Tribute to a Great Leader: Dr. Elizabeth Whelan

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...]

BPA Science

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"Trust Robust Science, Don’t Blame BPA", By BPA Coalition. The exposure of a fraud who stoked BPA fears to advance his career should remind us all to trust robust science from authoritative sources. On September 10, NBC News in the United States revealed that Anoop Shankar, a researcher at West Virginia University, had fabricated his qualifications to obtain his position and also allegedly altered his research findings. This is of particular interest for the BPA Coalition because several of his … [Read more...]

Deborah Blum’s “Poisoned Pen”: BPA Hype

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"The Raging Controversy Over BPA Shows No Signs Of Abating," by Geoffrey Kabat (STATS). But that doesn’t mean that the two opposing sides have equal merit. In her “Poison Pen” blog in last week’s New York Times, the science writer Deborah Blum calls attention to new research that raises alarming questions about adverse effects on the female reproductive organs from exposure to BPA (bisphenol-A). Her article is titled, “In Plastics and Cans, a Threat to Women.” Blum described work by Jodi Flaws, … [Read more...]

Dutch BPA Investigation: Current Science Indicates Low Risk

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"Dutch Public Health Institute ‘State of Knowledge’ on BPA: Not a Risk," By BPA Coalition. The news about bisphenol-A (BPA) continues. Last week, the Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) issued Part 1 of its investigation into BPA. RIVM’s report did not evaluate or cite specific studies but summarizes conclusions from earlier evaluations. Part 1 “gives an overview of the state of knowledge about BPA”. The institute’s appraisal of the available information … [Read more...]

Scaremongering, BPA, and the New York Times

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"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

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"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

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"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...]

Pesticide Bans Doing Harm Rather than Good

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"EPA Pesticide Bans Threaten You and the Economy," By By Alan Caruba. When Rachel Carson’s book, “Silent Spring”, was published, filled with totally false claims about DDT, the Environmental Protection Agency looked it over and concluded she had used manipulated data. They concluded that DDT should not be banned, but its first administrator, William Ruckleshaus, overruled the agency and imposed a ban. ... I cite this history from the 1970s because most people believe that the EPA operates on … [Read more...]

School Kids, Caulk, and PCBs

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"Are Kids Eating Window Caulk?" By Julie Gunlock. Well known cover girl Cindy Crawford is pulling her kids out of their Malibu school because routine soil tests on the school grounds found elevated levels of a chemicals called PCBs in window caulking in the class rooms. PCBs were banned by Congress in 1976 after it was revealed they could cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems. Over the years, schools have been instructed to remove the caulking around windows if the schools … [Read more...]

Hype about Window Caulk and PCBs

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"When There Is A Penis Mystery, Just Blame Endocrine Disruptors," By By Hank Campbell. Cindy Crawford says polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) will cause her son not to reproduce. She hasn't gone full-on Jenny McCarthy or anything, but there's never been a single study to find PCBs in window caulk can be an endocrine disruptor. There haven't been PCBs linked to reproductive issues at all, except in cases where animals in labs have been subjected to surfactants and gavage dosing of the stuff - the … [Read more...]

Kids at Risk from Window Caulk–Not

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"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

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"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

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"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 Free” Now Under Attack

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"Meet BPA-Free, The New BPA," By Steve Hentges. There’s an emerging trend, of late, in the seemingly endless saga of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which is most commonly used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Although the BPA saga has not yet become completely passé, much of the attention that had been given to BPA is now focused on alternatives to BPA. Indeed, it seems that BPA-Free is becoming the new BPA. For what seemed an eternity, BPA had been at the center of a perfect … [Read more...]

Honeybee problems: Complex and Multiple

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"No Simple Answer to Bee Issues Exists," By Henry I. Miller, MD. Jennifer Sass's comments about my op-ed "The Buzz About a Bee-pocalypse Is a Honey Trap" are misguided and misleading (Letters, Aug. 6). Although the number of U.S. honey bee colonies has fallen from a World War II peak of about five million to around 2.5 million today, the number of U.S. bee colonies has remained relatively stable and has even slightly increased over the two decades since neonicotinoid pesticides ("neonics") were … [Read more...]

Are Honeybee Populations Really Declining?

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"Honeybee Population in Decline—Or Not?," By Angela Logomasini, Ph.D. If you read the news about honeybee survival, it’s all very confusing. Some sources sound the alarm by pointing out that the number of honeybee hives has dropped significantly in recent decades. Others say just the opposite: There are more hives today than ever before. Which is it? Actually, both. Read more. … [Read more...]

BPA Junk Science

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"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

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"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

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"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...]

The Buzz About a Bee-pocalypse

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"Why the Buzz About a Bee-pocalypse Is a Honey Trap" By Henry I. Miller. On June 20 the White House issued a presidential memorandum creating a Pollinator Health Task Force and ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to "assess the effect of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, on bee and other pollinator health and take action, as appropriate." Why the fuss over bees? Is the U.S. in the midst of a bee-pocalypse? The science says no. Bee populations in the U.S. and Europe remain at … [Read more...]

