Fearing Chemicals in your Thanksgiving Feast? Don’t.

"Neurotoxins in Your Thanksgiving Meal," By Angela Logomasini, Ph.D. Should you “go organic” for Thanksgiving, buying only “chemical free” foods? That’s the suggestion of some “health advocates” who say it’s in your best interest to avoid “dangerous” synthetic chemicals, particularly pesticides. Yet not only is it impossible to avoid chemicals, it’s simply not necessary for public health purposes. All physical things are made of chemicals, so yes, there are chemicals in your … [Read more...]

Great Wine Should be Sealed with Best Cork

"How Technology Makes Life–and Wine–More Satisfying," By Angela Logomasini. It’s easy to romanticize the past and wish one lived during a “golden age.” But was the past really that good? Fictional character Gil Pender gains insights on this question in Woody Allen’s film, “Midnight in Paris.” Pender takes a trip back in time where he has the revelation that not everything was golden: “These people don’t have antibiotics,” he lamented.  Indeed, technological developments have vastly improved … [Read more...]

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...]

Could Salad Be Hazardous to Your Health?

"Salad: The Silent Killer?" By Julie Gunlock. That’s it, folks. There’s nothing left to eat. With news this week that salad may be hazardous to your health, it’s clear we all need to stop eating altogether. Let’s face it, food is a killer. Americans have been hearing just that for decades, and yet life expectancy continues to rise while cancer rates go down, as do deaths due to heart disease. And yet, the food alarmism continues. In the 1990s, Americans were warned to avoid butter, cheese, and … [Read more...]

“TENDR” Initiative Promotes Chemophobia

"Hyperbole: the Road to Reform," By The Center for Accountability in Science Team. No parent wants to expose his or her child to potential neurotoxins. That’s why a group of scientists, health officials, and environmental activists launched Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks and issued a call to action to “reduce widespread exposures to chemicals that interfere with fetal and children’s brain development.” Unfortunately, Project TENDR has taken this laudable goal a … [Read more...]

How We Perceive Risk

"It's Important To Know How Your Emotions Influence Risk Perception," By Henry I. Miller. Science applied to risks–of products, processes or activities–can be baffling to non-experts. Because people want certainty in their lives, the provisional nature of the scientific method–what we “know” only applies until disproven by new data–can be worrying. The public want simple black-or-white answers, rather than nuanced, qualified advice about relative risk, and they may become frustrated when they … [Read more...]

Plastics Alarmism

"Calling TIME Out on Plastic Alarmism," By The Center for Accountability in Science Team. There’s no shortage of news reports and websites with scary messages about chemicals, but two articles this week caught our attention. First, TIME magazine engaged in a bit of click-baiting this week with a health article warning about common plastics: “That Plastic Container You Microwave In Could Be Super-Toxic.” Next, an article at the Philadelphia Inquirer’s website, although written by two Ph.D.’s, … [Read more...]

Not So Green Products

"Shady Marketing Claims for "Green" Cleaning Products," by Richard Morrison. The Wall Street Journal reports today on the murky world of marketing for “green” and “natural” household products. Ads for these flower-scented and creatively-named brands often claim—or, at least, strongly imply—that they are safer and healthier that mainstream cleaning and deodorizing agents. Such claims are often made even when both products are chemically similar or borderline identical. Read more. … [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...]

Still Not So Honest Company

"Once Again, Tests Show Jessica Alba’s Honest Company isn’t so Honest," By Center for Accountability in Science. Jessica Alba has developed a personal care and cleaning product empire based on the premise that her products are “safer” that other brands on the market. But once again, testing reveals that one of her popular products contains ingredients she likes to claim could be harmful to consumers. This week, The Wall Street Journal reports that two independent lab tests of the Honest … [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...]

Dismiss Christmas Toy Alarmism

"Holiday Toy Safety: Common Sense Trumps Activist Advice," By Angela Logomasini. If you believe the U.S. Public Interest Group (USPIRG), the “Slinky Jr.” or “Fun Bubbles Jump Rope” that Santa might bring to your children should send shivers down your spine. These items are among the “toxic” toys listed in the group’s annual “Trouble in Toyland” report. But don’t fret, because the only thing that’s really troubling is USPIRG’s alarmism. Read more. … [Read more...]

