How Wrong Is The Latest “Dirty Dozen” List? By Steve Savage.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) says that it “helps protect your family from pesticides.” The purpose of this Applied Mythology post is to “help protect your family from dangerously misleading information from the EWG.” Each year since 1991, the USDA has been publishing the results from a large-scale pesticide residue monitoring program called the PDP. Each year, a different set of crops is chosen and samples are purchased from regular stores and tested. Year after year, the results of those studies confirm the safety of the food supply. Year after year the EWG misrepresents the data to say otherwise. Read the full article on Science 2.0.
How Wrong Is The Latest “Dirty Dozen” List? By Steve Savage.
“Chemophobic Anti-Pesticide Groups Are At It Again,” By Paul Driessen.
Modern environmentalism rose to ascendancy on opposition to pesticides, specifically DDT. “If the environmentalists win on DDT,” Environmental Defense Fund scientist Charles Wurster told the Seattle Times in 1969, “they will achieve a level of authority they have never had before.” Using Rachel Carson’s often inaccurate book Silent Spring to drive a nasty campaign, they succeeded in getting the Environmental Protection Agency to ban US production and use of DDT in 1972, leading to a de facto global ban even to combat malaria. Read the full article on Townhall.com.
“Will We ‘Bee’ Smart about Pesticide Regulation? by Henry Miller
On April 29, the European Commission failed for the second time to get the votes necessary to pass a proposed two-year ban on several innovative agricultural pesticides known as neonicotinoids (“neonics”). But immediately after reporting that a “qualified majority” of member states had not been reached, the Commission’s health and consumer affairs commissioner, Tonio Borg, announced that he would institute the ban administratively. Read the full article on the Daily Caller.
“Surprising Junk Science on FOX News,” by Angela Logomasini.
News stories trumping junk science are common, but I expect better from FOX News, which claims to be “fair and balanced” and hosts great shows like STOSSEL. And they’ve run some of my commentaries, which I appreciate. That’s why I am perplexed by some FOX reports on environmental issues, many of which seem to peddle junk science pushed by activists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“Collapse Of Bee Colonies Is Latest Target For Anti-Pesticide Groups,” By Paul Driessen.
Beekeeping is big business, and everyone loves honey and foods made possible by pollination. But “colony collapse disorder” threatens bees and crop pollination in many areas. CCD and other bee die-offs are nothing new. What we now call colony collapse was first reported in 1869, and many outbreaks since then have sent scientists scurrying for explanations and solutions. Fungi, varroa mites and other possible suspects have been implicated, but no definitive answer has yet been found. Read the full article in Investors Business Daily.
“Mommy Blogs Feed Chemophobia,” by Julie Gunlock.
When I started writing about chemicals a few years ago, I was driven by my own interest in the subject. As a new mom, I was suddenly hearing a lot more about the seemingly innocuous things that could harm my baby. I’m not talking about obvious things—like unfriendly dogs, child predators, broken playground equipment, and asteroids hurtling toward earth. No, no. I was being told that I needed to worry about plastic sippy-cups, non-organic cotton clothing, genetically modified corn in baby snacks, and…innocent-looking rubber duckies. Read the full article in IWF’s Inkwell blog.
“‘Shocking’ Truth about Government and Soap,” by Angela Logomasini.
Is your hand wash slowly killing you as government regulators sit idly by? Sounds silly, but that’s what environmentalists seem to think about an antibacterial agent called triclosan, which is used in soap and other consumer products. According to the NRDC: “In laboratory studies, they [antibacterial chemicals] have been shown to disrupt hormones and can encourage the growth of drug-resistant bacteria or ‘superbugs.’” The group wants consumers to urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “to pull products containing triclosan and triclocarban from store shelves.” The NRDC is also suing FDA for not completing its scientific review of triclosan, which has dragged on for more than 40 years. Read the full story on OpenMarket.org.
“Dirty Dozen List Loses its Punch,” by Richard Cornett.”
This year’s release of the Dirty Dozen List produced by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is beginning to shed its sizzle because of a full-court press by agricultural interests to focus on science-based information. Each year the EWG comes out with a list that ranks fruits and vegetables according to pesticide residue levels. For years the list has been a constant irritant to agriculture because it gives the impression that conventional fruits and veggies are replete with globs of unsafe pesticides and suggests consumers buy their produce from organic sources. These unfounded claims were usually reinforced by widespread media coverage each year. Read the full story in the Farm Press.
“Coming To A Theater Near You: California’s “Green Chemistry” Nightmare,” by Hugh Hewitt.
I should be the last guy complaining. My law partner Liz McNulty and I will spend many a billable hour over the next decade or two advising companies on what to do with the avalanche of regulations about to descend on them courtesy of California’s Department of Toxic Substances. Their “green revolution” nightmare is about to begin, and the only folks who will benefit from it are employed by the government, environmental activists, or lawyers advising the private sector on what to do. Read the full article on HughHewitt.com
“The EPA Opens a New Review of Handsoap, But Government Study Goes on for Decades,” by Paul Alexander.
In Washington, the Wheels of Government Grind Slowly — When they Grind at All. One area of government habitually plagued by bureaucracy is the regulatory agencies, among them the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration. Reviews of substances regulated by these agencies can take years, sometimes many years. Few reviews have lasted longer than the one afforded a chemical compound called triclosan, a widely used substance contained in products in the vast majority of American homes today. Read the full article at Huffington Post.
“BPA Replacement Faces Same Attacks as BPA,” by Kenneth Artz.
As anti-chemical activists attempt to ban the safe but controversial chemical Bisphenol A from plastic products, a new study claims the most viable replacement chemical presents greater human health concerns than the exhaustively tested Bisphenol A. Read the full article in Climate and Environment News.