Pesticides and Public Health

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"Pesticides and Health: What You Need to Know," By IFIC Foundation. “Pesticide” can be an ominous sounding word to the average consumer. The suffix “cide,” which comes from Latin cidere meaning “to kill,” has its roots in Shakespearean literature (“Beware the ides of March.”) But in today’s modern world, it has very little to do with Shakespeare. Pesticides have come under scrutiny by some groups and individuals expressing concerns about everything from food safety to nutritional quality to … [Read more...]

California Regulator Details Pesticide Benefits

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"Viewpoints: Pesticides are Critical to Providing a Safe, Reliable Food Supply," By Brian R. Leahy. Last year I managed to lose a tooth due to a sliver of a wayward pistachio shell. As a result, I have come to know an excellent oral surgeon in Sacramento who is Harvard-educated and has a wicked sense of humor.  On my last visit, he told me that he had just harvested his backyard plums. With a big smile, he said that because he had not used any pesticides on his fruit he did not fall under my … [Read more...]

Beekeeper Questions Claims about Honeybees and Pesticides

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"Another View: Evidence is Questionable that Pesticide is Harming Honeybees," By Randy Oliver. I commend The Bee for promoting environmental awareness (“ A lot is riding on finding culprit in honeybee deaths”; Editorials, July 27). However, contrary to popular myth, honeybees are actually in no danger of extinction. In fact, the number of managed bee hives has been increasing in the U.S. and nearly every country in the world. The reality is that the number of hives goes up and down depending … [Read more...]

Ban on BPA Resins May Increase Food-Borne Illnesses

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"Greens' Attempt To Ban Bisphenol A Will Endanger Public Health," By Angela Logomasini. Thanks to green alarmism, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) recently introduced the “Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2014,” which would eliminate the chemical Bisphenol A from food containers. Applauding Markey’s bill, the Environmental Working Group exclaimed in a press statement: “Science shows that BPA is present in the vast majority of Americans and is harmful to human health.” Yet the overwhelming body of … [Read more...]

WTC-Dust and Cancer Claims

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"Another Scare Story About Deadly WTC-Dust and Cancer," By American Council on Science and Heatlh. WTC RescuersThe issue of toxic dust and fumes causing a host of diseases and ailments among the heroic workers on 9-11 and subsequently who valiantly tried to find survivors of the terrorist attacks on NYC, is a touchy one. To many, it seemed obvious that breathing in the fumes and dust of that wreckage was bound to cause harm to the workers, despite the rather rapid pronouncement of “no risk” by … [Read more...]

Bee-pocalyse Trap

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“The Buzz About a Bee-pocalyse Is a Honey Trap”, By American Council on Science and Health. ACSH friend and former trustee, Dr. Henry Miller of Stanford’s Hoover Institution, has another of his typically-erudite and incisive op-eds, this one in today’s Wall Street Journal. This has a wealth of bee-and-neonicotinoid-related information, all of which points to these twin dangers: Read more. … [Read more...]

Questionable Conclusions of DDT Study on Mice and Obesity

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"DDT Linked To Obesity In Female Mice Long After Exposure," By Hank Campbell. A new epidemiology paper in PLOS ... DDT exposure may have made you fat ... The researchers found an intriguing effect; pregnant female mice fed DDT and their female offspring had a lower tolerance for cold temperature and other changes in metabolism. Just like humans, if mice aren't burning calories, they are storing them and that means they get fat. The authors not only suggest the results apply to humans anyway. … [Read more...]

Quack Alert: NaturalNews.com

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"If You Care About The Organic Revolution, Disavow Mike Adams," By Hank Campbell. Revolutions are messy business, they require participation by a type of personality that is not very savory; militant, bombastic, a little crazy ... In the American Revolution, Sam Adams was the firebrand. He had lost his shirt as a businessman but found his calling as an extreme patriot. His form of zealotry was unwelcome at the national level after the war was won, however. Organic food has its own Adams doing … [Read more...]

Questionable Study on Organic Food

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"Study Funded by Organic Ideologues Finds Organic Benefits," By Center for Consumer Freedom. A new review funded by the U.K.-based organic farming group Sheepdrove Trust reported in the British Journal of Nutrition that organic crops are healthier than the non-organic variety. It’s a convenient finding for the Trust’s stable-mate, Sheepdrove Organic Farm, which will happily sell Britons any number of organic food products they produce. The group is elated by conclusions of the report it paid … [Read more...]

Honeybee Health, Neonicotinoids, and Misinformation

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"The Honeybees Are Just Fine," by Richard Tren. Is a relatively new class of insecticides, known as neonicotinoids or "neonics," harming bees and other wildlife? That's what the International Union for the Conservation of Nature claimed in a recent press release announcing the results of a meta-study the organization conducted earlier this year. One might have expected the press release to be accompanied by the underlying scientific studies. But that wasn't the case. Read more. … [Read more...]

