April 1998

Generation Wired: Caffeine Is the New Drug of Choice for Kids (4/26/98) The "domino theory" at work -- the food police aim at caffeine.

Al Gore's Hitman? (4/26/98) "Industrial group plans to fight climate treaty." So reports Jack Cushman, one of the New York Times' greenie-weenie reporters, in a front page story. As executive director of one of the groups mentioned in the story, I take exception to Cushman's distortions and inaccuracies. First there was no "proposal," as Cushman claims--only the very preliminary and rough musings of about eight people. Second, neither Dr. Fred Singer nor Dr. Frederick Seitz were involved at all in the activity. But Cushman did get one thing right "Exposing the plan at this stage... would probably ruin chances of raising money to carry out the plan." Is that why the Times published the story? Is Cushman simply a "hitman" for the global warming mobsters?

Greenpeace urges European Union ban on PVCs (4/24/98) Greenpeace says PVC can't be disposed of safely. But if their campaign to scare parents about PVC in children's toys didn't work, I doubt this one will either.

Junkman Threatened with Lawsuit (4/24/98) Curtis Moore, a former aide to the late Senator Edmund Muskie, has threatened to sue me for "every f***ing penny I've got" because of an article on this page that refers to him as an "environmental activist." He says he is an "objective writer and reporter," not an "environmental activist." That may be. I don't know him from Adam. The article was not written by me, but was a report by Fred Smith and Jim Sheehan of the Competitive Enterprise Institute during the last December's Kyoto climate conference. And as is clearly denoted, material on the Junk Science Home page is strictly opinion. But don't some people have thin skin? Of course, I could offer to retract the statement -- but it's not mine! Does anyone know Curtis Moore? Any suggestions for how he should be characterized? Feel free to e-mail me your suggestions. Note: the threatening e-mail contains language that may not be suitable for children.

The Sentimental Society (4/24/98) "What people want is to feel good about the environment, about animals, to feel concerned."

Is EPA about to drive you buggy? (4/24/98) "Don't like bugs? Then this could be a very bad year for you. The Environmental Protection Agency may promulgate the most sweeping anti-insecticide regulations in U.S. history.

Kyoto accord protest quickening (4/24/98) "Happy Earth Day, Al Gore! Your much-touted `scientific consensus' on global warming has just been exposed as phony."

Good news is no news on Planet Earth (4/24/98) "The whole aim of practical politics," said H.L. Mencken, "is to keep the populace alarmed - and hence clamorous to be led to safety - by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

New Data to Cast Doubt on Endocrine Disruption Hypothesis (4/23/98) A research physiologist with the U.S. Geological Service, referring to a not-yet-released study, says no evidence links chemicals in the environment with reproductive problems in Florida panthers. Another recently completed report failed to find a link between DDT and health effects in alligators. Also, a hypothesized link between a certain industrial chemical and the feminization of male fish has been disproved. Reportedly, the major source of estrogen the fish were exposed to was estrogen in human urine from women taking birth control pills. [Source: Daily Environment Report (April 23, 1998].

How to Sell Cigarettes to Kids (4/23/98) "Enthusiasm for picking the tobacco companies' pockets ought not get in the way of intelligent understanding.

Inconsistency On 'Evil Weeds' (4/23/98) "We're perplexed with the furor over teen tobacco use, especially compared to the yawns that greeted the latest news on teens and drugs."

EPA's Environmental Injustice (4/23/98) "Earth Day on Wednesday reminded many Americans of the country's progress in protecting the environment. But some poor and minority citizens may have less to cheer about, thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The `Syndrome' Gold Rush (4/22/98) The Multiple Chemical Sensitivity gang et al. looks to cash in on mandatory diagnostic testing.

Make A Profit, Save The Earth (4/22/98) The Investor's Business Daily take on Earth Day.

WTI Incinerator "Safe," Says EPA (4/22/98) In an addendum to its 1997 risk assessment of the long-controversial Waste Technologies Industries hazardous waste incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio, EPA declared the incinerator poses no significant risks. [Source: Daily Environment Report (4/22/98)]. It is somewhat curious, though, that EPA views an incinerator located only 1,100 feet from a school to be safe, yet the Agency questions the safety of storing nuclear waste two miles underground and 100 miles from anywhere (i.e., Yucca Mountain).

