Is “Natural” Flavoring Better?

"Natural and Artificial Flavors: What's the Difference?," By Ana-Marija Dolaskie. The American Council on Science and Health, since 1978 America's premiere pro-science consumer advocacy non-profit, is pleased to announce our new book, "Natural and Artificial Flavors: What's the Difference?", in order to combat growing confusion about health issues related to food. During the last decade, it has become increasingly fashionable to tout "natural" on product labels. It isn't just fringe companies … [Read more...]

Glyphosate Fabrications Unraveling?

"Glyphosate: A Slow But Steady Vindication," By Alex Berezow. There has been a long history of ridiculous fearmongering by environmental activists masquerading as health experts. BPA, MSG, Alar, DDT, and food coloring are just a handful of chemicals that fell prey to overblown fears or outright fabrications. Today, the whipping boy that takes the brunt of the unfounded chemophobic assault on science is the herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate is demonized primarily for one reason: Monsanto. To many … [Read more...]

Biggest Cancer Risk Factor: Age

"Disease? Only If There Was Processed Food 2 Million Years Ago," By Hank Campbell. While cancer mortality has plummeted in recent years, survival rates have doubled in the last 40. Yet actual cancer rates have not really fallen overall, and there has long been a subset of people who claim that is because of our "modern" lifestyle; things like food and trace chemicals in the environment. Their solution is to be as ancient as possible; eat what they call a "paleo" diet and try to avoid chemicals … [Read more...]

Beekeeping Fad

"Beekeeping Fad And The Stress Of Traveling Is Harmful To Bees," By Hank Campbell. Are bees in peril or not? It's difficult to know, because the moment science declares one thing not an issue (example: neonicotinoid targeted pesticides), environmental groups move the goalposts and declare something else is the problem. When honey bees were shown to be unaffected, groups proposed that wild bees were the big concern, and if amateur record-keeping and a Bayesian estimate agrees, they declare the … [Read more...]

A Perspective on Agent Orange and Dioxin

"I’ve Had More Exposure To Agent Orange Than Anyone: Here’s What I Know," By Michael Newton. You’ve probably never heard of me, even though I have studied herbicides used in forests for over 50 years, all of it published in weed science literature. However, you have heard of one famous substance I studied; Agent Orange. Agent Orange is now known to have contained a contaminant “dioxin,” the generic name of over 70 organochlorine compounds that vary in toxicity. Agent Orange was a mixture of the … [Read more...]

Organic Farming Not Better for the Environment

"Organic Farms Yield 20% Fewer Crops than Conventional Farms," By Alex Berezow. People buy organic food for many different reasons, most of which are factually incorrect. Quite possibly the biggest myth about organic food is that it is grown without pesticides. That is simply untrue. Others have been led to believe that organic food is healthier and tastier* than conventionally grown food. Those myths have also been busted. Another justification for organic food is that it is more sustainable … [Read more...]

Unwarranted Fear About Breast Implant Chemicals

"Crystal Hefner’s Decision Was Based on Bad Science," By Jack Fisher. It is all over the news that Crystal Hefner, wife of Playboy entrepreneur Hugh Hefner, elected to have her breast implants removed because she believed that they “were slowly poisoning her.” Science is not on her side. Not even close. Breast implantation is a reversible process. If the devices are no longer providing benefit, if they become a source of worry or fear, or for whatever reason, they can be removed, ideally by an … [Read more...]

Would You Choose a Plastic-Free Lifestyle?

"An Austrian Family Avoids All Plastics. Guess What Happens," By Josh Bloom. No- this not a spinoff of Survivor in which the goal is to stay alive without the benefit of a new phone, plastic tooth- and toilet brushes, Tupperware, and laundry baskets. It could be, except reality TV isn’t exactly reality, but the attempts of an Austrian family of five to spend six years trying to avoid contact with any plastic are very real. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether adopting such a lifestyle is … [Read more...]

Teflon Decision More Emotional than Scientific

"DuPont Loses Bellwether C8 Teflon Case," By American Council on Science and Health. Professor David Freeman, Chair of Petroleum Engineering at Marietta College, has been awarded $5.1 million in a lawsuit against DuPont, which he blames for his testicular cancer. A jury of four women and three men in the U.S. District Court in Columbus agreed with him, and said the company acted with malice because it dumped water containing what it calls C8 (perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA) into the Ohio River … [Read more...]

Prop65’s Absurd Warning Labels

"Should California Put a Warning Label on Your Penis?" By Josh Bloom. A few years ago, my mother gave me a Christmas present (nice Jewish family, right?). I had no idea what it was, and I was a bit puzzled by the package — a plain cardboard box with the following on the label: WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. This got me wondering why my mother would get me weapons-grade uranium as a gift. … [Read more...]

Dioxin Update

"Doomsday Chemical’ Update: Whatever Happened to Dioxin?" By Gordon Gribble. Dioxin, once proclaimed by the environmental community as the “doomsday chemical” of the 20th century and the “deadliest substance ever created by chemists,” has faded from the media spotlight. Why? Why did the EPA official who recommended the evacuation of Times Beach, Missouri, admit that he made a mistake and that the evacuation of this community following the spraying of dioxin-contaminated oil on roads, and a … [Read more...]

Glyphosate Safety Report Disappears

"EPA Magically Makes Glyphosate Safety Report Disappear," Julianna LeMieux. Glyphosate does not cause cancer … if you read about it over the weekend. That was the conclusion of a report published online by the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, April 29, 2016, finally shutting down a 30-year debate by giving a definitive answer to a hotly contested topic. But, by Monday, May 2, it was gone. The report, “Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Potential of Glyphosate,” was published by the Cancer … [Read more...]

Pesticides and Autism

"3 Reasons Aerial Pesticides Are Not Causing Autism," By Hank Campbell. Steven Hicks, M.D. PhD, pediatrician at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, looked at autism rates in a swampy region of New York and saw higher developmental delay and autism diagnoses in some areas where and thinks he knows why; pyrethroid pesticides being sprayed by airplanes to kill mosquitoes. Scientists, toxicologists, and public health officials certainly appreciate some attention … [Read more...]