Green Building Junk Science

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"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...]

Just More Bee-S?

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"Fewer Bees or Just More Bee-S? By American Council on Science and Health. In today’s New York Times, Mark Winston writes a heart-wrenching column about a problem that will sooner or later come back to sting all of us in a big way—massive die-offs of bees. There are (at least) three problems, though, with his piece: 1. Winston provides no data to support his claim about the “bee colony collapse” that we have been hearing about. 2. This is because there is no such collapse. 3. This does not … [Read more...]

Nutrition of Conventional Crops v. Organic

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"Fewer Pesticides and More Antioxidants on Organic Crops: So What?" By American Council on Science and Health. A multi-center, international group of scientists culled the world’s literature and found several hundred studies which they then analyzed (a meta-analysis) to discern significant differences between conventionally-grown crops and organic crops (and foods made from them). They found, on average, a 17 percent higher level of “antioxidants” and a lower rate of detection of various … [Read more...]

BPA Exposure and Your Health

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"Are You Exposed To BPA, And Does It Matter?" By Steve Hentges. For quite a few years, one of the most popular chemicals for scientific inquiry has been bisphenol A (BPA). Scientists around the world have been conducting a diverse array of studies aimed at understanding whether BPA poses a risk to human health. Based on the weight of evidence from these many studies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently answered the question “Is BPA safe?” with a simple and unambiguous answer - … [Read more...]

Questionable Organic Food Study

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"Is Organic Food More Nutritious And Safer Than Conventional? Reviewing A Recent Systematic Review," By Hank Campbell. A recent review in the British Journal of Nutrition concluded that the nutritional quality and safety of organic food was higher than conventional food. Fruits, vegetables, and grains, organic versions were better in all ways than conventional farming, they determined. Organic food had fewer pesticides, a much different result than other studies, and also had more important … [Read more...]

Enjoy Those Fries: Acrylamide Fears Unwarranted

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"Europe and Australia/New Zealand Buy into Misguided Acrylamide Scare," By American Council on Science and Health. Hasn’t the European Union’s European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) ever heard the (very) old adage that “the dose makes the poison”? From what they say in their latest report on acrylamide, it does not appear so. Basing their decision to post a warning solely on animal studies, they warn that dietary acrylamide is a carcinogenic hazard to humans. And toeing the line with its … [Read more...]

Should We Fear Flames or Flame Retardants?

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"Be Very Afraid of Flame-Retardants: NY Times Blog. Why? They Don’t (can’t) Say," By American Council on Science and Health. Another in the very long line of toxic terrors comes your way in today’s “Science” section of the paper of record, the New York Times. One of their favorites from their stable of scaremongers, Deborah Blum (writing, quite appropriately, in her “Poison Pen” blog), has taken the trouble to warn us, again, about the omnipresence of [insert the word “toxic” here as needed] … [Read more...]

Lawmakers Offer Foolish BPA Bill

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“Senator Chemophobe” Again Tries to Ban BPA from Food Packaging," By American Council on Science and Health. He’s back at it again. Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts (along with two of his acolytes in the House) is now introducing a bill that would ban BPA from food and beverage containers. The Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2014, as the bill is named, would also give waivers to those manufacturers who want to seek “safer” alternatives to BPA, while requiring them to label their … [Read more...]

Human Efforts Will Save the Honeybees

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“'Tampering' with Nature to Save Honeybees," By Angela Logomasini. Environmental groups are calling for an immediate suspension of an entire class of pesticides in order to save ailing honeybee populations—and they won’t wait for results of a recently launched federal effort to study the problem. But the greens' strategy won’t help the honeybees because it targets the least likely cause of recent beehive losses and ignores the more likely ones. Underlying the activists’ ban-now-think-later … [Read more...]

Chemical Misperceptions

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"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...]

Pesticides and the West Nile Virus

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"Killer sand, WMD Insect Spray, and other Idiocy," by American Council on Science and Health. Last year we at ACSH were instrumental in getting the village of Ocean Beach, located on Long Island, to overturn its decades-old chemophobic policy of refusing to participate in the mosquito control program that was routinely used in most of Long Island, as well as wide areas of New York City. We were prompted to do so after ACSH friend Jim Capuono—a six year survivor of colon cancer—nearly died from … [Read more...]

EU Stops Unscientific Ban on Phthalates

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"Phthalates Given a Reprieve by the EU — Surprisingly, Given European Devotion to the Precautionary Principle," by American Council on Science and Health. Plastics! Nothing to Fear...In a surprisingly pro-science stance, the European Commission has swatted away a rebellion by the Danish environmental authorities to race ahead of the science and institute a ban on 4 types of phthalates. These plasticizer chemicals have been targeted by many “environmental” and “consumer” NGOs over the past 15 … [Read more...]

Few Docs Express Concern about “Chemicals” to Expecting Moms

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"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...]