Clean Needles May Be Bad Medicine (4/22/98) David Murray questions the Clinton Administration statement that "meticulous scientific review has now proven that needle-exchange programs can reduce the transmission of HIV and save lives without losing ground on the battle against illegal drugs."

Youths Tie Tobacco Use to Marijuana (4/22/98) Only in these crazy times would someone dare say the bad thing about youth marijuana use is that it leads to cigarette smoking!

Who's Next? (4/22/98) "Beer lovers of America, better drink up. The same political class that is now sucking $516 billion from Big Tobacco is already scanning the horizon for its next rich business target. "Big Booze" is being nominated. Congratulations on being chosen."

Gore Asks Chemical Industry to Test for Any Toxic Effects (4/22/98) As part of the "right-to-know" farce, Al Gore says companies can voluntarily test chemicals, or the government will make testing mandatory. Now that's volunteerism! Also, if the public has the right-to-know about chemicals, is the government subject to the public's right-to-know about junk science?

Melanoma, Depletion of Ozone Not Linked (4/22/98) Dr. Fred Singer responds to a Wall Street Journal article.

Scientists Find Further Global Warming Evidence in Temperature Reconstruction Study? (4/22/98) According to this press release, "The researchers were able to estimate temperatures over more than half the surface of the globe, pinpointing northern hemisphere yearly temperatures to a fraction of a degree back to 1400 A.D." But anybody can estimate almost anything. How do we know that their estimates are any good? My local weathermen won't be able to tell me today's temperature within a fraction of a degree. But I'm supposed to believe these nudniks know the temperatures of 600 years ago? Hah!

Affirmative Action for Junk Science (4/21/98) As President Clinton prepares to make "environmental justice" -- the 1990s version of Reconstruction era carpetbagging -- a new civil rights initiative to be announced on Earth Day, an internal EPA memo reveals that "`community fears, even if believed to be unfounded, should be counted at some level.'" So I guess junk science isn't for "whites only."

Magnetic Fields Associated With Electrical Appliances Are Considered Unlikely To Increase the Risk of Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (4/21/98) The EMF scare continues to wane.

U.S., Britain Relocate Nuclear Material From Volatile Georgia (4/21/98) Fear of U.S. environmental group reaction stopped U.S. officials from taking control over a supply of highly-enriched uranium and spent nuclear fuel stored at a research reactor outside the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. I guess the enviros think it's better to allow the nuke materials to fall into the hands of Chechen gangs, Iran, or another aspiring nuclear power.

Mass Extinction Underway, Majority of Biologists Say (4/21/98) Washington Post staff writer Joby Warrick says "A majority of the nation's biologists are convinced that a 'mass extinction' of plants and animals is underway..." It turns out that the reported "majority of the nation's biologists" is really a poll of only 400 scientists. And while I too am fond of plants and critters, species come and go everyday -- regardless of human activity. Some adapt to change, and some don't. Granted human activity often irrevocably changes/eliminates habitats, but it's not clear whether and how this is a "major threat" to humans.

A Myth Stubbed Out (4/21/98) "The European Union should scrap plans to ban tobacco advertising because such a move, far from reducing smoking, would lead to an increase in the activity, says Roger Bate.

New Drugs Give Cause for Hope In Battle Against Breast Cancer? (4/20/98) Don't bank on it -- yet. For tamoxifen: (1) The clinical trial was cut short so no one knows what the long term effects are; (2) The occurence of breast cancer in most individual women is not predictable and no one can predict on which women tamoxifen will work (if, in fact, it does) -- so, at best, breast cancers prevented by tamoxifen are basically random events; and (3) tamoxifen reportedly increases the risk of endometrial cancer and blood clots. It all adds up to added risks and no peace of mind -- what benefits! For Evista, after only two-years of clinical trials, it's premature to say what the effects are. Of course, there is plenty of money to be made in the meantime by the new junk science mobsters!

Climate Shifts Seen As Natural Weather Experts Discount Human Effects On Warming (4/20/98) "Bucking the prevailing wisdom, two of America's best-known weather experts have sharply criticized the theory that people are causing harmful global climate change."

Room Temperature and Crib Death? (4/20/98) The big news from Reuters is that high room temperatures -- those over 64 degrees Fahrenheit?! -- are to blame for crib deaths. At least, so says French researcher Dr. Eric Millet, an "expert." Doesn't Reuters employ any editors who can read and think at the same time?

