vegetable products, 100% juices and baby foods, from companies including Del Monte, Dole, Gerber, Hain-Çelestial, J.M. Smucker, Seneca Foods and Welch’s. Read the full story on the American Council on Science and Health’s website.
“Humans Pay the Price for Anti-Pesticide Policies,” by Angela Logomasini.
I recently went home to Long Island to find that one of my siblings was undergoing treatment for a dangerous tick-transmitted disease. This isn’t the first time my family has suffered from a tick-related illness, and I blame New York State officials in part for outlawing useful tools to fight the region’s growing tick and mosquito populations. Read the full article at the Daily Caller.
“BPA And Breast Cancer: When Academics Spin Statistics,” by Trevor Butterworth.
A new study, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and published in a journal the institute subsidizes – Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) – raises an alarm. This is not, in itself, unusual; EHP is a repository of alarming claims about the environment; but what makes this study different – and alarming in its own terms – is not the claim that “human relevant” exposure to BPA causes breast cancer in rodents (as declared in the title of the paper: Perinatally Administered Bisphenol A Acts as a Mammary Gland Carcinogen in Rats), it’s that when you look at the statistical data there is no meaningful relationship between BPA and cancer whatsoever. The data presented are completely at odds with the claims made by the researchers. Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“An Alarming Call for BPA Research Funding,” by Angela Logomasini.
The headlines are out. The chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) is now “linked to infertility.” How do we know that? Researchers exposed immature eggs left over from fertility treatments to high levels of BPA in the lab. The result, notes The Boston Globe, was: “Only 35 percent of eggs exposed to the lowest levels of BPA had a normal number and configuration of chromosomes after they fully matured compared with 71 percent of those in a control group of eggs that weren’t exposed to BPA.” Read the full post at IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“Is TSCA Reform Reform Necessary?, by American Council on Science and Health.
No, that’s not a typo. With “reform” of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) almost a reality, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, has decided that the revised law was itself in need of revision, threatening its very existence. Here’s the backstory: for what seems like decades, environmental activists have been calling for “reform” of the 1976 chemical safety bill, claiming that it is “broken” because so few chemicals have been regulated under its aegis. Read the full article on the American Council on Science and Health website.
“Don’t be Fooled by ‘Natural’ Buzzwords”, by Christopher Labos.
I learned a new word recently. A colleague introduced me to the term “chemophobia” — the fear of chemicals. He showed me an article in the New York Times Magazine about people’s preference for taking a “natural” remedy over standard medication. This feeling is understandable, and I’ve come across it many times, but I was surprised to see that it had actually been given a name and that people were writing in defense of it. What I find particularly amazing about people’s wish for “natural” remedies is that there really is no such thing as an “artificial” remedy. Read the full article in the Montreal Gazette.
“A Stinging Rebuke of Anti-Agriculture Environmental Activists,” by Jeff Stier.
An estimated one hundred people braved scorching outdoor temperatures to attend a memorial service earlier this month. The honorees, however, were not heroes, community figures, or even human. They were bees apparently killed by accident in Wilsonville, Ore. Deemed a “bee kill,” the insects were found dead in a Target parking lot after a pesticide was sprayed on trees infested with aphids. Media attention to the incident has been heightened by anti-agricultural pesticide activists trying to score political points off the dead bugs. According to experts, however, the problem wasn’t the pesticide, it was the application. Read the full article at Pundicity.
“Organic Crops Are Tested For Pathogens, Right? Nope,” by Mischa Popoff.
View of rows of green and red lettuces.The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits synthetic nitrogen fertilizer in organic production and encourages natural compost. But it does not test for un-composted feces, relying instead on record-keeping and record-checking. As I have said before, this can create serious problems. At least 140 people across eight states have now fallen ill after consuming hepatitis-A-infected certified-organic frozen berries and pomegranate seeds; 61 were still in hospitals in mid-July. Read the full article on Heartland Institute’s Somewhat Reasonable blog.