UK Citizens Sour About “Natural Herbicide”

"Britiots Using Salad Dressing to Kill Weeds," By Josh Bloom. True or false: It is a good idea to use a more dangerous chemical to replace a safer one? Before you answer, take a look at a couple of videos that the folks in Bristol in the UK should have watched before they decided to “go organic” and substitute vinegar (acetic acid plus water) for glyphosate — a supernaturally safe herbicide, which has been used for more than 40 years in the United States. The first shows what happens when you … [Read more...]

Another Flawed BPA Rat Study

"A Study is Rotten in the State of Denmark, and Here’s Why," by Josh Bloom. We need another BPA study like we need root canal. For many years, hundreds (thousands?) of them have been published just about everywhere except on bus shelters, desperately hoping to find something wrong with the chemical, which is used to make a variety of plastic products, such as can liners. The studies are are mostly terrible. But that hasn’t stopped a Danish group from publishing a laughably-flawed paper on the … [Read more...]

Organic Fertilizer Killing Bees?

"Organic Fertilizer Is Great at Killing Bees," by Ruth Kava. A given of the organic agriculture movement is that organic growers don’t use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, like organophosphates and glyphosate (RoundUp). All that fear-mongering about pesticides is only possible because environmental groups only test for the synthetic kind, they don’t test for the pesticides and fertilizers used by organic growers. Because those are safer? Absolutely not. In the Journal of Economic … [Read more...]

NRDC Lies

"NRDC Scientists Are Lying in the Weeds," by Josh Bloom There has been a long-running scare campaign against the commonly-used herbicide 2,4-D, which has been conducted by a number of environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council being at or near the front of the pack. NRDC uses the time-tested strategy of equating 2,4-D with Agent Orange — the notorious herbicide that was used to defoliate swaths of Vietnam during the war. The name Agent Orange itself sounds scary, and the … [Read more...]

(Dis)Honest Company: Scientifically Deceitful

"Why the Jessica Alba Detergent Fiasco Matters," by Josh Bloom. The juicy details of what I’ve named “Waterspot Gate” — the utter farce that could not have possibly made Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company look worse— mostly involve a series of intentional misstatements and outright lies about the company’s products. They only serve to throw more dirt into the grave that the company itself dug. Wall Street Journal reporter Serena Ng, whose thorough and tireless research peeled away one lie after … [Read more...]

Dirty Facts about Honest Company Detergents

"Waterspot Gate? Jessica Alba’s Detergent Claims are All(bs)," By Josh Bloom. Have we gotten so stupid that we are willing to believe the toxicological and environmental gibberish that we are now hearing from Jessica Alba? It would seem so, since the company created by the actress — who never went to college, yet has clearly earned an honorary B.P. degree (Bachelor’s of Prettiness) — managed to extract $1.7 billion from suckers who were convinced that substituting one harmless detergent for … [Read more...]

The “Science” of Carcinogens

"War On Science: Bogus Human Carcinogens," by Frank Schnell. In the last 15 years, EPA has invented three bogus human carcinogens: dioxin, formaldehyde, and TCE. Prior to the late 1990s, EPA’s cancer Risk Assessment Guidelines (CRAGs) required sufficient evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship in humans before a substance could be classified as a “known human carcinogen”. However, during the late 1990s, EPA modified its CRAGs to allow itself to classify substances as known human carcinogens … [Read more...]

Controlling Zika

"DDT or DEET to Stop Zika? Not So Obvious," by Josh Bloom. The surest way to avoid worrying about getting the Zika virus is avoid being bitten by a mosquito transmitting it. That means sales of repellents are very likely to boom. Almost all products to keep mosquitoes away contain the active ingredient N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, commonly called DEET. Even the CDC recommends it. Read more. … [Read more...]

EPA “Crisis” Science Racket

"How Natural Variations Became Environmental Crises: The Word Game," by Frank Schnell. In How Natural Variations Became Environmental Crises: The Numbers Racket, we looked at how officially “safe” levels of exposure gradually went from conservative, to ultra-conservative, to completely ridiculous. Even before the manipulation of numbers became commonplace, the manipulation of words was a major tool in promoting fear about science and keeping it alive. Simple words in common usage, like “risk”, … [Read more...]

Formaldehyde Cancer Claims Debunked

"Everything Causes Cancer – If You Listen to the NRDC," by Lila Abassi. I wish that when I was a student of anatomy I could have argued my way out of dissecting stinky cadavers – and I would have had a friend in Jennifer Sass, an alarmist who blogs for the Natural Resources Defense Council.  She sounds off on a recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which discusses health concerns regarding formaldehyde. Ms. Sass has a real issue with Lumber Liquidators, a … [Read more...]

Zika Virus and Pesticides

"Zika Virus Will Sure Get Us to Embrace Toxic Chemicals," by Hank Campbell.The recurring joke in science when the Ebola craze consumed American media was that all the wealthy elites in California, Oregon and Washington who denied vaccines due to concerns about autism, would make sure their families were first in line for a new vaccine. While rich coastal parents knew they could avoid risk for their special snowflakes, while still protecting them from whooping cough (pertussis) by counting on … [Read more...]

Antifreeze in Food?

"Are You Anti-Antifreeze? Read This," by Josh Bloom.  All antifreezes are not created equal. Actually, that should read “both antifreezes are not equal,” since there are only two that are commonly used (but that’s a terrible lead). Yet those two act alike, they sound alike, they even taste alike, but they could not be more different and in that difference is another way where environmental activists get so much wrong about chemicals. The difference is due to a single carbon atom, which makes one … [Read more...]

Toxic TSCA Reform?