Toxic Gifts from Santa?

"Protect Yourself from a Lawsuit with our Proposition 65 Christmas Gift Warning," By Center for Accountability in Science. Santa Claus is coming to town with a sleigh full of gifts. Unfortunately for Santa (and gift givers everywhere), a California law known as Proposition 65 requires any item containing one of the over 800 substances “known to the state of California to cause cancer” or reproductive issues to bear a warning label. Santa better watch out: If he happens to slip a new golf club … [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...]

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...]

Anti-Chemical Researchers Pushing a Political Agenda

"Women's Scientific Body Betrays Women," By Julie Gunlock. Okay ladies, get your tissues ready. It turns out, we’re all being poisoned by…well, everything. According to a bunch of news stories last week, chemicals are lurking in just about everything, leaching into our bodies, and that of our children, which is leading to an increase of diseases, infertility and many other disorders. Now, to the average consumer, this might seem alarming and if it were true (spoiler: it’s not), I’d be freaking … [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...]

Guerrilla War Against Chemicals Hits Starbucks

"The Guerrilla War Against Chemicals Extends To Starbucks," Pepsi, By Dr. Robert Lichter. The latest skirmish in the war of anti-chemical crusaders against the food industry broke out in an unlikely place – the usually tranquil waters of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte. Vani Hari, author of the widely read Food Babe blog, recently kicked up a fuss by charging that the popular drink contains a cancer-causing substance called 4-mei, which is a byproduct of its caramel coloring. As the name of her … [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...]

Not So Honest Company?

"Jessica Alba’s Company Sued for Being Not-So-‘Honest.’" by Center for Accountability in Science. A few weeks ago, we highlighted the problems with sunscreen sold by Jessica Alba’s Honest Company—despite being “all natural,” many consumers reported it didn’t actually stop them from getting sunburned. Now, the Honest Company is being sued for its ineffective products and misleading marketing. The company is currently fighting two lawsuits. Read more. … [Read more...]

“Natural” Food is Made of Chemicals

"'All Natural' Doesn't Make Food Safer, Healthier," By Dr. Joseph Perrone. Would you feed your kids a snack that includes ethyl ethanoate, 3-methylbutyraldehyde, butylated hydroxytoluene and linoleic acid? While many Americans would probably balk at loading up lunchboxes with these scary sounding chemicals, they'€™re actually common compounds found in blueberries. Listing off hard-to-pronounce chemicals as a reason to avoid certain foods has been the basis of campaigns by activists such as the … [Read more...]

Chemophobia Exposé

"Headline: Can Your Bathmat Cause Cancer? Hey — Don’t Worry About It!" By American Council on Science and Health. In fact, this excellent essay doesn’t even mention bathmats — but it may have to, when the next version comes out. We tried not to mention the entire headline — really, we did — but in the end, we caved, so here it is: Why You Shouldn’t Care That Yogurt, Mouthwash, Red Meat, Burnt Toast, and Bras Have Been Linked to Cancer. This exposé by (Steven) Ross Pomeroy appeared in the Newton … [Read more...]

Toxic Lies

"The ‘Toxic’ Lies Behind Jessica Alba’s Booming Baby Business," by Julie Gunlock. Actress Jessica Alba, co-founder of the ironically named “The Honest Company,” recently declared, “One billion feels like a small number.” Alba was referring to her companies’ profits, made not by being honest with consumers but by spreading lies about her competitors. The Honest Company sells a variety of organic and eco-friendly baby and personal-care products, such as diapers, baby wipes, sunscreen, soap, face … [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...]

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...]

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...]


"A Letter to Dr. Oz from a PhD Microbiologist," by Alex B. Berezow. Dear Dr. Oz, As a TV host, book author, and "America's Doctor," you hold a powerful and privileged position to which few people inside or outside your profession could ever aspire. I must admit to being envious of your influence. I wish that more Americans were fascinated by the complicated nuance of biomedical research than are fascinated by miracle cures. Alas, they are not (yet). I'm working on it, though. I am writing to … [Read more...]