“Environmental Activist Scare Debunked,” by Jeff Stier.
In a piece for the Huffington Post, Dr. Henry I. Miller and I take on the Environmental Working Group for scaring the public about the safety of fruits and vegetables. We also take on the scare-hungry media for reporting on the junk-science as if it had any merit. Read the full story on the NCPPR blog.
“Nutritious Apples, Poisonous Claims,” By Angela Logomasini
Eat fewer apples, strawberries and grapes, and more corn, onions and pineapples, and you’ll protect yourself and your children from “toxic” pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group’s 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. This advice, however, is nothing more than dangerous hogwash. Read the full article in the Washington Times.
“Environmental Scaremongers Strike Again,” by Center for Consumer Freedom.
In the past we’ve covered the so-called “Campaign for Safe Cosmetics,” (CSC) an environmentalist scare spinoff of the Environmental Working Group (perhaps better billed the “Environmental Worry Group”). EWG is so prone to overblowing fears of chemicals that 79 percent of members of the Society of Toxicology surveyed thought EWG overstated chemical risks, so it’s understandable that CSC, its corporate child, is hyping a study that found certain heavy metals in lipstick and other makeup. Read the full article on the Center for Consumer Freedom website.
“My Bees, Pesticides and Washington State’s Biofuel Mandate,” by Todd Myers.
The sun is slowly arriving and the bees in my new beehives, as well as bees across the Northwest, will be happier for it. As they begin to pollinate flowers and orchards, however, they will face a number of challenges: Varroa mites, wasps, pesticides and loss of suitable bee pasture. Recently, various members of the environmental community have seized on the threat from one type of pesticide, known as neonicotinoids, claiming it is responsible for what has been a very difficult few years for bees and beekeepers. Read the full article on the Washington Policy Center Blog.
“Choosy moms choose…” by Anastasia Bodnar.
On Twitter the other day, I was told that “moms choose organic” for their kids. I’m a mom (almost) and I don’t choose organic. Personally, I dislike the implication that I am doing wrong by not buying organic and I think it causes harm to spread such an idea because it might discourage people from eating healthy foods that don’t have that label (or encourage people to eat junk food just because it’s labeled organic). Also, organic is a small percentage of food and beverage sales in the US (4% overall, 11% of produce¹) so it’d be impossible for very many moms to be choosing organic exclusively or for even part of their diet. Read the full article on The Biofortified Blog.
“The Politics of Bees Turns Science on its Head — Europe Bans Neonics While Local Beekeepers, Scientists Say Action is Precipitous,” by Jon Entine.
In a move they say will protect bees, the European Commission announced on Monday that it would impose a two-year ban on neonicotinoid insecticides, although a sharp divide remains whether politics or science is driving this policy change. …. They have announced that the ban will likely become effective at the end of the year even though the scientific questions as to what has caused the bee deaths remain largely unanswered. Farmers in Europe and elsewhere are almost universally opposed to even a temporary ban absent definitive real world research, calling it reckless. As they note, because bans exist on more toxic organophosphates—the chemicals that neonics replaced because of their more benign safety profile—there are no real alternatives. Read the full article on Forbes.com. See also this piece.
“Is Glyphosate Poisoning Everyone?” by Derek Lowe.
I’ve had a few people send along this article, on the possible toxicological effects of the herbicide glyphosate, wondering what I make of it as a medicinal chemist. It’s getting a lot of play in some venues, particularly the news-from-Mother-Nature outlets. After spending some time reading this paper over, and looking through the literature, I’ve come to a conclusion: it is, unfortunately, a load of crap. Read the full article on Corante.
“Condemning Monsanto With Bad Science Is Dumb,” By Tamar Haspel.
Did you see the latest indictment of Monsanto making the rounds? It’s a “peer-reviewed” paper in the journal Entropy, co-authored by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff, blaming glyphosate, the compound in the herbicide Roundup, for virtually all the ills that can befall us. But here’s the thing — they made it up. Read the full article on Huffington Post.
“Modish, Anti-Science Thinking Won’t Advance Breast Cancer Prevention,” Geoffrey Kabat.
Two months ago an entity called the Inter-Agency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee, or IBCERCC, issued a 270-page report entitled “Breast Cancer and the Environment: Prioritizing Prevention.” Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“Why BPA (And Other Chemicals) Don’t Belong On Proposition 65,” by Angela Logomasini.
If you want to have fun in California’s Disneyland, avoid reading the warning signs saying that products used in the park may give you cancer and reproductive problems! They’re not just a buzz kill, they are plain dumb and misinformed. But it’s state law that they be there. You can find them in Starbucks and many other places throughout the state too. Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“Push to Ban Neonicotinoid Insecticides Takes on Political Overtones: Honeybee Research Questioned,” by The National Cotton Council.
As environmental activists coalesce around a ban on the neonicotinoid insecticides as the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a timely article recently published in Forbes magazine by Jon Entine, a senior fellow at George Mason U., calls for cooler heads to prevail on the issue. Entine points out that, over the past five years, some 30 percent of bees in the United States have disappeared — about 50 percent more than the rate expected. Read the full article on the Southeast Farm Press.
“BPA Delisted: Not ‘Toxic,’” Angela Logomasini
On April 11, California regulators placed the chemical Bisphenol A on its list of “toxic” substances under its Proposition 65 law. BPA has been used safely for more than 60 years to make hard, clear plastics and resins that line metal food containers to prevent development of dangerous pathogens. Dr. Gilbert Ross explains … Read the full article on IWF’s Inkwell blog.
“Ground Zero Cancer: Cynical Manipulation of Statistics Rather than Science,” by American Council on Science and Health.