"TSCA 'Reform': It’s Old (39 years), But It Works! Why revise? By Gil Ross. Wending its way toward seemingly-inevitable final passage, a darling of the chemophobic left, “TSCA Revision,” will do no good for Americans, further empower the hyper-regulatory EPA, and be hugely expensive. The good old Toxic Substances Control Act was working fine.  After years and years of debate spurred by the enviro-left, the Toxic Substances Control Act (affectionately, TSCA) of 1976 is on the verge of “reform.” … [Read more...]

Causes of Cancer Examined

"Cancer Causation Battle: Bad Environment, Not Bad Luck," December 17, 2015. A new study published in the journal, Nature, entitled “Substantial contribution of extrinsic risk factors to cancer development,” used quantitative measures from several different perspectives to come to the conclusion that the large majority of human cancers are caused by “environmental” factors (i.e. non-genetic), rather than intrinsic gene abnormalities or pure chance (i.e. inherited or spontaneous mutations). The … [Read more...]

Is Green Tea an ‘Endocrine Disruptor’

"Green Tea an ‘Endocrine Disruptor’? If so, Everything Is," By Gil Ross. Fruit FlyNo matter now often we ask the “endocrine disruptor” contingent this question — Please tell us, what are the endocrines that are being disrupted, allegedly, by all those “toxic” chemicals you impugn? — we end up getting no satisfaction. Since the definition of an endocrine disruptor seems to expand or contract to suit the agenda of the “environmental” group seeking to target a chemical, and since I never … [Read more...]

IARC’s Cancer Classifications Ignored

"Meat, Coffee – Why Only Activists Pay Attention To IARC Claims," By Hank Campbell. If you were laughing at the notion that sausage is just as carcinogenic as cigarettes last week, you are not alone – the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is scrambling to repair the damage to what’s left of the credibility of its International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) after its latest paper about processed meat. But that report is actually no worse than any of their others. While … [Read more...]

Radon Risks in Homes Way Overblown

"Don’t Fear Radon Concerns at Home; They’re Overblown," By Gil Ross. There is fear circulating about the risk of lung cancer due to inhaled radon gas, as a result of the widespread publicity given to studies that link lung cancer incidence to radon concentration using a “linear no-threshold” (LNT) model. This model — which many scientists say is baseless and should be scrapped — predicts an alarming excess of cancers, even at low radon levels. Little publicity, however, has been given to the … [Read more...]

Starbucks Coffee & Cancer?

"No, Pumpkin Spice Latte Is Not Giving You Cancer," by American Council on Science and Health. If you didn’t know it, Starbucks has changed their Pumpkin Spice Latte from years past. The surprise was that they have decided to use pumpkin in a drink with pumpkin in the name, the shock is that they are only using pumpkin because of chemophobia about a natural chemical called 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI). They didn’t do it on their own. The activist group which calls itself Center for Science in the … [Read more...]

Detox the Tampon Box Scare Campaign

"Pulling the Plug on Tampon Scares," by by Josh Bloom.De Despite a spectacularly creative, although ultimately unsuccessful, effort, Stephanie Phillips came up just short in this year’s “Look Like an Idiot For Halloween Costume Contest.” However, she did so well that it would be just plain wrong not to give her honorable mention. In what is unlikely to be a successful profile photo on Match.com, Ms. Phillips was photographed wearing a shipping carton that was decorated to look like a Tampax … [Read more...]

Greens Find New Target: Triphenyl Phosphate

"Harlem Globetrotters Of Science Take On The Environmental Washington Generals," By American Council on Science and Health. In what can be seen, at the very least, as an appalling lack of creativity, our old friends the EWG — Environmental Washington Generals (oops, I meant Environmental Working Group) — decided that since they had finally hit dry wells with phthalates and BPA, it was time for a “new” chemical to scare people about, get some mainstream Scare Journalism coverage (which worked) … [Read more...]

Green Alarmism and Halloween Makeup

"Sen. Schumer on Halloween Paint: Health Threat or Political Theater?" By American Council on Science and Health. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is afraid of face paint but does that mean you should be? In the scientization of politics trope, China is an easy target and no one wants to defend lead, so Sen. Schumer has invoked a science-y sounding activist group named the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. It’s a coalition of environmental fundraisers like the Breast Cancer Fund, which, it may not … [Read more...]

Fracking Risks to Babies?

"Fracking Causes Premature Babies? ACSH Drills Down For Answers," By Gil Ross. A recent study links high-volume hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking,” to higher pre-term birth rates. But the conclusion isn’t really warranted. The study found an 11 percent early birth rate among mothers near the drilling sites, while the CDC proclaims that the national pre-term delivery rate is 11.5 percent. That’s not really a meaningful difference when we consider variables such as genetic … [Read more...]

Organic Farming and Honeybees

"Organic Farming Kills Bees? Study Fails to Show This," By Josh Bloom. We constantly debunk bad studies that are anti-chemical, anti-GMO, pro-organic, etc. Why? Because they are either poorly done, and/or they’re complete garbage. This time, there’s a study which apparently condemns organic farming, which — despite the fictitious concept and name — isn’t what it seems to be. Chemicals are used in organic farming, just different ones than are used in conventional farming. But fair is fair, so … [Read more...]

Reporting the Risks of Roundup

"Solid Reporting on the (Non) Risks of Roundup," By Gil Ross. Given the mainstream media’s devotion to sensationalism when discussing GMOs, it was an unexpected pleasure to come across a recent Washington Post article on the subject. The essay was entitled “It’s the chemical Monsanto depends on. How dangerous is it?” This is such an important topic/question from so many points of view that it should be essential reading for anyone who’s scientific sophistication is not up to speed — meaning … [Read more...]

Plastics Making Kids Fat Nonsense

"Is It A Blue Moon? Environmental Magazine Correct on Phthalates" by American Council on Science and Health. So it is with an extra measure of satisfaction that we now describe not one, but two, studies apparently exonerating a favorite EHP target — the plasticizing chemical group, phthalates — as a causal factor in childhood obesity, published in EHP this week.  We here at the American Council on Science and Health have often — very often, in fact — taken issue with the academic pursuits … [Read more...]