The Dirt On Earth Day: Chemophobia

"The Dirt On Earth Day: Chemophobia Masquerading As Environmentalism," By Henry I. Miller and Kavin Senapathy. Wednesday will be the 45th anniversary of the first Earth Day. Founded by then-U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisconsin), it was held in 1970 as a “symbol of environmental responsibility and stewardship.” In the spirit of the time, it was a touchy-feely, consciousness-raising, New Age experience, and most activities were organized at the grassroots level. A driving force of … [Read more...]

Dr. Oz Rebuked For Quackery

"Dr. Oz Rebuked by Medical Professionals," By Angela Logomasini. For a long time, TV personally and Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz has gotten little criticism for his sensationalist and often junk science-laden advice. Finally, members of Congress from both parties called him to the table—asking him to appear at congressional hearings related to fraudulent claims about dietary supplements and other products. A largely unapologetic Oz said ,“I actually do personally believe in the items I … [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...]

Medical Professionals Speak Out About Dr. OZ

"Dr. Henry Miller Looks Behind the Curtain and Others Finally," By American Council on Science and Health. Yesterday we reported that ACSH friend, Dr. Henry Miller of the Hoover Institute, wrote a very blunt letter to Dr. Lee Goldman, the Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia University, calling for the removal of Dr. Mehmet Oz from the faculty at the university. The beginning of Miller’s letter read, “We are surprised and dismayed that Columbia University’s College … [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...]

Safety Rules for Laundry Detergent Packets All Wet

"Congresswoman Calls for New Safety Rules on Detergent," by Paula Bolyard. Rep. Jackie Speier of California is proposing a bill directing the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue new rules establishing safety standards for liquid detergent packets. The Democrat Speier’s bill, the Detergent Poisoning and Child Safety (PACS) Act, directs the CPSC to impose new regulations on the color, design, and contents of detergent packets. Read more. … [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...]

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...]

EWG’ Attack on Chardonnay “Additive”

"EWG's Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives Nonsense," By Angela Logomasini. If you like Chardonnay that’s full-bodied and creamy, you might set that enjoyment aside after reading the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) latest “dirty dozen list." But by all means, don’t do it! EWG’s list of allegedly bad-for-you food “additives” are perfectly safe to enjoy! And they have benefits, such as the buttery flavor in my favorite Chardonnay from a chemical called diacetyl! If you want to be healthy, … [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...]

University Level Anti-Chemical Scare Power

‘Monsters University’ is Real — I Work There, By Anonymous. What if those scary Halloween monsters … were real? That’s the premise of the movie “Monsters, Inc,” where the monsters work year-round. And they don’t just extort candy. Their entire world runs on “Scream Power” — let’s simply call it “Scare Power” — and harvesting it is even more productive than fracking. We see in the more recent “Monsters University” that “it takes a University” to make the Scare Power industry work. The heart of … [Read more...]

Green Building Junk Science

"Are Healthy Buildings Built On Lies?" By Josh Bloom. The fad du jour (and I defy you to find a non-du jour day) is something that sounds like an absolute win-win. It has all the correct buzzwords—green, sustainable, environmentally friendly, endocrine disruptors, bioaccumulation. And many more. Today it's buildings. This is exactly what we at ACSH deal with every day in different forms. There is more than a passing similarity to the very successful promotion of organic foods, dietary … [Read more...]

Chemical Misperceptions

"Debunked: Five Chemical Misconceptions, by American Council on Science and Health." Chemicals pervade all aspects of our daily lives — independent of the setting. Whether you are a city dweller or reside in a rural area, synthetic (as well as natural) chemicals encompass and sustain everyday life. Mark Lorch, senior lecturer in biological chemistry at the University of Hull emphasizes the impossibility of leading a chemical-free life as he debunks five common myths popularized by media and … [Read more...]