Time to Defoliate? (4/20/98) "Worried about air pollution? Your own backyard could be part of the problem," say Australian scientists. But don't start looking for Agent Orange at Home Depot just yet!

'Sticky' Blood May Underlie Development Of Early Atherosclerosis In Men (4/20/98) A potentially new and independent risk factor for atherosclerosis may be another thorn in the side of this study.

The Week That Was April 13 - April 19, 1998 (4/13/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.

A Great Asthma Lie? (4/19/98) Evidence the American Lung Association was telling whoppers during last year's air quality standards debate.

Evaluation of a Bicycle Helmet Giveaway Program -- Texas, 1995 (4/19/98) Teens won't wear free helmets to protect themselves from the very real and immediate possibility of head injury. Does anyone really believe teens can be persuaded not to smoke?

Patterns Found in Amoco Cancer (4/19/98) A developing story.

Antioxidants Protect Lungs (4/19/98) Chemicals in fruits and vegetables may protect lung function, but differently for smokers and nonsmokers, a Cornell study finds.

Is the New York Times learning? (4/18/98) The New York Times criticizes the recent study reporting that adverse drug reactions kill 106,000 annually. In doing so, the Times says "The study also uses a controversial technique that combines imprecise studies to reach a statistically definitive conclusion." The "controversial technique" the Times refers to is meta-analysis -- the same garbage-in-garbage-out technique used to railroad secondhand smoke with the lung cancer rap. But don't expect the Times to apply its skepticism about meta-analysis to secondhand smoke -- that would be politically incorrect.

The cutting edge of cutting calories (4/17/98) "As a solution to Americans' constantly-expanding waistlines and fat consumption, olestra is the closest thing to a free lunch."

A second look at the asthma epidemic (4/17/98) The politics of the asthma crisis are putting children's lives at risk.

John Fialka: Yellow Journalist? (4/17/98) In his Wall Street Journal article "Global Warming Debate Gets No Consensus in Industry," (4/16/98) reporter John Fialka wrote that Fred Palmer, CEO of Western Fuels Association, Inc., "has spent the past several years financing papers by some renegade scientists to dispute the scientific projections that underlie the global warming projections by the Clinton Administration." Renegade scientists? Scientific projections... by the Clinton Administration? I guess Fialka could have worked for William Randolph Hearst!

MIT Researcher Finds Evidence Of Ancient Climate Swings (4/17/98) It's funny how this MIT researcher can't explain huge climate variations of the past, but she knows that manmade greenhouse gases are causing near-undetectable warming now.

Obscure Enzyme May Play Major Role in Heart Disease (4/17/98) I wonder how important this enzyme is compared with lifestyle risk factors for heart disease?

Ross Gelbspan Still Not a Pulitzer Prize Winner (4/16/98) The Pulitzer Prizes were announced this week. Author Ross Gelbspan missed out again. Click here if you missed the first part of this story.

Look out junk-food junkies, here comes the Twinkie tax (4/16/98) "'To me, there is no difference between Ronald McDonald and Joe Camel,' says Dr. Kelly D. Brownell, a psychologist and director of the Yale University Center for Eating & Weight Disorders." So the next question can only be: Is there any difference between Brownell and Ronald McDonald?

Board of Scientists Sets Record Straight on Pharmaceuticals (4/16/98) "Scientists at the American Council on Science and Health today questioned a new report in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that cites adverse reactions to drugs as the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States."

Maryland Approves Pesticide Law: Elementary Schools Must Advise Parents Before Spraying (4/15/98) No other state has passed a law forcing schools to scare parents about pesticide use. The Maryland legislature must be awfully proud?

No Ode To Joy From Food Scientists Over New Edition (4/15/98) The new edition of Joy of Cooking did not put smiles on the faces of food scientists, according to the Back Page column in the April 1998 issue of Food Technology.

New Sunspot Cycle to be Bigger than Average (4/15/98) An active sun can disrupt communications and power systems -- and perhaps even affect climate!