This week’s announcement from Mount Sinai Hospital’s World Trade Center Health Program that Ground Zero workers have been found to have a “15 percent higher rate of cancer” than expected set off cries for more compensation for the heroic WTC victims of the toxic dust at the site of the terrorist destruction over 11 years ago. Read the full story in ACSH Dispatch.
“The Cult of Organics,” by Julie Gunlock
At a playdate with a group of mothers, I once horrified an impossibly hip, young mom by telling her I refused to eat organic food because it was too expensive and that I felt I wouldn’t be buying a better product. The look of shock on her face made me wonder if I had suddenly experienced a Janet Jackson-esque wardrobe malfunction. After glancing down to make sure I wasn’t flashing anyone (and to check that Justin Timberlake wasn’t lurking behind a bush), I tried to calmly explain my position on organic versus conventionally grown food. Read the full article on IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“BPA on Prop 65 list: Now You See it, Now You Don’t, Thankfully,” By Gil Ross.
After the politically-motivated listing of the plastic hardener Bisphenol-A (BPA) was at last squeezed onto California’s nefarious Proposition 65 list of allegedly toxic chemicals, a local Sacramento judge kicked it off, correctly stating that the chemical’s listing flew in the face of scientific and regulatory evidence. A division of California’s environmental agency finally figured out a way to list BPA, a poster-child for “toxic chemicals” and “endocrine disrupters” of the radical environmental activists. Read the full article on ACSH Dispatch.
“It’s Time to ‘Reform TSCA,’Again: N.Y.Times,” By American Council on Science and Health.
According to the latest New York Times editorial, the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act must be “reformed,” since it’s “toothless.” How did the expert scientists writing the Times‘ editorial know how ineffective TSCA was? Well, here’s their irrefutable logic: “The failure of the law can be read in these dismal statistics: since 1976, [out of 85,000 chemicals], the EPA has issued regulations to control (sic) only five existing chemicals.” Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“Alliance for Food and Farming: Read Actual USDA Pesticide Report, Not Re-Interpretation,” by Alliance for Food and Farming.
Last month the United States Department of Agriculture released its annual Pesticide Data Program Report. Among the USDA findings — “U.S. food does not pose a safety concern based upon pesticide residues.” In light of activist groups’ annual release of their re-interpretation of the USDA PDP report findings, the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) urges the media and consumers to read the government report to see firsthand what it actually says. “Under the Obama Administration, the USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency clearly and concisely explain in the PDP report how the government and corresponding regulatory processes and systems are protective of all consumers, including infants and children,” says Marilyn Dolan, Executive Director of the AFF. “However, some groups take these USDA PDP report findings, manipulate the data and turn a positive report about food safety into a negative one. All we’re asking is that people actually read the USDA PDP report instead of the re-interpretation from activist groups, like the ‘Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce’ and its ‘Dirty Dozen’ list.” Read the full press release posted on The Wall Street Journal website.
“National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Champions Shoddy Journalism on Endocrine Active Chemicals,” By Jon Entine.
As Jon Entine of the Genetic Literacy Project reports, the NRDC is not exactly known for scientific nuance. So, there was little surprise when blogger Mae Wu took to the cyberwaves recently to plug an NBC Dateline story promoting the alleged dangers of “endocrine disrupting” chemicals.According to Wu, we should all be shocked—yes shocked—that an NBC producer and her family found trace chemicals in their urine—microscopic amounts of BPA, triclosan and phthalates—all of which are approved and not harmful as commonly used, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“Are Concerns About BPA Overblown?” By Chris Kresser.
By now I’m sure most of you have heard claims that bisphenol A (BPA) is a harmful chemical that should be avoided as much as possible. Perhaps you even read that on this blog. Researchers, clinicians, environmental groups and the media have all sounded the alarm on BPA, pointing to a large body of animal evidence which suggests that it has estrogenic effects (i.e. increases estrogen activity) which in turn cause numerous health problems, ranging from obesity to infertility. But recent evidence in humans (and animals) has led me to reconsider my original position on BPA. Read the full article on Chris Kresser’s blog.
“Let’s Preserve our Sanity when it Comes to Canned Food” by Joe Schwarcz.
It may not be quite on a par with the Manhattan Project or with the challenge of beating the Soviets to the moon, but the race to find a substitute for the lacquer used to line food cans is heating up. The canning industry is frantically trying to find a replacement for the epoxy resin currently being used because of concerns that bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that has been vilified as an “endocrine disruptor,” might be leaching into the contents. BPA is combined with other components to form a polymer that keeps the metal from reacting with the food. Once the BPA has been incorporated into the polymer, it no longer has any hormonal effects. But there are always traces of unreacted BPA left over that can indeed leach out. Read the full article in the Montreal Gazette.
“Why You Shouldn’t Buy Organic,” by Jayson Lusk.
Everywhere you turn, you hear “organic is healthier”, “organic is greener”, or “you absolutely MUST buy organic.” It’s not a question of whether we want to eat healthy, environmentally friendly food — who doesn’t want that? The question is whether organic lives up to the hype and whether it’s worth it to pay a hefty premium. One of the problems with organic is that few shoppers know what the term really means, and they project onto the nebulous word all their hopes and dreams of good eating. Despite what many believe, organic doesn’t mean food from small farms, produced without pesticides, or grown in the USA. Read the full article on Huffington Post.
“NYT: Paper of Alarmism, by Julie Gunlock.”
The New York Times has a well established reputation for spreading alarmism about chemicals. The “paper of record” takes the lead in promoting (to its seven or so fawning readers) the anti-science propaganda so prevalent in today’s media. The paper’s editors don’t even require these topics be covered by science writers; instead, one of the paper’s food writers and a foreign policy writer regularly use their columns to rant on issues they know nothing about. Read the full article on IWF’s Inkwell blog.