Few Docs Express Concern about “Chemicals” to Expecting Moms

"Survey of Ob. Docs Fails to Find Many Who Discuss “Chemicals” with Moms-To-Be, by American Council on Science and Health. A survey sent to thousands of regional Ob-Gyns by a group from the Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California-San Francisco revealed an intense lack of concern among those specialists about environmental chemicals as impacting their pregnant patients. The authors, led by Dr. Naomi E. Stotland, sent out a 64-question survey to over 20,000 California … [Read more...]

Chemical Scare Stories Debunked

"Popular Chemical Misconceptions Debunked," By American Council on Science and Health. Our environment is a mosaic of chemicals that add to our everyday living. Despite their ubiquitous presence and essential role in society, chemicals continue to be vilified by the media and interest groups. Making Sense of Chemical Stories is a consumer friendly 16-page guide stripping the negative impressions surrounding chemicals and their relationship to human health and the environment as a whole. The … [Read more...]

Tackling Anti-Chemical, Unscientific Nonsense

"Manmade or Natural, Tasty or Toxic, They're All Chemicals …" by Mark Lorch. Chemicals are bad, right? Otherwise why would so many purveyors of all things healthy proudly proclaim their products to be "chemical-free" and why would phrases such as "it's chock full of chemicals" be so commonly used to imply something is unnatural and therefore inherently dangerous? On one level these phrases are meaningless – after all, chemicals are everywhere, in everything. From the air that we breathe to the … [Read more...]

Making Sense of Chemical Stories

"Making Sense of Chemical Stories," by Sense About Science. The new edition of our public guide, Making Sense of Chemical Stories, was published by Sense About Science today with support from Royal Society of Chemistry. People are still being misled by chemical myths. This needs to stop. We urge everyone to stop repeating misconceptions about chemicals. The presence of a chemical isn’t a reason for alarm. The effect of a chemical depends on the dose. In lifestyle commentary, chemicals are … [Read more...]

Interview with Julie Gunlock

"New: Author Interview with Julie Gunlock," by Alyssa Condrey Julie Gunlock is director of the Culture of Alarmism project at the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) and author of a recent book, From Cupcakes to Chemicals. Ms. Gunlock was gracious enough to answer a few questions for NeW about her new book, discuss the conservative movement, and offer up advice for conservative women. Read her interview below! What initially prompted you to research and write about the culture of alarmism? Read … [Read more...]

Earth Day Chemistry Lessons

"This Earth Day, Thank A Chemist," By Hank Campbell. Earth Day is fast approaching and, let's face it, if you celebrate Earth Day you probably hate science. And you really hate chemists. But there has never been a reason for it, it is simply modern chemophobia. If you ask an environmentalist if they should use a chemical solvent or baking soda to clean, they will say baking soda - but baking soda is a toxic synthetic chemical (NaHCO3) unless it is used properly, where it is harmless and … [Read more...]

“Food Babe” Wrong About Chemicals

"The Food Babe Hath Spoken, And Subway Bread Will Still Suck," By Josh Bloom. I would like to nominate Arvind Mahankali to be the next head of the USDA. Why? He is obviously very smart, has an outstanding work ethic, and a superb vocabulary. He may have even reached puberty. And if he hasn’t, give it a year or so. Arvind is 13. But if you are concerned that he may not yet have what it takes to run an agency with a $24 billion budget and the responsibility of protecting us from unsafe foods, … [Read more...]

Chemophobia in the Lancet

"Grandjean and Landrigan Strike Again!" by Julie Gunlock. A recent study released by Dr. Philip Landrigan of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Dr. Philippe Grandjean of the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the March issue of The Lancet claim the presence of certain chemicals in everyday products is doing great harm to the nervous systems of fetuses, infants, toddlers and children. Landrigan and Grandjean explain that chemical exposure is the reason there has been an increase in … [Read more...]

Huffington Post’s Chemical Fearmongering

"At 'HuffPo' Fearmongering Is an Olympic Sport," By Jeff Stier. What is to blame for spiraling medical spending? Exposure to chemicals in food containers, of course. In a dazzling display of confusion between association and causation, Huffington Post environmental and public health columnist Lynne Peeples writes that: "Health care spending in the U.S. has surged more than eightfold since the 1960s. Skyrocketing in that same time: Rates of chronic disease, use of synthetic chemicals, and … [Read more...]