Trump Wrong about Vaccines and Autism

"Dear Donald Trump: Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism," by Center for Accountability in Science. Donald Trump has soared to the top of polls for the Republican nomination for president, and many have said it was because he makes bold statements and “speaks truth” to voters. But during last night’s presidential debate, Trump used his high-profile position to repeat one of the most dangerous health myths floating around the internet: that vaccines cause autism. The study behind this myth has been … [Read more...]

Flawed Pesticide Study

"Flawed Pesticide Study Made Scarier by CNN’s ‘Reporting’" by American Council on Science and Health. It was Monday’s “big” health story, or so we were told. According to CNN.com, there’s now an established link between the development of childhood cancers, primarily leukemia and lymphoma, and the use of pesticides. Sounds scary, maybe even real. But does the science hold up? Maybe, maybe not. Make that, probably not. Dr. Chensheng Lu, associate professor of environmental exposure biology at … [Read more...]

OZ Ratings Tumble Downward

"Dr. Oz Audience Down 50 Percent – So We’re Halfway There," by Ana-Marija Dolaskie. Healthcare experts across the nation are weeping in unison over the return of the Dr. Mehmet Oz Show, because it’s beginning its seventh season Monday and neither facts nor ethics can stop it. The news is not all bad, though. To say his show and reputation have taken a hit, thanks to the American Council on Science and Health spearheading a nationally publicized effort to get him removed from the faculty at … [Read more...]

Difference between Health threats and Health Scares

"Health Scares At The Drop Of A Rat," By American Council on Science and Health. Beginning in 1976 with a book entitled Panic In The Pantry, the team of scholars that went on to found the American Council on Science and Health and to form its first trustees and Scientific Advisory Panel, have been clarifying, as the Wall Street Journal called our mission, the difference between a health threat and a health scare. By the mid-1970s, promoting fear and doubt about food and chemicals and the … [Read more...]

Chemophobia and the Precautionary Principle

"Prescribing Caution with Precautionary Principle," By Gil Ross. Not long ago, Tracey Brown, managing director Sense About Science , a British advocacy group that shares many interests with us here at the American Council, wrote an essay in The Guardian entitled “The Precautionary Principle is a blunt instrument.” To many in the chemophobic, anti-technology camp, the precautionary principle (PP) is akin to the 11th Commandment: Thou shalt make no scientific or industrial progress without first … [Read more...]

Rounding Up the Facts about Pesticides in Breast Milk

"Science Trumps Hysteria When it Comes to Breast Milk and Pesticides," by American Council on Science and Health. The scientific literature has established that, when possible, breast milk offers terrific advantages to children, so it was the perfect way for anti-science groups to promote fear and doubt about a commonly used pesticide called glyphosate, which has been used by home gardeners for decades under the name Roundup. Though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has never found … [Read more...]

Aspartame Phase Out Unwarranted

"Pepsi Exchanges one Artificial Chemical Sweetener for Another Artificial Chemical Sweetener," By American Council on Science and Health. In just a few days, Diet Pepsi will no longer contain the artificial sweetener aspartame. PepsiCo is replacing aspartame in Diet Pepsi, Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi, and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi with another artificial sweetener, sucralose (commonly known as Splenda), which is used in Coke Zero. The move follows consumer backlash against aspartame, and has … [Read more...]

Prohibited Substances in Organic Food

"Does Organic Food Contain Prohibited Substances? USDA Says Many Do," By American Council on Science and Health. While organic crops supposedly aren’t treated with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, a recent report suggests that isn’t always true. The author cites a 2012 USDA study that found while few of the nearly 600 sample studied for synthetic pesticides had levels that exceeded the EPA/USDA safety levels, many had such ‘contamination’ below those levels. When they were added up, over 40 … [Read more...]

Roundup Junk Science

"If You’re Going to Pick Your Poison, at Least Choose the Right One," by American Council on Science and Health. The winner in this month’s “I need a chemistry lesson, and fast” award goes to Anthony Dunton of Acworth, Georgia. Hands down. Dunton was arrested last week for trying to poison a co-worker by putting the weed killer Roundup (glyphosate) into his water. Let’s just give him mixed grades on this one. Dunton denied trying to kill the man, but, rather, just “mess with him.” In this … [Read more...]

Josh Bloom Takes on Environmental Working Group Junk Science

"Dr. Josh Bloom on Science 2.0: EWG’s Little Site Of Horrors," by American Council on Science and Health. Josh primary 10-13We have to wonder if Environmental Working Group is having a really bad fiscal quarter because their website has become littered with even more anti-science, scary chemical verbiage than usual. It’s clear they know what their donors think about actual science and evidence, since now they are going after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for its “generally recognized … [Read more...]

EWG Junk Science

"Junk Science Comes Back and Bites the Environmental Working Group in the Can," by American Council on Science and Health. If there is a better example of what happens when junk science meets reality, good luck finding it. Look no further than today’s New York Times article about how a misguided attempt to solve a non-problem turned into a real problem. ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom says, “Let’s give (negative) credit to the ‘anti-BPA cottage industry.’ They have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams … [Read more...]

Chemicals and Junk Science

"Jack Dini vs. the World of Junk Science (and the Rest of the World)," by American Council on Science and Health. Talk about a big job. Writing for the Canadian Press, Jack Dini’s new piece, “Chemicals—Don’t Trouble Oneself With the Facts,” goes way past the title. Dini, who wrote a book entitled “Challenging Environmental Myths” (Institution of Engineering and Technology, 2003) comes out with guns blazing, and covers far more than chemicals. He writes about the inability of facts to change … [Read more...]