“Colony Collapse Disorder—it Sounds Catastrophic and Frightening,” by Jon Entine.
It’s estimated that over the past five years, some 30 percent of bees in the United States have either disappeared or failed to survive to pollinate blossoms in the spring. That’s about 50% more than the rate expected. The problem is direr in some other countries. In Spain, recent data indicate a loss close to 80% of beehives. On the other hand, in Canada and Australia, there is no sign of Colony Collapse Disorder. What may be causing the die-offs and why the dramatic disparities from one region to another? Scientists have a number of hypotheses but the activist community has coalesced around one explanation: They blame it on neonicotinoids, also known as neonics, which are the widest used class of insecticide ever. Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“Another Chemical Misadventure,” by American Council on Science and Health.
Yesterday’s Dispatch took note of the new momentum (or lack thereof) for “reform” of the chemical law known as TSCA, which if enacted would needlessly tighten already protective regulations about chemical safety. Now we learn that, in the same spirit of hyper-precaution based on nothing other than political agenda, the powers-that-be in the high levels of California Health (actually the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, OEHHA) have decided after lengthy debate to put bisphenol-A (BPA) on their Prop 65 list. Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“TSCA ‘reform’: Looking for Toxics in all the Wrong Places,” by American Council on Science and Health.
It’s that time of year, the season when “reform” of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) rises from the ashes, and stroller brigades and anti-technology “environmental” groups remind us that without a new chemical law, the sky will fall — again. The main proponent of this annual silliness is the 88-year old senior (literally) Senator from New Jersey, Democrat Frank Lautenberg. Each year for the past 5 he has tried to get his “Kid Safe Chemical Act” through the Environment and Public Works Committee, and each year his vote count diminishes — but not his amazing drive and unyielding optimism. He would be well advised to save his energies for other crusades. Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“BPA Bottles Harm Babies? Only If You Batter Them With One, Says Top British Scientist,” By Trevor Butterworth.
After stepping down as chief scientific advisor to the British government on April 1, Sir John Beddington Sir John Beddington exhaled a long list of real and nonsense risks that politicians should do more to fight for and against at a valedictory discussion held at the UK’s Science Media Centre. Of particular interest to readers of this column are his comments on the failure of politicians – and particularly the European Union – to grasp the difference between a hazard and a risk when crafting policy. A hazard is something that can cause harm; a risk is the probability that a hazard will cause harm. Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“A Tipping Point on BPA?” Julie Gunlock
Over on Forbes, Trevor Butterworth examines whether we’re starting to see a tipping point in the controversy over the chemical bisphenol-A, better known as BPA (which I’ve written about previously here, here, and here). Butterworth suggests we might be seeing something resembling comity emerging from the two camps–the regulatory agencies around the world who say the evidence does not show a risk to humans and the anti-chemical and environmental activists who claim chemicals used in everyday products and food packaging is dangerous. read the full article on IWF’s Inkwell blog.
“Leading Environmental Group Scientist Praises FDA’s Ground-Breaking Research On BPA: A Tipping Point In The Controversy?” by Trevor Butterworth.
A trio of scientists from the Food and Drug Administration trooped up to the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Boston in February to talk about the work the agency has been doing in conjunction with the National Toxicology Program on bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in a huge range of applications from food safety linings to cash register receipts and medical equipment. The FDA scientists were ready to be attacked: while regulatory agencies around the world keep insisting that the evidence does not show a risk to humans, environmental activists – backed by a handful of academic scientists – claim there is; and the debate has been intense and often unedifying. Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“Relax – Food Chemicals can’t Hurt You,” Joe Schwarcz
I don’t think Einstein had chemical anxiety or the number of chemicals in our urine in mind when he famously stated that “not everything that counts can be measured and not everything that can be measured counts.” But I think the quote has great relevance given that scarcely a day goes by without some concerned group clamouring about our exposure to “untested” chemicals and lamenting the “fact” that we have become a nation of “unwitting guinea pigs.” Read the full article in the Montreal Gazette.
“The Cancer Clusters That Weren’t,” by Angela Logomasini
A recent post in ACSH Dispatch examines an interesting question: How likely is it that some U.S. communities have elevated cancer rates, a.k.a, “cancer clusters,” because of chemical pollution? The answer: not very. ACSH points to an enlightening article published in Slate by George Johnson, who notes: Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“On Chemicals and Cancer: Response to Fran Drescher,” by Angela Logomasini.
I was pleased to see that Fran Drescher responded to my article on cancer trends. Drescher’s willingness to share what she learned from her struggle with cancer as well as her work at Cancer Schmancer offers some important contributions in the battle against cancer, but her focus on chemicals is misplaced. Read the full article on IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“No, Cows Don’t Make Fertilizer,” By Steve Savage.
Fertilizer that comes from cows or other animals does not really originate with them. Manure from cows and other animals has been used as a crop fertilizer for millennia, and it is still used today for about 5% of US crop acres and for a high proportion of organic acres. It is often spoken of as an alternative to “outside inputs” for crops and as a superior option relative to “synthetic fertilizers.” … But the animals didn’t “make” any of those nutrients. For instance the ~2% nitrogen in cow manure came from whatever they ate (grass, corn, soybeans…) and those crops, except for the soybeans, were mostly fertilized with “synthetic nitrogen.” Read the full article on Science 2.0“S
“How the Left Breeds Alarm to Win Policy Battles,” by Julie Gunlock.