“Anti-Pesticide Group Deplorably Exploits Tragedy in India to Promote Their Agenda,” by American Council on Science and Health.
Last week, 25 children in India died — and many others sickened — as a result of organophosphate pesticide poisoning which contaminated the children’s school lunches. It is suspected that the rice or cooking oil used to prepare the food contained lethal levels of the neurotoxin. This is even more of a tragedy given that this school lunch program was developed by the government in an effort to confront the malnutrition problem in India, which affects half of all Indian children. Read the full article at ACSH.org.
“The Autism-Measles Panic, 15 Years Later,” Emily Willingham.
Several news outlets today are reviewing the measles outbreak in Wales, citing public health experts who lay the blame for the burst in cases squarely at the feet of Andrew Wakefield’s bogus MMR vaccine scare in 1998 and the subsequent media coverage. The Wall Street Journal has a particularly in-depth story [hits paywall if you click the link here, but clicking from Google News seems to give full access], “Fifteen Years After Autism Panic, a Plague of Measles Erupts,” that digs into the roles of both in the Wales outbreak, that left 1219 people infected with measles and one in ten hospitalized. Most were hospitalized with pneumonia or dehydration, and most fell into the age range of children who should have been vaccinated around the time of the Wakefield scare. Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“Mercury And Autism Not Linked, Again,” by Emily Willingham.
A “sentinel” population in the vastness of the Indian Ocean has long attracted scientific interest because of how much dietary methylmercury its members consume. The thing is, though, that as much as scientists have looked, they have yet to find any problems related to this intake. In the latest study with this ‘sentinel population’, researchers again have found no link, this time between autistic behaviors and maternal mercury exposure during pregnancy. Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“Making Products and Food Less Safe,” by Julie Gunlock.
The environmental group behind the Mind the Store Campaign is dead set on making products less safe. That makes me mad. As a mother, I simply don’t understand why this group is so determined to take perfectly safe and reasonably priced products and make them less so—especially when many of the products the campaign targets are for kids. Thankfully, the campaign’s first phase (to pressure retailers to take products off store shelves) failed miserably. That’s good news for consumers as compliance with this campaign would have resulted in thousands of products being pulled from the marketplace. It’s also good news for moms because what the Mind the Store Campaign fails to mention is that compliance with the campaign would have resulted in thousands of products being subject to redesign—a redesign that would have left these products far less safe. – See more at: http://iwf.org/blog/2791751/#sthash.WwGI4xEY.dpufRead the full article at IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“Organic Food – What is an ‘Organic’ Label Really Worth?” by Jon Entine.”
Consumers are willing to pay a premium for organic products, but the realities can mean you get little more than a psychological boost for your buck. Supermarkets in North America and Europe are overflowing with organic-labelled fruit, vegetables, eggs and meats. More than 80 countries have organic standards and products carry one or more of 200 seals, logos and certification claims. But are consumers able to make informed choices? What’s the real ethical impact of “buying organic”? The answers are murkier than you might think.Read the full article at Ethical Corporation.com.
“The Precautionary Principle is a Blunt Instrument, a 90s Throwback Out of Place in an Era of ‘Smart Solutions’ and Big Data,” by Tracey Brown.
A world of over seven billion people faces some pretty complex questions about the trade-offs involved in producing food, using resources, reducing disease and achieving the societies and environments in which we want to live. There’s a collision between short-term and long-term outcomes, narrow interests and broader ones, and between problems and opportunities … the consequences of which may be unforeseeable. Fear of the unforeseeable gives the precautionary principle influence, but was there ever such a mismatch between a challenge and a solution? Read the full article at The Guardian.
“The BuzzFeed-ification of Science Reporting,” by Lisa De Pasquale.