Way to Go New England Journal of Medicine! (4/15/98) Regarding attributable risk (i.e., the formula for calculating "body counts," such as the statistic 400,000 annual deaths are caused by smoking), New England Journal of Medicine editors Marcia Angell and Jerome Kassirer today wrote "Calculations of attributable risk are fraught with problems. They provide only an upper bound for the effect of a single variable, because many other factors, both recognized and unrecognized, may also be contributing to the outcome. When several know factors are taken into account, it is even possible that they account for more than 100 percent of deaths -- a nonsensical result." So why is the state of Maryland changing it's law so that attributable risk is admissible evidence against tobacco companies? [Source: New England Journal of Medicine 1998;338:1158 (April 16, 1998)].

The People's Republic of Maryland Bolsters Its Own Tobacco Suit with Junk Science (4/15/98) The Maryland legislature changed the laws concerning facts the State would have to prove in its lawsuit against the tobacco industry. "Lawmakers... overturned a recent circuit court ruling that undermined the state's case. They rewrote the law to permit Maryland to seek compensation for huge sums paid for smoking-related illnesses without having to produce individual victims in court... The measure [would] allow the state to prove its case by using "statistical evidence" of smoking-related diseases and costs, an easier case to make." The statistical evidence that will be allowed in more than likely consists of so-called "body counts" -- mythical statistics such as "smoking causes 400,000 deaths annually." But as New England Journal of Medicine editor Marcia Angell recently editorialized about the body count for obesity "...although some claim that every year 300,000 deaths in the United States are caused by obesity, that figure is by no means well established. Not only is it derived from weak or incomplete data, but it is also called into question by the methodologic difficulties of determining which of many factors contribute to premature death."

Let My Shareholders Go (4/15/98) Holman Jenkins of the Wall Street Journal opines on the tobacco controversy.

15,000 Basic and Applied American Scientists Say No Convincing Scientific Evidence Exists That Humans Are Causing Global Warming (4/14/98) Click here or here (backup) to visit the web site for more information!

Many Climate Change Scientists Do Not Agree That Global Warming Is Happening (4/14/98) A letter from this week's British Medical Journal.

EPA's Asthma Miasma (4/14/98) A gem from the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Ben Lieberman.

The Fat's Getting Out of the Fire (4/14/98) Recent studies have reported being overweight is not as "deadly" as once thought. For example, check out the article "Obesity and Premature Mortality (1/1/98)" in the Archives. Now, a new study reports that 70 percent of Americans do not face substantial mortality risk based on being overweight or underweight. [Source: American Journal of Epidemiology 1998;147:739-749.]

Global Warning (4/14/98) Peter Jennings of ABC did an incredible propaganda show on Saturday Night called "Global Warning: Al Gore and the Apocalypse." It was skewed in favor of Gore, attacked industry for trying to "derail" the Kyoto treaty, and characterized warming deniers as being opposed to science. Gore was interviewed, given cream puff questions, and allowed to answer in short 5 second bites. Check out the web version of the report at the above link. is conducting an Internet poll on the issue -- act now or wait for definitive proof? Despite the biased show, "wait for definitive proof" was winning overwhelmingly on Saturday night after the show (71%-29%, 713 votes) and Sunday (69% -31%, 902 votes).

The Week That Was April 6 - April 12, 1998 (4/13/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.

A Double Latte Is Just Another Way to Be Cool (4/12/98) If you're naive enough to think the behavior police will stop with tobacco, maybe when the feds tax your java you'll get it.

NOAA: Global warming may be linked to El Nino (4/10/98) I suppose it was just a matter of time before the global warming desparados made this claim. It must be true because NOAA says so?

Breast Cancer Exploitation Month (4/10/98) Find out about the new junk science mobsters.

Hamsters and Smoke Particles from the Kuwati Oil Fires (4/9/98) Harvard School of Public Health researchers recently concluded that airborne particles from the Kuwaiti oil well fires set by the Iraqis at the end of the Persian Gulf War, when injected into the lungs of hamsters, were no more dangerous than urban particles from St. Louis, Mo. What does this say about St. Louis? [Source: Environmental Health Perpsectives March 1998].

The Kernel Did It: The Popcorn Injury Hotline (4/9/98) On the Daily Feed homepage, there is a RealAudio feed of today's two-minute satire, titled "The Kernel Did It", a satire of liability lawsuits. In it, a law firm advertises for people who may know of family or friends who were killed by popcorn. The ad states the law firm has firm evidence that popcorn is responsible for the deaths of millions a year. Look for the program at "Latest Feeds" on the homepage. If you miss it today, it'll be moved to "Recent Feeds."