Science Not Politics to Help Honeybees

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"Beekeepers/Farmers Need Answers, not Giant Inflatable Bees," By Elton Robinson. Protestors insisted that Loews remove neonicotinoid insecticides from its shelves. But the protestors once again cited poorly-constructed research about the insecticide's role in bee health. Last month, members of group called SumOfUs.org, sporting a giant inflatable bee, organized a protest at a Lowe’s shareholder meeting, insisting that the corporation “remove bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides from its … [Read more...]

Lawmakers Speak Out on Honeybee Issue

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"Cutting Through the Buzz: Pollinator Numbers Are Up," By Reps. Tom Rooney and David Valadao. For some time now, the media has been issuing dire warnings of the coming “bee- pocalypse.” Time magazine ran a cover story titled, “A World Without Bees.” A headline in the London Telegraph proclaimed “Honey bees in US facing extinction.” CBS warned of the drastic threat to our food supply if these essential pollinators are lost. Yet reports of bees’ catastrophic demise are greatly exaggerated. … [Read more...]

A Plan for Saving the Honeybees?

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"Can Obama Save the Honey Bees?," by David Clark Scott. Who could be against saving the honey bees? For politicians, this is what's called an "Apple Pie" issue. And who pollinates the apple trees? On Friday, Obama signed a presidential memo ordering the federal government to come up with a plan for protecting pollinators such as honey bees, butterflies, birds and bats. "The problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid … [Read more...]

Bee-S Beepocalypse

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"Bee-S Beepocalypse - Don't Make The Perfect The Enemy Of The Good," by Hank Campbell. Generally speaking, when a politician goes on television and says he is creating a special task force to look at a product, you know what happened; someone wrote about it in the New York Times and someone did a poll and someone else told him it would look presidential to be bold. And then someone in the environmental movement will invoke DDT. Really, the EPA was not created 40 years ago to protect us from … [Read more...]

Honeybee Science

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"Activists Declare The Science Settled - Neonicotinoids Are Killing Bees," By Hank Campbell. Want to scare people about a pesticide? Compare it to DDT. 40+ years after it was banned in a bit of scientization of politics, people have still heard of it. DDT may be the only pesticide many people have ever heard of. Environmental groups love to invoke it for that reason.  But if you are a fan of science, when you see a DDT comparison, you know evidence has left the building. DDT, when misapplied, … [Read more...]

Pesticides and Autism Link?

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"UC-Davis Group Links Pesticides to Autism — Without Measuring Pesticides. What?," by American Council on Science and Health. There they go again: a group of “academics” long-devoted to finding pesticide toxicity by any means necessary has accomplished their goal! What goal, you ask? They have attained a vast amount of media attention (sure, mostly in the “enviro-blogosphere,” but many mainstream folks have swallowed this whole as well, thanks to the PR folks at UC-Davis and that font of … [Read more...]

Closing the Shower Curtain on Obsesity Claims

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"Shower Curtains Don't Make You Fat," by Julie Gunlock. Ladies, if you’re currently flooding your bathroom each morning because you decided to toss your shower curtain due to some hysterical article you read (and sadly, believed) about shower curtains making people fat, stop what you’re doing. Save your floor grout and reattach that shower curtain. Your shower curtain is guilty of no such sin! Read more. … [Read more...]

Blaming Shower Curtains for Obesity

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"Do We Really Have to Worry About Shower Curtains Causing Weight Gain?" by Geoffrey Kabat, Stats.org. Several days ago an article titled “Is Your Shower Curtain Making You Fat?” appeared in the magazine Spry and was then reprinted in the Dodge City Daily Globe. The article drew readers’ attention to the dangers of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), giving 5 examples of chemicals used in everyday consumer products (BPA, phthalates, PVC, PFC’s, and PBDFs). With a quote from a professor of … [Read more...]

Organic Labeling Double Standard

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"Organic Lobbyists Petition To Prevent USDA From Having Organic Food Oversight," By Hank Campbell. Since 1990 organic food has been allowed to exist independently of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the one federal agency responsible for food safety and quality. Sure, organic food still gets recalls, lots of them - using feces as fertilizer and having customers who think food doesn't need to be washed will do that - but the definition of 'organic' is not determined by the USDA. Those … [Read more...]

Infectious and Unscientific Attack on Antibacterial Soap

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"Green Group's Unscientific Attack on Soap," By Erik Telford. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is tasked with promoting public health by ensuring the safety and efficacy of medicines and consumer products. But like most federal bureaucracies under the Obama administration, it has allowed its regulatory agenda to be influenced by activist groups. The FDA’s latest target is, of all things, antibacterial soaps, which fringe activists believe pose a variety of health and environmental … [Read more...]