Ignore Alarmism: Common Sense Advice to Parents

"Advice for Parents: Common Sense, Moderation and Ignore those Alarmist Warnings," by American Council on Science and Health. Julie Gunlock, the director of the Independent Women’s Forum Culture of Alarmism Project, has written a new book, “From Cupcakes to Chemicals: How the Culture of Alarmism Makes Us Afraid of Everything and How to Fight Back,” based on the premise that “It’s critical that moms be able to discern between false alarmism and real risks.” She discusses her book in a recent … [Read more...]

Fight Cancer by Attacking Known Causes

"Six Solid Ways To Reduce Your Cancer Risk -- And That Of Your Children," by Geoffrey Kabat. We hear so much these days about cancer threats from exposure to trace amounts of pesticides and industrial chemicals in our food, water, cosmetics, sleepwear, and in playgrounds. This constant drumbeat of what invariably turn out to be miniscule or non-existent threats confuses many people, and diverts attention from what are the major known, avoidable causes of cancer and what we can do to reduce our … [Read more...]

Cupcakes and Chemicals: NRO Interviews Julie Gunlock

"Cupcakes, Chemicals, and a Culture of Alarmism," Katheryn Jean Lopez interview with Julie Gunlock. ‘I’m a mother — a mother of three hungry, energetic boys — who is tired of those who try to make parenting, and plain old living, more complicated, stressful, and less fun than it should be,” Julie Gunlock declares in the introduction of her new book, From Cupcakes to Chemicals: How the Culture of Alarmism Makes Us Afraid of Everything and How to Fight Back. “It’s critical,” she adds, “that moms … [Read more...]

EPA Appoints “Science” Official

"In the mood for some nice government-speak? EPA appoints new 'Scientific Integrity Official,'” by American Council on Science and Health. Well, we can all rest a little uneasier today: thanks to a new EPA appointee, there will be a sudden and profound uptick in the environmental agency’s integrity when evaluating research and formulating scientific policies. Not. In announcing the creation of a new Orwellian-sounding position called the “scientific integrity official,” EPA administrator Gina … [Read more...]

From Cupcakes to Chemicals

"Fearmongering: Be Afraid… Of Everything!" by Julie Gunlock. A few years ago, I was watching the news and was shocked to learn that my garden hose was incredibly dangerous. Say, what? The newscaster anchoring the program that night seemed really upset about this story. He leaned forward in his seat, stuttered… and…wait…did I see him tear up? Did his voice just crack? Oh my gosh, he’s going to cry! Read more at IWF's Inwell Blog. … [Read more...]

Toxin’s, Turkey-Day, and Chemophobia

"Thanksgiving Chemophobia - If Toxins Scare You, Stop Eating," By Hank Campbell. When I was younger, only Rachel Carson was ruining dinner and her evidence-by-anecdote heritage in Silent Spring still lingers with us today. To many in America, 'carcinogens' are a bad word, DDT will give you cancer 6 months after you spray it on crops and all chemicals are bad. And that is just among Grist readers. Once you broaden it out to the rest of progressives, you will find them paralyzed by "chemophobia" … [Read more...]

Chemical Alarmists’ Vocabulary

"An Alarmist Vocabulary: Chemical Is 'Linked To,' 'Study Suggests,' 'Consistent With,' by Angela Logomasini Headlines continue to appear to claiming that a recent study has shown that the chemical bisphenol A increases the risk of miscarriage, which I addressed in a Forbes article last week. There are many problems with this research, such as the fact that it is not available in a published, peer-reviewed format. Check out my piece here for more details. This issue raises a bigger concern … [Read more...]

Halloween Fears and Environmentalist Tricks

"Ignore the Halloween Alarmist," By Julie Gunlock We've entered scary season. On Halloween, people actually enjoy getting spooked. Yet increasingly, feeling frightened isn't a choice or a once-a-year occurrence. Each day, Americans, particularly moms, are told they should be terrified – not of monsters, goblins and ghosts – but of their spray cleaner, makeup, moisturizer, their children's clothing and the food they eat. Why is every day Halloween for so many American moms? The reason is simple: … [Read more...]