Higher cigarette prices would have an "insignificant" impact on teen-age smokers, a Cornell study finds (4/8/98) Increasing the price of cigarettes to discourge teen smoking may be less effective than the Senate believes.

Weight Loss, Not Weight Gain, A Health Risk For Older Adults (4/8/98) Obesity hysteria continues to unravel.

Arctic Ozone Hole, Responding To Greenhouse Gases, Will Worsen Through 2020, Columbia Team Finds (4/8/98) I suppose greenhouse gases also are to blame for teen smoking--the greenhouses gases warm the planet, thereby allowing plant life to fluorish (including tobacco plants) yada-yada-yada....

PETA Invades the 8th Grade (4/8/98) A letter from a Junk Science Home Page visitor.

The Data That Went Up In Smoke: Risks From Passive Smoke Unfounded: WHO Study (4/8/98) Here's an Investor's Business Daily take on the WHO study on secondhand smoke.

Draft Assessment of Health Effects May Support New Diesel Rules, EPA Says (4/8/98) EPA prepares to label diesel exhaust as a carcinogen despite questions about the underlying studies. Just because diesel exhaust is offensive doesn't mean that it causes lung cancer.

Cancer Experts Castigate U.S. Study (4/7/98) Yesterday's announcement about tamoxifen cutting breast cancer risk may not live up to the touting. Always be wary of science by press conference.

Teen Smoking Campaign Flops (4/6/98) Good article, but Jacoby was taken in by the CDC's statistical shenanigans on the reputed rise in teen smoking.

The Week That Was March 30-April 5, 1998 (4/6/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.

Drinking Water: Looser Chloroform EPA Health Goal Would Be First Such Action on Carcinogen (4/6/98) "The suggested change for chloroform represents the first time EPA has set a health goal for a carcinogenic substance in drinking water at a level other than zero."

CDC Spins Teen Smoking Rates (4/4/98) What else do you expect from the Centers for Disinformation Control and Proliferation?

Fewer Males? (4/4/98) Are manmade chemicals in the environment making males an endangered gender?

The Wrong Smoke Screen (4/4/98) Even George McGovern has had enough.

Illinois Jury Awards $3.2 Million In Case Involving Coal Tar Cleanup (4/4/98) And Paula Jones can't even survive a summary judgment motion?

Cancer Society defends its political donations (4/3/98) ACS claims it needs to make donations to save lives? Shhhaaa!

Will the EPA Make America Safe for Cockroaches? (4/2/98) A Michael Fumento gem.

Report Takes Aim at Hollywood's 'Bleeding Hearts' (4/2/98) Alec Baldwin is for animal rights -- except when it comes to the animals sacrificed so that his mother could survive breast cancer. Click here for the report.

Smog Spreading to South Pacific? (4/1/98) Of course this is just a press release -- supporting studies have not been published and, oh yeah, the scientist involved is the same guy who started ozone depletion hysteria. So let's just say this is a long way from what we would consider scientific fact.

Corporate Gifts Pose Ethical Quandries For Scientists (4/1/98) But what about government gifts? What's the difference? Does anyone really think money from, the federal government comes with no strings attached? Did anyone notice that this study was paid for by federal government grants?

New Britain: A Regulator's Paradise (4/1/98) "The state regulation of everyday life threatens to undermine critical thinking and the moral autonomy of the individual. The real danger is not passive smoking but passive living."

Calcium Channel Blockers and the Risk of Cancer (4/1/98) Several years ago researchers from Wake Forest University and the University of Washington started the scare over the class of hypertension drugs called "calcium channel blockers." These researchers have linked CCBs with evrything from heart attacks to cancer to AIDS to suicide. But this new study fails to support the cancer scare.

Thanks! (4/1/98) The Junk Science Home Page is two years old today! Many thanks to all for helping make the page a success.

Study Says Diet Pill Redux Is Less Dangerous Than Believed (4/1/98) A new development in the diet drug controversy. Although the study doesn't provide evidence that Redux is associated with heart valve disease, this is an odd study. It was the fen-phen combination that was reportedly linked with heart valve disease; Redux was reportedly linked with pulmonary hypertension. But this study looked at Redux and heart valve disease?

Material presented on this home page constitutes opinion of the author.

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