Greens Admit: BPA Does Not Cause Breast Cancer

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"BPA A Concern For Breast Cancer? Not According To Study By Leading Environmental Group," by Trevor Butterworth, Stats.org. A massive synthesis of data from the National Toxicology Program and consensus reports from international cancer authorities has identified 102 chemicals as critical for breast cancer research and prevention. The list, compiled by researchers from the Silent Spring Institute and the Harvard School of Public Health, is derived from studies of chemical exposures and mammary … [Read more...]

Ban Threatens Honeybees and Farming

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"There is No ‘Bee Armageddon’: Misguided Neonics Ban Threatens Honeybees and Farming," byJon Entine, Stats.org. Science can’t be rushed. Usually legislators make policy decisions on controversial issues only after carefully weighing current research. But just the opposite has unfolded in the EU. European Commissioners last year passed a two-year ban on a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids in a preemptive move to protect honeybees, after sketchy reports of higher-than-normal winter … [Read more...]

Honeybee Health and Headlines

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"Good News and Bad News about Honeybees," By Angela Logomasini. News stories related to honeybee health the past few weeks are all over the map. Some headlines claim that new research proves that honeybees are dying off because of pesticides, while others say honeybees are doing just fine. But reality is different than either scenario. Beekeepers surely have their challenges, but banning pesticide's won't help them or their bees. Much of the media "bad news" comes from a recent Harvard … [Read more...]

Pesticides Used on Organic Food

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"The Biggest Myth About Organic Farming," By Ross Pomeroy. The majority of Americans believe that organic foods are healthier than food grown using conventional methods. The majority of Americans are wrong. Two systematic reviews, one from Stanford University and the other by a team of researchers based out of the United Kingdom, turned up no evidence that organic foods are more nutritious or lead to better health-related outcomes for consumers. But the idea that organic foods are healthier … [Read more...]

Regulators More Dangerous than Pesticides

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"Killer Regulators Are More Dangerous To Bees Than Neonics Are," By Hank Campbell. At a time when the EPA is rushing to place new regulations on the one thing that is still cheap and increasingly environmentally effective in America, energy, it may seem strange to laud the EPA. But career scientists do solid work there. I made that point in a comment about Rachel Carson and "Silent Spring" recently. While the book was not very solid scientifically it was certainly effective culturally. Every … [Read more...]

BPA Politics

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"Politicizing Livers: No, We Are Not Kidding," by American Council on Science and Health. An op-ed by Merrill Matthews in Investors.com, the online blog of Investors Business Daily would seem to say no. The piece entitled Left Wants EPA To Ban Chemical FDA Says Isn’t Harmful describes how a common and harmless chemical—bisphenol A, aka BPA— has turned into a political rallying point for groups that have nothing better to do than to try to ban it. They may be misguided, but at least you have … [Read more...]

Flame Retardants in Soft Drinks Less Risky than Water

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"Inflamed Debate Over a Soda Additive," By Angela Logomasini. A recent announcement by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo that these companies are pulling the ingredient brominated vegetable oil (BVO) out of their soft drinks is no big surprise. It’s yet another example of how junk science and media hype forces needless product reformulations. While such actions don’t make us safer or healthier, they promise to make us poorer.   This case started with a 2013 petition on Change.org, pushed by a … [Read more...]

Bee Busybodies Rebuked

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"Bad News for Bee Busybodies," Washington Times Editorial. The hardy honeybees are back, having returned from dark and mysterious places in the imaginations of the environmentalists. The latest numbers from the Agriculture Department are a stinging rebuke to the doomsayers who spread hysterical tales of a mysterious apocalypse of beedom. In the latest annual survey, federal bee counters reported the lowest rate of over-the-winter bee losses in nearly a decade. Beekeepers call a loss of 19 … [Read more...]

Chemical Scare Stories Debunked

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"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...]

FDA: BPA Dose is Too Low to Have Health Effects

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"FDA: No Low-Dose Chemical Dangers," by Dennis Avery. The Food and Drug Administration has just loudly re-endorsed perhaps the oldest truth in science—that the dose makes the poison. Paracelsus, the father of toxicology, told us 500 years ago, “All substances are poison. There is none which is not a poison. The right dose makes the difference between a poison and a remedy.” Even sunlight and water are poisons at high doses. The FDA has just commented on a new study which found no health impact … [Read more...]

Green Calls for BPA Ban Unwarranted

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"Left Wants EPA To Ban Chemical FDA Says Isn't Harmful," By Merrill Mathews. President Ronald Reagan famously asserted, "The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program." He might have added that the second nearest thing is a completely discredited left-wing cause. Exhibit A: Since the left can't convince the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to outlaw the chemical BPA, it wants the Environmental Protection Agency to take over. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is … [Read more...]

Friends of the Earth’s Phony Science

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"Espousing Phony Science? You Better Hope Hank Campbell Doesn’t Find Out," By American Council on Science and Health. ACSH friend (and the creator of the enormously popular Science 2.0 website) has the uncanny ability to sniff out bad (and hypocritical) science, and when he does, he is not shy about speaking his mind. This time he goes after the radical environmental group Friends of the Earth, and by the time they read his piece they will not be “Friends of Hank.” His message is about the … [Read more...]