For years I’ve been writing about how science reporting has devolved into hysteria and misinformation disguised as public service. TV reports lead with scare tactics like “Stay tuned for the killer in your kitchen cabinet!” with little regard to actual scientific evidence. It’s gotten so ridiculous that even a TV provider makes fun of them in their commercial. Soon we’ll be seeing reports on Sharknado preparation. Regarding the latest boogeyman, BPA, media reporting is actually in opposition to science, but the misinformation continues. Read the full article on Breitbart.com.
“European Descent into Dark Age Ignorance Continues Apace,” by American Council on Science and Health.
When the EU adopted the anti-science “precautionary principle” as its guiding paradigm a decade or more ago, we don’t think anyone (except perhaps its anti-progress advocates) had any idea how low the regulatory process would stoop in service of its ideology. This misguided concept asserts that any process or substance which has not been “proven safe” should be restricted or banned out of an excess of precaution, until such time as such proof can be obtained. The fact that “proving a negative” is impossible and unscientific is not taken into account, nor is the fact that if the principle is stringently applied, essentially all progress must come to a screeching halt. Read the full article and view the video on the American Council on Science and Health website.
“ACSH Sets Ocean Beach Straight: Mosquito Spraying is the Right Thing to Do,” by American Council on Science and Health.
When ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom, a long time resident of Ocean Beach on Fire Island, learned that his close friend Jim Capuano— a six year survivor of stage-4 colon cancer— nearly died last year from West Nile encephalitis, he knew he had to at least try to do something. The problem was a counterproductive policy that was instituted by the village decades ago—opting out of the annual mosquito control program conducted by the Suffolk County Department of Health. Suffolk County has been routinely spraying virtually all of Fire Island for years, but Ocean Beach routinely refused to participate. Read the full article and view the video on the American Council on Science and Health’s website.
“FDA Bans BPA in Already-BPA-Free Uses,” by Gayle S. Putrich.
The Food and Drug Administration will no longer permit the use of bisphenol A in packaging for baby formula. The controversial plastic feedstock was banned from baby bottles and cups last year. In issuing the new ban, however, FDA said it still considers BPA to be safe for packaging, but took its action because manufacturers have already abandoned its use in baby formula packaging. The plastics and chemical industry also said the move had more to do with market forces than chemical safety. Read the full article in Plastics News.
“Scientists Warn of Dangers of ‘Precautionary Science,’” by Angela Logomasini.
Eighteen scientists recently weighed in on the unscientific and dangerous nature of the so-called “precautionary principle” in the July issue of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. The article follows on the heels of a substantially similar letter to the EU president’s Chief Scientific Adviser that dozens of scientists signed in protest of the European Union’s draft regulation on endocrine active chemicals. Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“4-MEI Under Attack Again,” by American Council on Science and Health.
Those chemical alarmist groups are at it again, and as is so often the case, they are being aided and abetted by their pals in the regulatory state. Just before the long July 4th weekend, the anti-chemical activist group Center for Environmental Health released a report asserting that Pepsi is continuing to sell soda made with 4-MEI (4-methylimidazole) despite it being added to the list of carcinogens regulated under California’s Proposition 65. Although Pepsi products containing this “carcinogen” are no longer sold in California, products sold outside the state still contain 4-MEI. The group also highlights the fact that all Coca-Cola products – even those sold outside California – no longer contain this substance. Read the full article at American Council on Science and Health.
“New York State Bureaucrats Block Lyme Disease Control,” by Angela Logomasini.
As Americans gather outdoors to celebrate the 4th of July, ticks are also out — and in record numbers — particularly in certain places like the East End of Long Island. According to the Sag Harbor Express, New York State Department of Health officials recommend that individuals protect themselves by staying inside (the Health Department website does offer some more useful advice). Seriously, that’s just dumb, particularly when the state serves as a main roadblock to some real solutions. It’s high time that New York State officials got serious about controlling the state’s dangerous and growing tick population, which expands along with the population of its main host animal: white tail deer. Read the full article at OpenMarket.org.
“Problems With Pesticide Ban,” by K.