Things to Know About the Environmental Working Group

"5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Environmental Working Group," By the Center for Consumer Freedom. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) does not represent mainstream scientific views on the health risks from chemicals. According to a survey conducted for the George Mason University Statistical Assessment Service by pollster Harris International, 79 percent of members of the Society of Toxicology — experts on health risks from chemicals — who expressed an opinion thought EWG overstated … [Read more...]

Junk-Science Attacks on Consumer Products

"Junk Science Attacks On Important Products And Technologies Diminish Us All," By Dr. Henry Miller. As far back as 1995, renowned American astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan expressed concern about the trend in this country toward a society in which, “clutching our crystals and religiously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in steep decline…we slide, almost without noticing, into superstition and darkness.” Almost two decades later, thanks in large part to the actions … [Read more...]

Nick Kristof Flunks Chemistry

"Nutty Nick Kristof Flunks Chemistry Again, and Again…Nothing New Here. We’ve Written About this Before," by American Council on Science and Health. Once the esteemed New York Times columnist Nick Kristof gets out of his comfort (and knowledge) zone he goes from a really great commentator to an ignorant scaremonger. Sort of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydrogen. But even he has outdone himself this time. In an effort to be seen as a superhero against the evil chemical industry he is grabbing for straws … [Read more...]

Scary Results of Scaring Would-Be Parents

"Want More Babies? Stop Needlessly Terrifying Pregnant Women," by Carrie L. Lukas. Western democracies face a growing problem. No, it's not the ballooning budget deficits, swelling entitlement programs, or expanding ranks of the permanently unemployed. This time the problem is what's not growing: Too few women are having babies to sustain the population. ... Take the recent release from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Society for Reproductive Medicine, … [Read more...]

Chemicals & Breast-Cancer-Awareness Month

"Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Also be Aware of Quackery," by American Council on Science and Health. The recent updated re-revision of the Women’s Health Initiative data on hormone replacement therapy reminds us, as if we needed reminding, that October is breast cancer awareness month. Even without the new information — which didn’t actually say much different from the prior re-revision, i.e. HRT is safe for menopausal symptom control — the awareness of BCA Month is inescapable for sentient … [Read more...]

Doctors Urged to Scare Expectant Moms About Chemicals

"Pregnant Women Encouraged to Worry about Everything," by Carrie L. Lukas. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Society for Reproductive Medicine are calling on doctors and the government to do more to warn pregnant women about the dangers of chemical exposure. I'd like to see the exact wording of their statement (which didn't appear to be available on either website). I'd hope that it is more tailored and nuanced than the headlines it is generating such as … [Read more...]

Walmart Goes Green

"Even Retail Giant Walmart Caves to Anti-Chemical Activists," American Council on Science and Health. 138829_6871In fear of getting left behind, Walmart — the world’s largest retailer — followed in Procter & Gamble’s footsteps last week in deciding to require full disclosure of chemicals used by companies selling cosmetics and cleaning products. Ironically, that list is undisclosed, but if it’s anything like the one produced by Procter & Gamble recently to rid the industry of long-used, … [Read more...]

Green Attacks on Consumer Choice

"Green Market Pressure Takes Toll on Consumer Choice," by Angela Logomasini. When environmentalists don’t have the political power to regulate away consumer choice, they sometimes can get industry to do the job for them. Most recently, Proctor and Gamble (P&G) has decided to phase out the chemical triclosan, which has been used in a wide range of soap products to reduce risks from bacteria. P&G’s announcement follows other dumb triclosan phase outs that Colgate Palmolive (2011) and … [Read more...]

Backpacks & Other School Supplies–Not “Toxic”

"No Case for “Toxic” School Supplies," by American Council on Science and Health. It’s that time of year again. Summer’s over, and school is starting again. And with this new year comes another (predictable) chance for activist groups posing as scientific experts to scare parents about “toxic” chemicals found in children’s school supplies. Some take it further as well, warning consumers about cosmetics, cleaning supplies and furniture. The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) even … [Read more...]