Tackling Anti-Chemical, Unscientific Nonsense

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"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...]

Improving Honeybee Health

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"Nationwide Survey Shows Dramatic Improvement in Honeybee Health," by Todd Myers. During the last week, there has been a great deal of attention to a study claiming pesticides are responsible for an increase in honeybee hive death. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), beekeepers and scientists have been working to find out what is to blame for the trend. What has been ignored, however, is recent good news about CCD. A recent study by Bee Informed, a nationwide survey of beekeepers, the … [Read more...]

Too Strictly Organic?

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"To “Be” or “Not to Be” Organic?" by Dan Janzen. The virtues of many aspects of the Organic Movement such as heightened concern for healthy eating, and increased sensitivity or aversion to exposure to toxins in the environment can be touted as very positive. However, to fully explore the impact of all aspects of the Organic Movement there are some important questions to consider. (1)Is it possible to cross the line in Organic Movement initiatives and “throw out the baby with the bathwater”, … [Read more...]

Making Sense of Chemical Stories

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"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...]

Toll of Organic Farming

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"The Hidden Cost of Organic Farming," By Dan Janzen. I was prompted to begin blogging upon my return from three and a half months of agricultural development work among the Nasa and Guambiano Native Americans in Cauca Department of Colombia. People were giving them books to read promoting 100% organic methods with all kinds of information which, in my opinion, was grossly misrepresenting the facts. Many different organizations including ones from the government were promoting 100% organic … [Read more...]

Unsustainable Organic Farming

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"Organic Farming Is Not Sustainable," Henry I. Miller. You may have noticed that the organic section of your local supermarket is growing. Advocates tout organic-food production—in everything from milk and coffee to meat and vegetables—as a "sustainable" way to feed the planet's expanding population. The Worldwatch Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental group, goes so far as to say organic farming "has the potential to contribute to sustainable food security by improving nutrition … [Read more...]

Misleading Organic Marketing

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"Organic Marketing: Not Truthful, Often Misleading," By John R. Block. As someone who has dedicated his career to agriculture, I’ve often wondered what drives the now double-digit growth in the $35 billion U.S. organic products industry. Why are so many people willing to pay premiums up to 100 percent or more for items that carry an organic label, and do they really understand what that label means and — even more important — what it doesn’t mean? Many of these questions have now been answered … [Read more...]

“Pesticide-Free” Claim Debunked

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"Organic ‘Pesticide-Free,’ and Other Claims Debunked," by American Council on Science and Health. Now that the claim that organic foods are more nutritious than conventionally-produced ones is rarely espoused by responsible writers, organic producers and adherents have fallen back on the “fewer pesticides” claim. But is that really accurate? Blogger Steven Savage says no, not really. In his essay on why organic farming is less than optimal from an environmental point of view, Mr. Savage points … [Read more...]

Fearmongering on Chemicals and Male Fertility

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"Can Chemicals Slow Sperm — Need We Worry?" By American Council on Science and Health. spermA recent study published in EMBO Reports provides the latest fuel for fear-mongering about chemicals. Dr. Christian Schiffer of the Center of Advanced European Studies and Research in Bonn, Germany and colleagues tested 96 different chemicals found in many household products, foods, and personal care products to see what effect they might have on human sperm. The impetus for this research was the theory … [Read more...]

Interview with Julie Gunlock

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"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...]

Organic and “Pesticide Free” Not the Same

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"Spending More For Organic Does Not Buy You Pesticide-Free," By Steve Savage. There are several different reasons people are willing to pay more for organic produce, but many consumers do so believing that it is a way avoid pesticide residues. That widely held belief is unfounded. Here is why: There are definitely pesticides used in the growing of organic crops. There are residues of those materials on the harvested products. Residues of synthetic pesticides are also frequently found on … [Read more...]

Endocrine Disrupters in Your Backyard?

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"The Newest 'Endocrine-Disruptor' Can Be Found in Your Backyard, Claims a NY Times Op-ed," by American Council on Science and Health. It’s starting to feel a little bit like summer on the East coast now, which means people are clean up their yards and gardens. And that means using “chemicals”, which according to an op-ed by physician Diane Lewismay in the NY Times, can end up in drinking water. Is that true? And if so, are these chemicals (generally pesticides and weed-killing herbicides) … [Read more...]

DDT and Malaria

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"DDT Research is “Biased and Erroneous” If You’re Gonna Screw Up, You Might As Well Do It Really Well," by American Council on Science and Health. Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 1.58.22 PMIf there is a more obvious case of bad science, and its impact on human health, we’d like to see it. Because it turns out that DDT, the evil chemical blamed by Rachel Carson in her 1962 book Silent Spring for thinning of bird eggs, does no such thing. And the consequences of this “error” are tragic—one million … [Read more...]