The Bees are Alright

"The Bees are Allright! Stop Worrying About Them and Start Worrying about the Science," by American Council on Science and Health. “The bees are ok”– that’s the message Terence Corcoran hammers home in his latest article for the Financial Post. The piece comes on the heels of Canada’s Minister of the Environment, Glen Murray, announcing that the country will start doing more for the “declining” bee populations. However, as Corcoran explains exhaustively with data, this policy is not only … [Read more...]

Fracking No Threat to Drinking Water

"EPA Says Fracking Isn’t a Threat to Drinking Water," by American Council on Science and Health. The US government’s most comprehensive examination of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and drinking water, which spanned four years, concluded that fracking, as it is being carried out and regulated, is not a threat to drinking water. “Hydraulic fracturing activities in the U.S. are carried out in a way that have not led to widespread, systematic impact on drinking water resources,” said Thomas … [Read more...]

Common Sense about Pesticides

"Some Common Sense About Pesticides. From the Daily Beast of All Places," by American Council on Science and Health. Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 4.15.56 PMKudos to Kent Sepkowitz for his very smart piece in yesterday’s Daily Beast. The title alone—Today’s ADHD Blame Game: Pesticides—suggest critical thinking about chemical toxicity—something that is very rare in these days of one phony scare after another—is being applied. Indeed Sepkowitz uses just that, and does so brilliantly. In addition to … [Read more...]

Popcorn Chemical Scare

"Chemicals In Your Popcorn? asks the Times’ Kristof. Yes, There Are," By American Council on Science and Health. We have often taken note of the Times’ columnist Nicholas Kristof’s rants expressing his concerns about various chemicals and substances he fears in his (and our) everyday environment. Here are some of the issues with which he and we have disagreed over the past 2-3 years ... He has expressed his deep concerns about the usual paranoid, chemophobia targets: endocrine disruptors, BPA … [Read more...]

Colonies Collapsing?

"Are bee colonies collapsing? If so, why? If not, why all the hype?," By American Council on Science and Health. Last June, in response to ongoing concerns about the perceived loss of bee colonies, often referred to as “bee colony collapse disorder (BCCD),” President Obama established a multi-agency “Pollinator Task Force.” The panel’s mandate: investigate the various data on the health of bees in the U.S., and if a valid threat was detected, to determine the cause or causes and make … [Read more...]

Sunscreen Chemophobia

"More sun screaming on sunscreen from the chemophobic EWG," by American Council on Science and Health. Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 2.09.01 PMWe at ACSH operate on a tight budget, but somehow managed to scrape up enough money to buy our good friends over at the Environmental Working Group an oversized beach umbrella. It would seem that they have been out in the sun too long, and are not thinking especially clearly about a summertime issue: How to protect yourself from getting too much sun. If you … [Read more...]

The Right Chemistry on Teflon

"Dr. Joe Schwarcz’ “'The Right Chemistry' on Teflon and Related Chemicals," By American Council on Science and Health. We have lavished well-deserved praise on McGill University’s Dr. Joe Schwarcz on several occasions over the years. Unlike many of his “science-y” colleagues whose news media megaphones take the sensationalist, “sky is falling” approach to trace levels of anything in the environment, he usually presents a voice of reason amidst the clamor. So it was in his column in a recent … [Read more...]

Effects of the Idiotic Governmental Policy on Asthma Inhalers

"An Idiotic Governmental Policy That Will Take Your Breath Away—Literally," by American Council on Science and Health. When it comes to government policies regarding health policy, we’ve seen pretty much every type: Meaningless, but mostly harmless, anti-science, money driven, and ill-conceived and harmful. Some of these (the full list would shut down the Internet) include the Hatch DSHEA act of 1994, which allowed untested drugs to be sold under the guise of “food supplements,” state laws that … [Read more...]

Science in Retreat

"Chemophobia Rampant, Science In Retreat. It Cannot End Well," By Gil Ross. The baseless, superstitious fear of chemicals has certainly gripped our supposedly advanced population in a haze of inchoate panic akin to the residents of 17th century Salem, or Europeans of the Dark Ages. Sadly, science ignorance pervades our populace, largely because the perception is "Who cares?" or “How do I know what to believe?” And perhaps even more important: "Do I really need to know that?” Yes, you do. Read … [Read more...]

BPA on Prop65

"BPA to Join California’s Proposition 65 List. Who Cares?" By American Council on Science and Health. We have been discussing BPA—a component of polycarbonate and polyether plastics—forever. This should be #1000 on your list of things to worry about (#999 is being hit by a giraffe that fell off a skyscraper.) It doesn’t matter what we say. The Environmental Working Group, and other geniuses have devoted their lives to finding something dangerous about it. Even though they failed in that quest, … [Read more...]

NY Times: Scaring the Public about Nothing

"Chemophobia Week, Led by the NY Times, Scaring the Public about Nothing," by American Council on Science and Health. While real health threats abound, including smoking, obesity, diabetes, vaccine denialism and its attendant epidemics, Alzheimer’s Disease — just to name a few most in need of consciousness-raising through effective public health education — many seemingly responsible, respected groups and spokesmen have decided instead to take the easy path to fear-mongering and alarmism. We … [Read more...]

Consequences for Dr. Oz’s Advice

"Some Consequences for Dr. Oz’s Flim-Flam'Medical' Advice," by American Council on Science and Health. While hardly commensurate with his unscientific and potentially harmful medical advice, Dr. Oz has received two negative reactions to his unprofessional behavior on his TV show over the past 24 hours. Yesterday, word spread quickly that his former mentor and the entertainment force most responsible for glamorizing his brand of medical nonsense, none other than Oprah Winfrey herself, had at … [Read more...]

Former Commissioner Condemns CPSC “Science” on Phthalates

"Former CPSC Watchdog Condemns her Former Agency for Biased, Unacceptable Junk Science," By American Council on Science and Health. In an article in The Hill, former Consumer Product Safety Commission member (2005-13, Acting Chair 2006-9) Nancy Nord calls it like it is regarding the shoddy, biased job the CPSC did in evaluating potential human risks from a commonly used phthalate, DINP. Hear her dismay in the title, Using poor science and stale data to support flawed policy. Not much more needs … [Read more...]