The president told Americans to gird for a disaster. Sequestration would result in unspeakable suffering. The elderly would starve; kids would miss vaccinations; teachers would be laid off; airplanes would crash mid-air due to a dearth of air traffic controllers. And don’t bother calling for help—no one’s coming thanks to massive layoffs of police and firefighters. Real the full article in The Washington Times.
“The Spin Does not Stop Here,” by Paul Alexander
Both the right and the left complain about media bias, when news organizations favor one political ideology over another. But can pure science be subjected to media bias? These days, a debate is raging that could have a profound effect on business, especially food production manufacturing. It centers on a chemical named Bisphenol A, or BPA. Read the full article on the Daily Caller.
“How Junk Science Distorts What We Read, And The Way We’re Governed,” by By Kerri Tolockzko.
There is an enormous difference between political activism and medical science. Standing between should be media investigating instead of just taking notes, and physicians reviewing studies with an objective eye for methodology and intent, not simply taking a researcher’s word for it. Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“Stroking Chemophobia,” by Keith Kloor
In recent years, people have become increasingly concerned about unwanted substances lurking in their furniture and food. These are industrial chemicals we are exposed to every day and that have been found to accumulate in our bodies, “endangering our health in ways we have yet to understand,” CNN asserted in 2007. Read the full article at Discover Magazine.
“Maybe the Worst Paper Ever?,” By Josh Bloom.
A paper (BPA.pdf) published in the March issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology about the association between bisphenol A (BPA) and childhood asthma is nothing short of mind-boggling. Possibly enough so to create a new acronym of data interpretation– GIMBIO–garbage in, mind-blowing idiocy out. Read the full article in Medical Progress Today.
“Alarmism About PesticidesCan Be Dangerous,” by Carrie L. Lukas
IWF has written before about the often overlooked benefits of innovation in agriculture (such as genetically modified foods) and the serious unintended consequences when environmentalists get it wrong. Read the full article on IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“Experts Criticise Study Linking Chemical BPA with Baby Brain Problems,” by Sunanda Creagh.
A new study that found the common plastic ingredient bisphenol A (BPA) may harm a baby’s brain development in-utero has been described as ‘misleading’ and ‘not relevant’ by Australian experts. Read the full article on The Conversation.
“Anti BPA Crusade Discrediting Science And Environmental Health, Says Leading, Independent Expert,” By Trevor Butterworth.
Professor Richard Sharpe is a leading expert on male reproductive health, directing a research team at the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The MRC, which is celebrating its centenary this year, is one of the world’s oldest medical research institutes, publicly funded and wholly independent of government. Among the discoveries by scientists working under its aegis are penicillin and the structure of DNA. Sharpe’s focus on reproductive problems has put him at the forefront of research into phthalates, a family of chemicals that make plastic flexible, and, more generally, endocrinology, endocrine disruption (how trace exposures to environmental chemicals may adversely effect hormonal function), and the impact of lifestyle effects (such as diet) and other health issues (such as obesity). Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“‘Cancer Prevention Tips’ to Avoid,” by Angela Logomasini.
If you want to reduce your cancer risks, be careful what advice you follow. A number of activist groups offer a range of cancer-fighting tips that don’t mesh with the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) latest report on cancer trends. Read full article on Huffington Post.
“WSJ: No Ill Effect Found in Human BPA Exposure,” by Joe Bast.
Bisphenol A, known as BPA, has been the target of environmentalist concern for many years. But just like DDT, atrazine, and even dioxin, this much-studied chemical has never been found to cause any harm. Read the full article at Somewhat Reasonable.
“Mark Bittman’s Recipe For Alarmism,” by Julie Gunlock.
Scrolling through my Facebook feed yesterday, an article posted by well-known hand wringer, food nanny, big government proponent and sometimes food writer Mark Bittman caught my eye. The article’s headline was classic alarmism: “WHO panel calls hormone-disrupting chemicals a ‘global threat.’” The story highlighted a new World Health Organization report that (natch) called for the ban of certain chemicals. Read the full article on IWF’s Inwell blog.
“Bisphenol A Exposure in Humans May Be Too Low to Cause Problems by Mimicking Estrogen,” by Science Daily.
Feb. 15, 2013 — A controversial component of plastic bottles and canned food linings that have helped make the world’s food supply safer has recently come under attack: bisphenol A. Widely known as BPA, it has the potential to mimic the sex hormone estrogen if blood and tissue levels are high enough. Now, an analysis of almost 150 BPA exposure studies shows that in the general population, people’s exposure may be many times too low for BPA to effectively mimic estrogen in the human body. Read the full story on Science Daily.
“Yet More Evidence that BPA is Safe,” by Julie Gunlock.
The chem-nannies have been very effective in scaring women (particularly moms) about BPA—a chemical used in a variety of everyday items from eyeglasses to plastic food containers to water bottles. Today, the chemical is banned in all baby bottles and other baby products (only because industry requested an across-the-board ban, not because BPA was found to be toxic) and attempts are being made nationwide to ban the chemical entirely. Read the full article on IWF’s Inkwell blog.
“New Green Rules In California Take Safe Chemicals Out Of Use,” By Angela Logomasini
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That’s the approach California bureaucrats are taking to implement the state’s 2009-passed “green chemistry” law. Unfortunately, if they do eventually succeed, it could cost consumers and the economy dearly. Read the full article at Investors Business Daily.
“To Frack or not to Frack: Governor Cuomo, Make Up Your Mind!” By American Council on Science and Health.
Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo yet again delayed making a decision on whether to allow hydraulic fracturing — fracking — in the state of New York. Fracking has been under review by state regulators since before Mr. Cuomo took office in January 2011. Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“Should breast cancer research be redirected? by American Council on Science and Health.”