Feeding the World with the Help of Herbicides

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“'Atrazine and The Forever War on Science' Makes for Scary yet Incisive Reading," by American Council on Science and Health. In a brilliantly-written perspective piece on his Science 2.0 blog, Hank Campbell skewers a lot of folks who really need skewering. His scythe and rapier draw blood from his targets, and his insights accrue to the reader: the rampant chemophobia pervasive in America, where “chemicals” are feared when they are recognized at all; the pandering of pseudo-journalists giving a … [Read more...]

Anti-Pesticide Attack on Science

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"Atrazine And The Forever War On Science," By Hank Campbell. I'll tell you up front, I am not a big fan of chemicals. It's not that I have chemophobia, or any science-phobia, I instead have that special sort of elitism that is available to people who have just been lucky enough to not need chemicals. I don't even like to take aspirin and I have that luxury because I haven't needed to take any drugs for a recurring condition, so it's really easy for me to embrace such naturalistic posturing. … [Read more...]

Rash Regulation May Harm Honeybee

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"Regulate-First-Think-Later Approach to Harm Honeybees," by Angela Logomasini. European bureaucrats placed a two-year ban on a class of pesticides in the name of “protecting honeybees” when in fact, as one EU official recently admitted, they didn’t have evidence that the chemicals present a serious threat to honeybee health.  According to an article in Food Chemical News, the European Commission official admitted that the government banned the chemicals simply because it was “the only factor” … [Read more...]

Growers Call for Science-based Approaches to Help Honeybee

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"Growers say Pesticide Ban Won’t Solve Bee Problems," Eric Mortenson. The Oregon Association of Nurseries urges Congress to use a collaborative and scientific approach to regulating pesticides that some blame for honeybee deaths. Instead of banning the neonicotinoid class of pesticides, Congress should follow Oregon’s example and use a collaborative and science-based approach to improving honeybee health, the executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries said. OAN director Jeff … [Read more...]

Rodent Tests Don’t Justify Proposition 65 Listing

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"DINP’s Placement on Prop 65 List is not Warranted," By American Council on Science and Health. Diisononyl Phthalate (DINP) was added to California’s ever-growing Proposition 65 list of “known carcinogens” late last year. However, Elissa Sterry, VP for ExxonMobil’s Intermediates Global Business, told the Consumer Products Safety Commission that the rodent studies upon which this decision was based were essentially meaningless. She says, “the relevant mechanisms of cancer development are not the … [Read more...]

Butterworth On Target Regarding BPA Research

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"Trevor Butterworth and (butter)worthless claims about BPA," By American Council on Science and Health. The always dead-on Trevor Butterworth once again hit the bullseye in his op-ed in Forbes.com. And in his unique way, he makes the perennial critics of BPA—a component of the plastic that seals canned foods—look rather foolish. ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom is in complete agreement: “After reading this piece, it would seem rather obvious that the dozens of studies and papers on the ‘health effects’ … [Read more...]

BPA-Levels in Food Cans

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"Canadian Government Study: Death From Overeating Before Any Risk From BPA," By Trevor Butterworth, STATS.org. The Canadian government, which helped to trigger worldwide fears about the effects of trace amounts of BPA in food by using the precautionary principle to guide risk management, continues to produce studies showing that precautionary thinking is wildly off the mark on BPA. The latest study on BPA sampled 403 domestic and imported cans containing fruit, vegetables, juices, other … [Read more...]

Questionable Study on Children and Pesticides

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"For the Record: 'Children in agricultural areas are being exposed to a dangerous cocktail of pesticides,'" By Sense About Science. An article in the Guardian, 29th April 2014 reported that “Children in agricultural areas are being exposed to a dangerous cocktail of pesticides”. It referred to a report published by Générations Futures, a French health and environment group. Dr Paul Illing, a recently retired registered toxicologist and regulatory affairs consultant explains this is not what the … [Read more...]

Moms Need Not Fear BPA

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"Despite Scare Stories, Fears about BPA are Unnecessary," By Cherylyn Harley LeBon. As soon as someone mentions BPA (bisphenol A), I recall the glasses and glass containers our family now uses to replace the plastic containers that previously populated our cupboards. Like many moms, my top priority is keeping my kids safe, so I was concerned about BPA in the past. When the media began reporting BPA might be toxic, we replaced the plastic products and other things in our home thought to contain … [Read more...]

World Malaria Day

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"World Malaria Day: April 25, 2014," by American Council on Science and Health. Today marks the 8th annual official recognition, via World Malaria Day, of the horrendous toll taken by the mosquito-born infection. ... Read more. Watch the Video: … [Read more...]

Organic Mommy Mob

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"The Beliefs of the ‘Organic Mommy Mafia’ Are on Trial," by American Council on Science and Health. “‘Am I going to be an outcast?’ A friend, who recently moved to an upscale neighborhood in Madison, Wis., called me last week to ask if she would be able to make mommy friends if she continued feeding her children — gasp! — non-organic food.” This is how Naomi Schaefer Riley begins her piece in the New York Post, in which she very accurately describes the emergence of a group of parents called … [Read more...]