The province government needs to address some concerns about its proposed cosmetic pesticide ban, says the president of Keystone Agricultural Producers. Conservation Minister Gord Mackintosh announced last week that legislation will be introduced in fall that will ban synthetic weed control products beginning in December 2014, with a one-year grace period. The prohibition will apply to lawns, driveways, sidewalks and patios, as well as school grounds, playing fields, playgrounds and on health-care institution and child-care centre grounds. Read the full article on PortageOnline.
“8 Foods The USA Bans But Other Nations Don’t,” by Emily Willingham.
Perhaps you’ve seen the viral Buzzfeed article about the eight foods other countries banned that the US does not. Perhaps it occurred to you that just because something is used to slow down a fire doesn’t mean it or its components are always a bad thing (water, anyone?). But others have amply taken on the deep and depressing science literacy deficits of that particular article, so I thought I’d take a different tack today and bring you … Read the full article at Forbes.com.
“Autism And Air Pollution Caveats, Again,” by Emily Willingham.
We’ve been here before, coupling autism and air pollution. Now, there’s a new study out, making the same claims of correlation between air pollution exposure during pregnancy and the risk of having a child with autism. When the previous studies appeared a mere few months ago, I wrote about five caveats that should give pause to taking the findings too seriously. These five things were … Read the full article at Forbes.com.
“Mommy Guilt: It’s an Industry,” by Julie Gunlock.
[A]ccording to a national online survey just released by the Independent Women’s Forum, “mommy guilt” is pervasive among women. Yet, women should be aware that their guilt is proving to be a goldmine for many environmental and public-health organizations that capitalize on mommy guilt in order to further certain regulatory goals.This mommy-guilt industry is made up of organizations that present themselves as moderate voices working to ensure the health, safety, and happiness of families, yet they actively work to make life more difficult for overwhelmed mothers by spreading outright lies about perfectly normal and inexpensive products. Take for instance the recent “investigation” conducted by the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition. Read the full article at National Review Online.
“Alarmism May Contribute to West Nile Virus Illnesses,” by Angela Logomasini..
Alarmism and junk science surrounding pesticides may translate into more sicknesses and deaths related to the mosquito-carried West Nile Virus. Activists and others are attacking products that local public officials need to reduce mosquito populations and public health risks. In the past, activists have attacked insect repellants containing the chemical DEET. But one of the best things you can do to reduce risks for your kids and yourself is to use insect repellants, particularly those that contain the chemical DEET. Most recently, the State of Connecticut funded a study to assess the potential impacts of larvicides on lobsters that live in the Long Island Sound. Read the full story on IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“Fracking: Evidence-Smevidence,” by Vicki E. Alger.
Recall back in 2011 when the EPA released a non-peer reviewed report that linked hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to contaminated wells in Pavillion, Wyo.? At the time then-EPA administrator Lisa Jackson acknowledged there has never been a proven case of fracking affecting water.
Read the full article at IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“Shout out to Derek Lowe’s ‘A little Chemical Education,’” by American Council on Science and Health.
In a world dominated by the click of a button, where bad news seemingly travels at the speed of light, while science-based good news barely makes it into the media at all, it should come as no surprise that an article titled “Eight Foods That We Eat In The U.S. That Are Banned In Other Countries” would get a half million hits on BuzzFeed. Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“Eight Toxic Foods: A Little Chemical Education,” by Derek Lowe.
Many people who read this blog are chemists. Those who aren’t often come from other branch of the sciences, and if they don’t, it’s safe to say that they’re at least interested in science (or they probably don’t hang around very long!) It’s difficult, if you live and work in this sort of environment, to keep in mind what people are willing to believe about chemistry. But that’s what we have the internet for. Many science-oriented bloggers have taken on what’s been called “chemophobia”, and they’ve done some great work tearing into some some really uninformed stuff out there. But nonsense does not obey any conservation law. It keeps on coming. It’s always been in long supply, and it looks like it always will be. Read the full article at In the Pipeline.