In a recent New York Times article, reporter Denise Grady sheds light on a report stating that too little of the money spent on breast cancer research goes toward finding “environmental causes of the disease and ways to prevent it.” Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“New Study Finds a Link between Smog and Birth Weight — Maybe,” by American Council on Science and Health.
A new international study is suggesting that pregnant women exposed to smog have a greater risk of having a baby with low birth weight. Researchers led jointly by Tracey J. Woodruff, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at University of California San Francisco and Jennifer Parker, of the National Center for Health Statistics at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published their findings this week in Environmental Health Perspectives. Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“Breast Cancer Victims Suffer From Foolish Priorities,” by Angela Logomasini.
In government, political priorities often supersede science and good health policy. In fact, a recent government report may shift funding away from useful research to study the most unlikely causes of breast cancer. More women will suffer in the future than necessary as money for useful research shrinks. Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“Flame Retardant Ban Advocates Admit New Ban Repeats Errors of Last Ban,” by Todd Myers.
Last week the House Environment Committee in Olympia considered HB 1294 which would ban a certain type of flame-retardant compound and create a process for identifying alternatives. Supporters of the legislation argue this will get us off the “toxic treadmill” of moving from one risky compound to the next. Read the full article on the Washington Policy Center Blog.
“Prevention Magazine: Preventing Informed Health Choices,” by Angela Logomasini.
It’s growing increasingly difficult to find reliable health advice. In the past, I thought Prevention magazine was a good source, but they seem to have fallen prey to dangerous junk science and selective reporting. Consider just a few examples of their questionable claims: Read the full article on IWF’s Inkwell blog.
“TSCA Reform: Reasonable Certainty of Harm to Animals,” By Angela Logomasini.
European animal rights activists made a big mistake in 2006 when they failed to fight passage in the European Union of REACH, which is short for Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals. Now that the U.S. Congress may soon consider a similar law, will American animal rights groups fight it or repeat the mistakes of their European counterparts? Read the full story on OpenMarket.org.
“Three Questions for Advocates of the Latest Ban on Flame-Retardants,” by Todd Myers.
Tomorrow, the House Environment Committee will consider HB 1294, the latest ban on flame-retardant compounds. The bill would ban a compound called Tris and would give the Department of Ecology the authority to ban future flame-retardants “unless a manufacturer demonstrates that there is not a technically feasible safer alternative to the flame retardant.” Read the full story on the Washington Policy Center blog.
“Don’t Take Medical Advice From the New York Times Magazine,” by By Michelle M. Francl.
The dangerous chemophobia behind its popular story about childhood arthritis: Meadows…suffers from a condition that makes it difficult to be an equal-opportunity skeptic and infinitely harder to make informed decisions about her son’s treatment: chemophobia. An irrational fear of chemicals, which drives her to let a friend of a friend—a social worker and massage therapist—prescribe her son’s drug treatment. Read the full article in Slate.
“Culture of Alarmism Watch: Laundry,” by Julie Gunlock
One of the most anomalous stories of 2012 involved laundry detergent. Apparently a few kids were eating single-dose laundry detergent packets because they were mistaking them for candy (man/baby Senator Chuck Schumer had the same problem, admitting he almost ate one of these packets, but mercifully was saved by his quick-thinking staffer/babysitter who yanked it from his chubby little baby/man hand before he could gobble it up). Read the full article on IWF’s Inkwell blog.
“South Africa Using its Smarts — and DDT — to Prevent Malaria,” by American Council on Science and Health.
Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) continues to be used in South Africa in the hopes of eliminating the spread of malaria in the country by 2018. DDT has proved to be a vital tool in working to reach this goal, and South Africa was praised for its efforts in dealing with the spread of malaria at an African Union event. Read the full story in ACSH Dispatch.
“NY Times’ Bittman: The Chemical Hitman,” by American Council on Science and Health.
New York Times columnist Mark Bittman isn’t content just to scare people on food issues — he’s now branched out into other topics. Today he writes in “The Cosmetics Wars,” about how American consumers are purportedly covering their faces, lips and hair with a long list of toxins. Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“Atrazine: Still not a Carcinogen,” by American Council on Science and Health
Experts have looked at the evidence condemning the weedkiller atrazine as a “carcinogen” and found it wanting. The four researchers were affiliated with the Tisch Cancer Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Harvard University and the University of London. Read the full story on ACSH Dispatch.
“Suffolk County, NY Bans BPA in Cash Register Receipts,” by Alyssa Carducci.
Suffolk County, New York became the first government entity in the nation to ban Bisphenol-A from cash register receipts. The decision by the Suffolk County Legislature defies the findings of government health and science bodies around the world. Read the full article in Environment & Climate News.
“Quack Alert: Dr. Oz on Bisphenol A,” by Angela Logomasini.
Television personalities that advise us on personal health—mental or physical—have dominated daytime television for some time now. It’s great when these shows offer helpful, positive advice. So why then do they have to ruin it by getting political and spouting junk or incomplete science? Dr. Oz is the perfect example. Read the full story on IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“Herbicide Poses No Cancer Risk In Drinking Water,” by Angela Logomasini.
Over the years, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) have repeatedly issued bogus reports claiming that Americans face serious cancer risks from trace chemicals found in drinking water. A new study challenges their claims regarding one of these activists’ key targets: the herbicide atrazine, which farmers use to control weeds rather than tilling the soil. Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“The Great and Powerful (Dr.) Oz, Dissected in The New Yorker, by Orac.”
Although physicians have been trying to base their craft on science for hundreds of years, it’s really only been in the last century or so that they’ve succeeded. Yet still some would like to go back to the way it was. They yearn for the days when doctors were “healers” and shamans, the way medicine was for hundreds and hundreds of years before science intruded. Unfortunately, one of those physicians happens to be “America’s doctor,” as quoted in an excellent article by Michael Specter entitled THE OPERATOR: Is the most trusted doctor in America doing more harm than good? In it we learn this about Dr. Mehmet Oz. Read the full article on Science Blogs.com.