Organic Mom Mafia Revisited

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"More on the Organic Mom Mafia," by Julie Gunlock. As Charlotte mentioned in her post yesterday, Naomi Schaefer Riley’s excellent piece in the New York Post exposes a new type of helicopter parent—the type that has to hover not only over their own child’s plate of food but over your child’s plate as well. Some of these women are indeed insufferable and judgmental and nervous wrecks and they about as much fun as a trip to the dentist, but there’s another group of women who, while also woefully … [Read more...]

Organic Mom Mafia

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"Meet the Organic Mom Mafia," Charlotte Hays. Naomi Schaeffer Riley had an excellent column yesterday on “the tyranny of the organic mom mafia.” “Am I going to be an outcast?” a friend who feeds her kids—gasp—non-organic food asks Schaeffer Riley. Riley quoted IWF’s own Julie Gunlock as a proponent of food sanity: Read more. … [Read more...]

Dirty Truth About Organic Produce

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"Let Facts, Not Fear, Guide Healthy Food Choices," By SaferFruitsandVeggies.com. There are decades of nutritional studies that clearly show that consumption of fruits and vegetables improves health and leads to a longer life – these studies were largely conducted using conventionally grown produce. And, there is an impressive body of work by the government plus peer reviewed science that shows that residues, if they are present at all, do not pose a food safety concern. Yet certain activist … [Read more...]

Earth Day Chemistry Lessons

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"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...]

Findings of Honeybee Health Study Encouraging

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"Encouraging News about Honeybee Health," By Angela Logomasini. A recently released study in Europe reports some good news about honeybee health, which should prompt public officials to reexamine a recent ban on some agricultural products. “It’s the first major study of pests and diseases that affect honeybees. A lot of it seems very encouraging,” honeybee researcher Tom Breeze, says in a Reuters news story. The study examines honeybee populations in Europe after recent disappearances of entire … [Read more...]

Junk Science on Glyphosate and (Roundup) Health Risks

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"Debunking Pseudo Science “Lab Testing” Health Risk Claims about Glyphosate (Roundup)," by Academics Review. On April 7, 2014 a television “documentary” in Australia reported that a study of 10 nursing mother’s milk revealed the presence of glyphosate. This report referenced claims announced made by a “study” commissioned by anti-GMO activist group Moms Across America with “Sustainable Pulse,” an online “news service” published by anti-GMO campaigner and organic food entrepreneur Henry … [Read more...]

More Chemical Scares

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"It’s Whacko Wednesday: Two More Asinine Chemical Scares," by American Council on Science and Health. Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 1.05.06 PMAt ACSH we shout a lot. Sometimes even at each other. But most of the time it takes the form of shoutouts to like-minded writers and websites (and there aren’t that many) that believe that real science, not agenda-driven nonsense, should actually be used to guide public health policy. Today’s shoutout #1 goes to the prolific (and brilliant) Trevor … [Read more...]

BPA Alarmism and Mother Jones’ “Expose”

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"BPA: The Scientists, The Scare, The 100-Million Dollar Surge," by Trevor Butterworth. Conspiracy, incompetence, a federal agency out of control. A recent Mother Jones story by Mariah Blake indicts the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a threat to science and public health over the way it’s conducting research into bisphenol A (BPA), the never-ending chemical scare story of the 21st century. Raise the alarm (again), stir the pot (again), marshal outrage (again). And, if you have no other … [Read more...]

Consumers Misinformed About Organic Food

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"Why Consumers Pay More for Organic Foods? Fear Sells and Marketers Know it," by Academics Review. An extensive review of more than 200 published academic, industry and government research reports into why consumers adopt organic product purchasing behaviors was conducted by Academics Review – a non-profit led by independent academic experts in agriculture and food sciences.  This review was then supplemented with an assessment of more than 1,000 news reports, 500 website and social media … [Read more...]

Consumers’ Guide to Chemical Risk

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"Science Facts and Chemical Scares," By Angela Logomasini. Will these chemicals make me fat? That sounds like a weird question, but some consumers may actually have such worries, thanks to a constant barrage of news headlines suggesting that synthetic chemicals—an even some naturally occurring ones—are responsible for nearly every public health problem imaginable. This website and CEI‘s A Consumers Guide to Chemical Risk: Deciphering the “Science” Behind Chemical Scares booklet are designed … [Read more...]

Pesticides Vital to Food Production in India

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"Debunking the Myths on Pesticides is Vital to Raise Food Production in India," By Rajju D Shroff. It is an unsupported claim commonly accepted that all pesticides are unsafe, both for crops and human health. In recent years, studies have highlighted the toxic effects of pesticides, especially in the long run. Most attacks have come from selfacclaimed environmentalists and some environmental NGOs, without enough research to even corroborate their findings. A major concern put forth by such … [Read more...]

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