Dartmouth Chemist Takes on ‘Chemophobia’

"Are Worries about Chemical Danger Overblown?" By Deborah Kotz. Concerns about the dangers caused by the use of man-made chemicals in our environment has caused what Gordon Gribble, a professor of organic chemistry at Dartmouth, calls a “colossal mess,” causing some people to go to extreme lengths to avoid such chemicals. Some people take pains to avoid all things that they identify as dangerous chemicals to the point that it impairs their daily lives, a phenomenon known as “chemophobia.” It … [Read more...]

Chemophobia and Food Safety

"Food Fears Continue to Plague Americans, Whipped by Chemophobia," by American Council on Science and Health. In a recent issue of the journal Food Security, Dr. Gordon Gribble, Professor of Chemistry at Dartmouth College (and a long-time ACSH advisor) writes about Food Chemistry and Chemophobia. The latter is a term meaning an irrational fear of chemicals in the environment: that no matter how tiny an exposure one faces, it is to be avoided at all costs. Dr. Gribble points out how unnecessary … [Read more...]

Anti-Alarmist Role Model

"Emily Oster: Anti-Alarmist Role Model," by Julie Gunlock. Saturday's Wall Street Journal ran an article covering the many warnings pregnant women face today. It wasn’t just the content of the piece that caught and kept my attention; it was what the writer represented—a woman in charge of her own health and the health of her baby. This woman wasn’t going to be pushed around or unnecessarily frightened by the alarmists. Read the full story on IWF's Inkwell Blog. … [Read more...]

There’s No Such Thing as a Natural Remedy

"Don’t be Fooled by ‘Natural’ Buzzwords", by Christopher Labos. I learned a new word recently. A colleague introduced me to the term “chemophobia” — the fear of chemicals. He showed me an article in the New York Times Magazine about people’s preference for taking a “natural” remedy over standard medication. This feeling is understandable, and I’ve come across it many times, but I was surprised to see that it had actually been given a name and that people were writing in defense of it. What I … [Read more...]

Risks of “Green” Goods and Food

"Making Products and Food Less Safe," by Julie Gunlock. The environmental group behind the Mind the Store Campaign is dead set on making products less safe. That makes me mad. As a mother, I simply don’t understand why this group is so determined to take perfectly safe and reasonably priced products and make them less so—especially when many of the products the campaign targets are for kids. Thankfully, the campaign’s first phase (to pressure retailers to take products off store shelves) failed … [Read more...]

Greens Attack Pepsi

"4-MEI Under Attack Again," by American Council on Science and Health. Those chemical alarmist groups are at it again, and as is so often the case, they are being aided and abetted by their pals in the regulatory state. Just before the long July 4th weekend, the anti-chemical activist group Center for Environmental Health released a report asserting that Pepsi is continuing to sell soda made with 4-MEI (4-methylimidazole) despite it being added to the list of carcinogens regulated under … [Read more...]

Smart Response to Buzzfeed Article on “Dangerous” Food

"8 Foods The USA Bans But Other Nations Don't," by Emily Willingham. Perhaps you’ve seen the viral Buzzfeed article about the eight foods other countries banned that the US does not. Perhaps it occurred to you that just because something is used to slow down a fire doesn’t mean it or its components are always a bad thing (water, anyone?). But others have amply taken on the deep and depressing science literacy deficits of that particular article, so I thought I’d take a different tack today and … [Read more...]

Activists Capitalize on “Mommy Guilt”

"Mommy Guilt: It’s an Industry," by Julie Gunlock. [A]ccording to a national online survey just released by the Independent Women’s Forum, “mommy guilt” is pervasive among women. Yet, women should be aware that their guilt is proving to be a goldmine for many environmental and public-health organizations that capitalize on mommy guilt in order to further certain regulatory goals.This mommy-guilt industry is made up of organizations that present themselves as moderate voices working to ensure … [Read more...]