Give Oz The Boot

"Dr. Henry Miller To Columbia: Give Oz The Boot," By Josh Bloom. Although I have done my share of writing on Dr. Oz (much of it humorous, and some just in poor taste), the following has nothing to do with me. Dr. Henry Miller, a Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, who writes regularly about matters concerning junk science and medicine, and their effect on public health policy, has decided to take matters into his own hands. In a letter to … [Read more...]

Round-Up on IARC Cancer Classification

"Another Party Weighs in on the IARC-Glyphosate Charade," By American Council on Science and Health. Thanks to Angela Logomasini’s Safe Chemical Policy News, we learned of another academic organization’s disdain for the methods used by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the WHO, in their process of evaluating the widely-used herbicide, glyphosate, among other pesticides. Better known as Roundup by Monsanto, glyphosate has been increasingly used subsequent to the … [Read more...]

More Bee-fuddling Claims from the NYT

“'Pesticide Linked to Bee Collapse May Pose More Risks': Pure junk From the EU and The NYTimes," By American Council on Science and Health. For some reason, or perhaps not, safe and effective modern pesticides of the “neonicotinoid” class (“neonics”) have had a target painted on them by anti-chemical activists based in Europe, for about a decade now. Ironically, these chemicals were developed in response to (baseless, but politically potent) claims of adverse health effects of older classes of … [Read more...]

EWG’s Dirty Claims About Apples

"Pay No Attention to the Man Behind that Apple," By American Council on Science and Health. Yawn. It’s that time of year again. Perhaps for the lack of anything better to do, Ken Cook and his Environmental Working Group (EWG) merry men (and women) are celebrating “World ‘Let’s Promote Ignorance’ Day,” thanks to their annual “Dirty Dozen” list. And, guess what? The “mutant apples from hell” have had the privilege of being the dirtiest for the fifth straight year. And if you happen to be eating … [Read more...]

Good News Regarding Cancer Rates

"New CDC/ACS Report on Cancer Shows Continued Good News," By American Council on Science and Health. ...[T]the CDC and the ACS jointly issued yesterday the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2011. ...And these facts include: an ongoing trend in major declines in cancer deaths on all fronts, thanks to improvements in diagnosis and treatments, including immune-based therapies (often personalized), regular chemotherapy but with less toxicity and more targeted focus, and more … [Read more...]

IARC’s Ruling on Glyphosate

"IARC’s Ruling on Glyphosate Ignores the Science," by American Council on Science and Health. This month’s meeting in Lyon, France, of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – the branch of the UN’s World Health Organization that studies the relationship between environmental and lifestyle risk factors and cancer – focused on pesticides. The committee concluded that of the five pesticides evaluated, three were “probably carcinogenic,” a 2A classification, despite the fact that … [Read more...]

ACSH Comments to CPSC on Phthalates

"ACSH submission to CPSC re: Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP) report on DINP" By American Council on Science and Health. Dear Chairman Kay: The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) wishes to express our deep disappointment in the conclusions of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regarding the plasticizer chemical, diisononylphthalate (DINP). ACSH and our Scientific Advisory Panel, numbering 360+ experts and academicians, are concerned about the validity of the data … [Read more...]

Endocrine Disrupter Debate

“The Science of the ‘Endocrine Disrupter’ Debate” Explains the Absence of Science," By American Council on Science and Health. In the recent Independent Women’s Forum, CEI’s Angela Logomasini dissects the hype from the facts about so-called “endocrine disrupting” chemicals. She points out (as we here at ACSH have been saying for years) that the term itself has no real scientific or medical meaning, outside of its repeated (emphatic) use by those with an anti-chemical agenda and their pals in … [Read more...]

BPA Fears Spread to BPA Alternatives

"Fear, Inc. is Having a Big Day on the New York Stock Exchange. It is Up 45 Percent on Heavy Volume," By American Council on Science and Health. How could it not be? After all, the plastic component BPS — supposedly a safe replacement for BPA — isn’t looking so great after all. BPA (bisphenol A) is a chemical so “deadly” that Times columnist Nick Kristof — by far the most accomplished toxicological expert who never took a chemistry class — refuses to touch cash register receipts because they … [Read more...]

Top Ten Scares of 2014

"ACSH’s Top 10 Health Scares of 2014," by American Council on Science and Health. 10.The Food Babe attacks ingredient found in Subway bread The chemical azodicarbonamide is used in baking as a dough conditioner, meant to improve the strength and workability of the dough, as well as to increase the speed at which the dough rises. It is a common ingredient in bread. Azodicarbonamide is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. FDA, and is thus considered safe to be added to foods. Read … [Read more...]

Toxic Chrismas Decorations?

“Watchdog” Group Warns about “Toxic” Christmas Decorations. Ignore Their Barking," by American Council on Science and Health. Where would one normally expect to find such a sensational story: What could be worse than getting a bag of coal for Christmas? A bag full of toxic chemicals, health groups say. A new report from HealthyStuff.org finds toxic chemicals in many of the popular Christmas decorations like Santa Clause [sic] hats, Christmas lights, stockings, and wreaths that were tested. We … [Read more...]

Video: Jon Entine Interview on Honeybees

"Jon Entine Debunks Theory Linking Neonic Pesticides to Honeybee Collapse," by American Council on Science and Health. In a masterful example of thorough scientific reporting, Jon Entine makes it clear that the recent accusations that the group of pesticides called neonicotinoids (“neonics”) is responsible for Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) of honeybees are baseless. Such accusations are bound to be concerning, since honeybees are responsible for pollinating many crops — both here and in … [Read more...]