“Cancer Risks Unlikely From Foam Cups,” by Angela Logomasini.
Whatever happened to plastic foam coffee cups? Visit any to-go coffee shop and you will most likely only find paper cups that burn your hands and let your coffee go cold. Cups made with polystyrene foam are disappearing from the marketplace because a bevy of misinformation about their environmental effects, including claims styrene — the chemical used to make them — is a carcinogen. Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“Dr. Oz Promotes False BPA Claims, Sarah Bowman.”
I’m a mom, so I watch Dr. Oz, like many mothers do. As a concerned consumer, I always want what’s best for my boys. When I saw Dr. Oz promoting a segment on Wednesday titled, “The Chemicals You’re Feeding to Your Kids,” of course I tuned in. Dr. Oz had an “expert” from the Environmental Working Group on his show. She cited a Harvard study where the test subjects ate one can of soup per day, which “increased their BPA output by 1,000 percent.” She also claimed that BPA was found in umbilical cords and that the chemical “leads to higher obesity, lower birth rate and lower test scores for children.” Read the full article on Yahoo! Voices.
“Germs In Reusable Grocery Bags Can Prove Deadly,” by Angela Logomasini.
Cloth supermarket bags may be fashionable, but they can also prove deadly, according to a recent research paper published by the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The researchers point out that after the city of San Francisco banned plastic bags, the number of emergency room visits for bacterial related diseases increased significantly. Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“Inflamed Debate on Gatorade,” by Angela Logomasini
When well-intentioned, 16-year old Sarah Kavanagh Googled an ingredient that she found on the label of her Gatorade, she learned that the chemical–brominated vegetable oil (BVO)–is also patented in Europe as a flame retardant. Since she didn’t like what she learned, she launched a petition on Change.org to get PepsiCo Inc., to remove it from Gatorade. Read the full article on IWF’s Inkwell Blog.
“Pepsi Caves to a Baseless Chemical Scare,” by American Council on Science and Health.
Sigh. It’s another victory for the scaremongers. PepsiCo. is removing brominated vegetable oil from its citrus-flavored Gatorade drinks after “hearing rumblings” from consumers concerned about the emulsifier. Read the full article on ASCH Dispatch.
“Scientists Worldwide: BPA is Safe; CAL-EPA and NRDC: No, It’s Not,” by American Council on Science and Health.
Were we surprised or even disappointed that the California EPA just ruled that the plastic hardener bisphenol-A (BPA) would be subject to warning labels according to their Prop 65 law, or that the Natural Resources Defense Council would be jumping with joy over it? Not really — given the chemophobia of both of those groups, the surprise is that it took Cal-EPA this long; and that the NRDC is so happy about it is as surprising as the sun rising in the east. Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“Greens Complain About BPA-Free Products They Helped Spur,” by Angela Logomasini
Anti-chemical environmental activists rarely consider the consequences of their policies. They demonize chemicals that have been used safely for decades and advance chemical bans based on weak science without considering whether the replacement products will be any safer. Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“Problematic Green Advice On Reusable Bottles,” by Angela Logomasini
Environmental activists launched a campaign several years ago to demonize and promote bans on bottled water, suggesting that people find more “energy efficient” and “environmentally sound” alternatives, including reusable plastic or metal water bottles. Some even recommended the dangerously breakable reusable glass bottle! CEI pointed out why the greens’ advice was not only unnecessary but also carried drawbacks, including the fact that reusable alternatives are not only inconvenient, they can become breeding grounds for bacteria. Read the full story on OpenMarket.org.
“Dumb And Dumber BPA ‘Science’” by Angela Logomasini
Rationalizations to support claims that the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) poses a real and serious health threat have gone from dumb to dumber! Even reputable researchers make their case by regularly citing one inconclusive study to suggest another inconclusive study is meaningful. But science doesn’t work that way. Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“Selling Scary Stories on Chemicals,” by Julie Gunlock
Alarmists have it easy. If they want to spread scary stories and outright lies, they have a more-than-willing press to help them do just that. Take this article in yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer’s Health section entitled: “The EPA’s most worrisome toxins.” Read the full article on the IWF Inkwell Blog.
The Independent Women’s Forum’s Senior Fellow, Julie Gunlock takes on hype related to Bisphenol A and chemicals in general on FOX Business Network’s “Stossel.” Gunlock outlines why smart moms like her need not fall for the false claims and alarmism related to trace chemicals in consumer products. Watch it now.
“More Nonsense About BPA,” by American Council on Science and Health.
Sometimes the latest junk-science news makes us want to bang our heads against the wall. New York’s Suffolk County has just passed the “Safer Sales Slip Act,” banning the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal cash register slips. Fox 5 News in New York did interview ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross about the ban — for a few moments, we guess to “balance” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s claims that BPA is an “endocrine disruptor” that is linked to everything from breast cancer to infertility to heart disease (Although “balance” may be an inaccurate description, since Dr. Ross was quoted for about 20 seconds, compared to the minute-plus given to Bellone). Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“Mice Study Questions BPA-Obesity Link,” by Angela Logomasini
Science is a long-term process that only brings meaning when numerous, scientifically robust studies produce consistent results. But when it comes to politically loaded issues — such as chemical safety — a single study with a “weak association” and a small pool of subjects can capture headlines ad nauseam, creating the impression that consumers face a looming public health crisis where none really exists. Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“Top Ten Chemical Scares of 2012,” by Angela Logomasini
This past year, there must have been thousands of green-group-inspired news stories hyping risks regarding numerous chemicals. Regulators too have engaged in efforts to demonize various products unfairly, placing them on “concern” lists and demanding that companies expend enormous amounts of money to study, test, and re-study chemicals that have been safely used for decades. Below is my top-ten list of 2012 green alarms along with links to stories that debunk the junk claims. Read the full article on the IWF’s Inkwell blog.