Food Chemophobia

"Eight Toxic Foods: A Little Chemical Education," by Derek Lowe. Many people who read this blog are chemists. Those who aren't often come from other branch of the sciences, and if they don't, it's safe to say that they're at least interested in science (or they probably don't hang around very long!) It's difficult, if you live and work in this sort of environment, to keep in mind what people are willing to believe about chemistry. But that's what we have the internet for. Many science-oriented … [Read more...]

Toxic Claims About Chemicals in Food

"Daily Mail's Shocking List of Lies About Chemicals in Food," Julie Gunlock. Alrighty…everyone take a deep breath. And, for heaven’s sake, stop cleaning out your refrigerator and pantry of “toxic” food. If you’re one of the many panicked people who read the recent Daily Mail article revealing a “shocking list” of foods that contain “dangerous chemicals,” calm yourself: this is alarmism at its finest. In fact, the article actually advises readers to “sit down before reading” that “Many of the … [Read more...]

Green Groups Should Mind Their Own Business

"Radical Environmentalists Should Mind Their Own Business," by Julie Gunlock. Typically environmental organizations target consumers with overwrought warnings of how some everyday product or activity is destroying the world and threatening their health. Yet now, activists are turning their targets toward major retailers. These companies should reject these scare tactics, which will harm not only their businesses, but consumers too. The “Mind the Store” campaign, the latest initiative of a … [Read more...]

“Killer” Raincoats

"Be Very Scared...of Your Raincoat," by Julie Gunlock. The folks over at the innocently named "Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families" organization are freaking out again...this time, over your kid's raincoat. It's important to remember that this is the same group behind the nonsensical "mind the store" campaign which seeks to remove thousands of popular products from store shelves (please sign our petition against the campaign here). Read the full article on IWF's Inkwell Blog. … [Read more...]

Pregnancy Study Unhelpful

"RCOG Report on Chemical Exposures During Rregnancy" by Sense about Science. “Pregnancy is a time when people spend a lot of time and money trying to work out which advice to follow, and which products to buy or avoid. The simple question parents want answered during pregnancy is: ‘Should we be worried?’ What we need is help in navigating these debates about chemicals and pregnancy. Disappointingly, the RCOG report has ducked this. Read the full commentary on Sense about Science. … [Read more...]

Alarmist Study on Pregnancy and Chemicals

"Pregnancy Safety Advice Prompts Criticism," by Michelle Roberts. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has been criticised for saying pregnant women may want to "play it safe" and avoid chemicals found in many common household products. It says there is not enough information about the chemical risks to foetuses from cosmetics and food packaging. Items which it suggests should be avoided include tinned food, ready meals, shower gel and even new cars. Critics say the advice is … [Read more...]

Tell Alarmists to Mind Their Own Business!

"Petition to Save Consumer Choice," by the Independent Women's Forum. Radical environmental activist groups are determined to take popular items off store shelves and limit consumer choice. The "Mind the Store" campaign is the latest initiative to pressure the nation’s largest retailers to remove products from store shelves that contain, in any amount, any of the 100 chemicals the campaign considers "hazardous". The environmental organization behind "Mind the Store" claims these chemicals … [Read more...]

IWF to Retailers: Mind Consumer Rights

"Retailers Should Keep Consumers — Not Greens — In Mind," by Angela Logomasini. As part of its Culture of Alarmism project, the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) has recently launched a coalition letter – which includes CEI — to retailers to combat the greens so-called “Mind the Store“ campaign. We (IWF, CEI, and 21 other groups) advise retailers to ignore radical greens’ advice to remove certain products from store shelves, and instead honor consumer freedom. Read the full article at … [Read more...]

Chemophobic Mom Blogs

"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 … [Read more...]

NRDC’s Junk Claims on “Endocrine-Disrupting” Chemicals

"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 … [Read more...]

New York Times and Chemical Alarmism

"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 … [Read more...]

Scientist takes on Chemophobia

"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 … [Read more...]

Response to Fran Drescher on Cancer Causes

"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. … [Read more...]

Danger from Culture of Alarmism

"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. … [Read more...]

Junk Science in the News

"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. … [Read more...]

Hype Surrounds WHO Report on Endocrine Disrupters

"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 … [Read more...]

Dangers of Chemophobia

"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 … [Read more...]

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