Prop 65 Lawsuits Galore

"Some Sense from California — At Last," By American Council on Science and Health. Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 1.07.00 PMCalifornia’s Proposition 65 is a law that helps no one — except perhaps trial lawyers and bounty hunters. As we have pointed out in the past, it certainly does nothing to benefit public health, and according to a recent opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee, it hurts small businesses. Mark Snyder, a small business owner, clearly points out the deficits in the law. He notes that … [Read more...]

Before You Eat that Turkey … Watch This!

"Enjoy Your Holiday Dinner — Chemicals and All!," By American Council on Science and Health. The focus of the ACSH holiday menu is on “carcinogens,” defined here as chemicals, either natural or synthetic, that cause cancer in rodents when consumed in large amounts. A related topic, however, is that of “poisons,” technically known as toxicants. Just as it is scientifically unwarranted to believe that the food supply is free of natural rodent carcinogens and mutagens, it is equally unrealistic to … [Read more...]

DDT, Bedbugs, and Beyond

"ACSH friend R. Kozlovich’s Ode to Banned, Lifesaving DDT," by American Council on Science and Health. Don’t get on Rich Kozlovich’s bad side. He calls out those who foment harmful, unscientific and agenda-driven messages, especially when they impinge upon his area of expertise: pesticides, and the pests who fear them: both 8-legged and 2-legged, we should emphasize. In his recent “Paradigms and Demographics” blog, which is entitled Repealing the Ban on DDT is Bigger Than Bed Bugs!, he takes on … [Read more...]

Green Chemistry: NYT Gets It Wrong

"The New York Times Needs Chemistry Lesson (Badly)," By American Council on Science and Health. An op-ed in the November 9 New York Times, entitled “Making Chemistry Green,” by Robert S. Lawrence and Rolf U. Halden could have been entitled “Green in Chemistry.” based on some rather obvious errors. ... “We should regulate chemicals as we understand them: in groups. Instead of regulating one compound at a time..” Bloom: “No: that’s exactly what we should not do. Within classes of chemicals, very … [Read more...]

Fracking Fears Unfounded

"Denton, TX, “Birthplace” of Fracking, Votes it off the Island. So What?," By American Council on Science and Health. A relatively minor footnote to the major election news last Tuesday occurred in a small college town in the vast oil and gas region known as the Barnett Shale. Not far from Dallas, Denton TX is known in some circles as the birthplace of the technology known by cognoscenti as high-volume hydraulic fracturing of shale to release and collect the entrapped natural gas and other … [Read more...]

More Toxic Advice From Dr. Oz

"Dr. Oz Magic Will Protect You From Toxic Chemicals. No it Won’t," by American Council on Science and Health. Always be selling seems to be the watchword on the “Dr.Oz Show,” or perhaps it should be called “The Dr.Oz Travelling Medicine Show,” given the snake-oil and related supplement junk he purveys in the guise of public health. But in order to convince as many of his star-struck viewers to buy his “Dr. Oz Diet,” he first has to scare them away from traditional fare. That’s where his new … [Read more...]

Don’t Fear Plastics

"Shoutout to ACSH Friend Jack Dini for an Informative Column on Chemophobia," by American Council on Science and Health. ACSH friend and author Jack Dini published a very informative article countering many fears regarding common substances found in plastics. The article, titled “Don’t fall victim to plastic leaching from items,” was recently published in the Canada Free Press.  The column summarizes some of the recent literature surrounding these substances, including BPA (Bisphenol A) and … [Read more...]

Non-Science: BPA and Cash Receipts

“If This Paper Were About Science,” says Geoffrey Kabat: Purported Link Between BPA from Cash Receipts and Health Effects By American Council on Science and Health. 466583_32876683Earlier this week, we discussed a study conducted by Frederick vom Saal, the best-known fringe anti-BPA activist posing as a scientist, attempting to link “high” levels of BPA in the blood stream and urine from the handling of thermal paper cash receipts to increased risk of serious diseases. Yet, as ACSH advisor Dr. … [Read more...]

Latest Fear-Mongering Attempt: BPA and Receipts

"Avoid Those Thermal Paper Cash Receipts, Says Well known Anti-Science BPA Critic, vom Saal," By American Council on Science and Health. If you believe what you read about BPA and its harmful effects on human health, a topic that we here at ACSH have taken on many times, the latest development from Frederick vom Saal, Professor of Biological Sciences at Missouri University and perhaps the best-known fringe anti-BPA activist posing as a scientist, might stop your shopping habits, or at least … [Read more...]

Bizarre Conclusions: BPA and Lung Function Study

"BPA Linked to Diminished Childhood Lung Function—in Bizzaro World," by American Council on Science and Health. A recent study examining the association between prenatal BPA (bisphenol-A) exposure and lung function has been making headlines, often with titles similar to “BPA linked to asthma.” However, the actual study is about as bad as they come. You can just as easily conclude anything about BPA exposure and lung function as you can who will win the All Star Game in 2019. The study, … [Read more...]

Perverse Consequences of Precautionary Ban of Neonics

"Agenda Based Precautionary Ban of Neonics Causes the Opposite of Its Intent," by American Council on Science and Health. British science journalist and author Matt Ridley (best known for his writings on science, the environment, and economics) has penned an op-ed published in The Times of London exposing the inanity and perverse consequences of the EU’s pet theory, The Precautionary Principle. Although some variants are less destructive and irresponsible than others, the main thrust of the … [Read more...]

No Harm to Frogs from Atrazine

"A New Study from Federal Geologists — AND Tyrone Hayes! — Shows no Frog Harm from Atrazine," by American Council on Science and Health. Look, there has never been any solid evidence at all that the most common herbicide (weed-killer) used in America — atrazine — actually harmed amphibians. On the other hand, atrazine has been estimated to have saved billions of dollars in increased corn crop yields over the many decades it’s been widely used in the corn-growing heartland. Nevertheless, since … [Read more...]