“BPA Resin Replacements May be More Harmful,” By Angela Logomasini
As the year winds down, it’s a good time to look back at what was one of the biggest alarm stories of the year: the alleged health impact of the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA). Were the claims true, and what might we expect to happen in 2013? Read the full story in The Hill Congress Blog.
“New York State Health Department: Fracking is Safe, but Don’t Tell Anyone,” by American Council on Science and Health.
According to an analysis conducted last year, the New York state Health Department found that hydrofracking could be conducted safely in New York. This much-debated procedure, formally known as high volume hydraulic fracturing, involves injecting sand, water and chemicals underground at high pressure to extract natural gas from rock formations. Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“Epidemiologist Blows Whistle, UCLA Responds by Firing Him,” by American Council on Science and Health.
ACSH trustee Dr. James Enstrom is getting some support in his legal battle against the University of California at Los Angeles, which last year fired the epidemiologist from his post at the UCLA School of Public Health, a position he had held since 1976. Enstrom and many others contend UCLA’s actions seem clearly related to his “politically incorrect” research on fine-particulate air pollution known as “PM2.5.” Enstrom’s research has found no relationship between PM2.5 pollution and premature death — putting him at odds with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which has enacted expensive regulations trying to reduce PM2.5 exposure from diesel engines. Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“Link Between Cancer and 9/11 Exposure Found to be Baseless,” by American Council on Science and Health.
Only a few months after cancer was added to the list of ailments covered by the World Trade Center Fund, a study conducted by the New York City Health Department has found no clear link between cancer and the environment to which those present at the world trade center on 9/11 were exposed. This study is the largest to date, examining 55,700 individuals, including rescue and recovery workers at the World Trade Center site, residents of lower Manhattan, students, workers and passers-by present on the day of the attack. Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“Wheels In Motion To Crush Chemical Innovation,” by Angela Logomasini.
Chemical industry groups say they want to “modernize” the nation’s chemical law by applying reasonable reforms that would prevent states from passing a patchwork of conflicting state chemical laws. But industry groups should be careful of what they wish for. In fact, regulatory trends are clearly moving in a dangerous direction, one that threatens to undermine innovation, reduce profits for chemical companies, raise prices, and reduce choice for consumers. And there is little reason to believe that these regulatory changes will yield any benefits for public health or the environment. Read the full article on OpenMarket.org.
“Organic Pesticides: Ask Someone who Knows,” by American Council on Science and Health.
As you may recall, yesterday’s Dispatch covered a distorted, alarmist story on the harms of pesticides. Will Westerling, a licensed Pest Control Advisor in the State of California, wrote in with his views. “As a licensed Pest Control Advisor in the State of California who manages several thousand acres of both conventional and organic fruits and vegetables I can assure you that there is no shortage of organic pesticides being applied to organic crops…” Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“The Pesticide and Cosmetic Pests are Back,” by American Council on Science and Health.
As the year comes to an end, the scares keep coming, today — as often before — in the form of pesticides and cosmetics. These alarmist stories are simply baseless and raise needless consumer concerns based only on the precautionary principle. Read the full story in ACSH Dispatch.
“Have You Decorated Your Home With Poisons For Christmas?” by Emily Willingham.
Here’s a holiday manufrightroversy to watch for: Lead and pesticides … for Christmas! Every year, it seems, reporters go forth on orders from their editors to write articles warning the world of the dangers of Christmas decorations. One example from 2010 is this USA Today piece by Liz Szabo, “Advice on avoiding a toxic Christmas.” But here’s the rub: There are very limited to no data to show ill effects, in spite of the yearly spate of stories. Read the full article on Forbes.com.
“Year Ends 50th Anniversary of Silent Spring An Unhappy Legacy Continues,” by Angela Logomasini
This year marked the 50th anniversary of biologist Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring. Although the anniversary is soon to become history as well, Carson’s impact promises to continue well into the future—and it’s not something to celebrate. Carson was right to advocate for careful use of pesticides, but her harsh rhetoric needlessly raised excessive alarm. She postulated man-made chemicals affect processes of the human body in “sinister and often deadly ways,” birthing a powerful environmental movement that is fiercely anti-pesticide. Read the full article on Townhall.com.
“Another Notch in Prop 65’s Belt, Against Infants’ Flame-Retardant,” by American Council on Science and Health.
Last year, chlorinated Tris — a fire retardant chemical — was added to California’s ever-expanding list of “carcinogens and reproductive toxins” According to the state’s Proposition 65, products containing a certain level of chemicals on this lengthy list must carry a warning label. Starting in October, the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland bought and tested about 25 products from Bay Area retailers and online sources and found that 16 children’s products and four products for general consumer use contained amounts of this chemical above the allowable level, and no warning label. Read the full article in ACSH Dispatch.
“In Reversal, Bedrock Studies Linking Bisphenol A (BPA) to Heart Disease Challenged,” by Jon Entine.
Studies supposedly linking the plastic additive to diabetes, heart disease and coronary artery disease have been called a “bombshell” by anti-BPA NGOs and many journalists. Now those conclusions, and a central contention of campaigners, is in doubt. The most explosive claim of anti-BPA campaigners—that the plastic additive BPA causes an array of heart-related diseases—is in question, according to a peer reviewed paper on the science website PLOS One. Read the full article on Forbes.com.