California’s Dangerous Plastic Bag Ban

"California Bans Single-Use Plastic Bags," by American Council on Science and Health. This past Tuesday, Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. signed a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags in grocery and convenience stores, making California the first state to ban plastic bags. The law will take effect in July 2015, when plastic bags will be phased out of stores and supermarkets including Wal-Mart and Target. Retailers are also allowed to charge a 10 cent fee for using paper bags. Plastic bag … [Read more...]

Deborah Blum’s Hype About Trace Chemicals in Water

"Ho Hum. Blum is Glum," by American Council on Science and Health. Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 12.53.41 PMHere she goes again. Deborah Blum couldn’t resist bemoaning the state of our environment—this time, trace chemicals in water. In her New York Times Sept 25th blog, “A Rising Tide of Contaminants,” Blum seems to be trying to convince us that we are drinking pure poison. If followed to its logical conclusion, one might wonder why anyone is still alive. Blum’s piece is based upon studies by … [Read more...]

Fracking, Water Quality, and Health

"Water Pollution Not from Fracking, It Seems — Neither are 'Health' Effects," By American Council on Science and Health. This week’s New York Times has a report from a group based at Ohio State University which found that water contamination by methane and other hydrocarbons, even in areas where hydraulic fracturing of shale and horizontal drilling — the technologies known as “fracking” — is occurring is not the result of the process itself, but rather from well leaks. Read more. Watch the … [Read more...]

Tribute to a Great Leader: Dr. Elizabeth Whelan

"A Tribute to Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, 1943-2014," By American Council on Science and Health. It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce that Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan, the founder and president of the American Council on Science and Health since its beginnings in 1978, passed away yesterday. Beth was a giant in the annals of public health. With postgraduate degrees from Yale and Harvard, she grew increasingly frustrated with the discrepancy between what she knew to be fact-based … [Read more...]

Scaremongering, BPA, and the New York Times

"Canned Threat to Women’s Health: Teal Threat is Needless Anxiety via The Times," By American Council on Science and Health. One of the N.Y.Times’ stable of scaremongers regarding common chemicals in the environment unleashed another toxic tirade last week. Hijacking Tara Parker-Pope’s “Well” column, as she is allowed to do every so often, Deborah Blum — whose expertise is in science writing, as distinct from actual science — used her “Poison Pen” space to attack BPA (bisphenol-A). She should … [Read more...]

Josh Bloom Interview: Pesticides and Bedbugs

"Bedbugs of Manhattan Government's Role in the Urban Scourge,"By James Freeman. Why do bedbugs keep showing up in the greatest city in the world? It turns out that human error is as much to blame as the resilience of the six-legged critters. Recent bedbug discoveries in New York City's subway system and in the midtown Manhattan offices of Pacific Investment Management are only the latest chapters in a long, creepy story for Gotham residents. And even if recent incidents don't approach the worst … [Read more...]

Fear of Parabens in Cosmetics is Unwarranted

"Fear of Parabens Compromises Safety of Certain Cosmetic Products," By American Council on Science and Health. Parabens are commonly used in foods and cosmetics as preservatives. Back in 2004, Dr. Philippa Darbre of the University of Reading published a study reporting that many breast cancer tumors contained parabens. This study resulted in an unwarranted fear of parabens based on the claim by Dr. Darbre that these preservatives have estrogen-like activity which has been linked to breast … [Read more...]

Kids at Risk from Window Caulk–Not

"Cindy Crawford Attacks PCBs but Doesn’t Have the Facts Straight," By American Council on Science and Health. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a class of chemicals that were commonly used in electrical insulation and may be found in the window caulking of older buildings. Well-known supermodel, Cindy Crawford, is now taking issue with the presence of PCBs in the window caulking at her children’s school and has decided to homeschool her kids to avoid them. Crawford says, “I look 10 years … [Read more...]

Chemist Speaks Out on BPA

"Another Organic Chemist Weighs in on BPA," By American Council on Science and Health. Regular Dispatch readers will know that we have discussed BPA—perhaps the poster child of the anti chemical movement— until we are blue in the face (BTF?). So, it is always nice to know that there are others out there who really understand this topic and agree with us scientifically. One of these is Steve Hentges, Ph.D., who currently holds the position of Executive Director of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global … [Read more...]

FDA Goes After Caramel Coloring

"FDA Tackles a Non-Issue: The Case Against 4-MEI in Caramel Coloring," By American Council on Science and Health. Last winter Consumer Reports came out with a relatively new scare — concerns about a chemical in cola drinks, and other foods with some forms of caramel coloring. The chemical in question is 4-MEI, an abbreviation for 4-Methylimidazole, produced as a byproduct of the manufacture of caramel. We have written about this pseudo-problem in the past, and like most chemophobia, this one … [Read more...]

BPA Junk Science

"Using Stupid Science to Replace other Stupid Science is Just Stupid," By American Council on Science and Health. If you’re looking for an example of the absurdity of what happens when activist groups stick their noses in areas that are way above their pay grade, look no further. It doesn’t get any better than this. Although on the surface, this discussion appears to address one more of the gazillion “black marks” against BPA—a component of many plastics—underneath there is a second story. It … [Read more...]

Fanning Flames on Flame Retardants

"Forgive this Pun, but Once Again, Flame Retardants are a Hot Topic in the News," By American Council on Science and Health. “Chemicals found in moms and kids,” screams the headline! There is nothing new. This time, the “news” comes from an article in the Chicago Tribune written by Michael Hawthorne. “News” is a stretch, since this has been going on forever, with the same arguments being recycled over and over. Yet, our dear friends at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) seem to be so … [Read more...]

Disrupting Claims about Plastics

"Let’s make this simple: Estrogenic Effects Come from Estrogens. (Duh). NOT from Plastics," By American Council on Science and Health. Of all the garbage “science” topics that we routinely cover, among the worst is the concept that miniscule amounts of so-called “endocrine disruptors”—chemicals that supposedly have an adverse impact on human sexual development—do anything whatsoever. The plastic component BPA and plastic softeners, phthalates, are the two poster children of the movement, but … [Read more...]

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