April 30, 2000
"There's Smog in the Air, But It Isn't All Pollution" - "So gloom has propelled environmentalism forward, but at the steep price of leaving its followers behind. The movement has proved expert at giving alarm; now, against its every instinct, it needs to learn to give hope. To get beyond 1970, it must at long last swallow its pride and concede victory." (Washington Post op-ed)
"Mobiles 'to carry health warnings'" - "Mobile phones will have to carry health warnings after a study into their effects on the brain is published, according to a newspaper report. The Observer says the government committee on mobile phone safety has found public concern over their use is justified." (BBC)
"Thanks: It has been a great run" - Tom Bray pens a farewell column as editor of the Detroit News editorial page. Although Detroit News publisher Mark Silverman won't admit it, Bray was fired for being too conserative.
"Medical legacies of Vietnam live on" - "As the United States military looks back on the lessons of the Vietnam War, one debate that extends into the new century concerns the health consequences facing those who survived the conflict." (CNN)
"CJD tests show no epidemic" - "Scientists attempting to predict the threat to humans from BSE have found no evidence of the human form of the disease, new variant CJD, in 3,000 specimens of human tissue." (BBC)
"Tobacco death toll 'needlessly high'" - "A US company says it has found a way virtually to remove major cancer-causing substances from tobacco." (BBC)
"Cracks in the egg industry" - "The process of molting -- temporarily withholding food from hens in order to increase egg production -- is drawing increased criticism because of a potential increase in salmonella poisoning for humans." (Washington Post)
"Safer SUVs" - "It's gratifying to see the automakers get on the stick and fix this problem before being compelled to do so by government regulators driven by pressure groups and a lust for power. And unlike air bags and other bureaucrat-required add-ons, the fixes arrived at by the engineers are apt to work and be much more cost-effective than anything Washington busybodies might come up with." (Washington Times editorial)
April 28, 2000
"Study finds no link between Three Mile Island accident, cancer deaths" - "A study of people living near the Three Mile Island nuclear plant has found no link between the radiation released during the 1979 accident and cancer deaths among nearby residents in the 13 years that followed. " (AP)
Check out the Mike Fox/Steve Milloy commentary, "Fear and ignorance followed Three Mile Island" (News Tribune, 3/28/99).
"McDonald's, Other Fast-Food Chains Pull Monsanto's Bio-Engineered Potato" - "Monsanto Co.'s genetically modified potato is falling victim to the consumer backlash over crop biotechnology.
Fast-food chains such as McDonald's Corp. are quietly telling their french-fry suppliers to stop using the potato from Monsanto, the only biotechnology concern to commercialize a genetically modified spud." (Wall Street Journal)
"Denver-area federal agencies to be powered by wind" - "Under the biggest-ever federal contract for "green power," all federal agencies in the Denver area will be powered in part by wind, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson announced Thursday." (AP)
"Quick on the draw against guns" - " In D.C. guns are already controlled. It is illegal to have an unlicensed pistol. It is illegal for teen-agers to have guns. It is illegal to carry a concealed weapon. It is illegal to discharge a weapon in public. It is illegal to shoot someone. There are probably zillions of laws already on the books against what happened on African-American Family Day. The laws didn't do any good. The problem is human behavior, not the absence of gun control laws. This is so obvious it makes a person wonder what is the gun-controllers' real agenda." (Washington Times op-ed)
"Higher beer taxes would reduce venereal disease rates, report says " - "A government report says raising the tax on a six-pack of beer by 20 cents could reduce gonorrhea by up to 9 percent because cheap beer is a leading contributor to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases." (AP) | CNN | MSNBC
"Hostility, anger linked to chemical that may cause heart disease" - "A new study has identified one possible reason that people who show high levels of hostility and anger are more likely to develop heart disease. Researchers at Ohio State University found that men and women with higher levels of hostility also showed higher levels of homocysteine -- a blood chemical strongly associated with coronary heart disease (CHD)." (OSU media release)
I guess these researchers missed the recent and essentially mortal wounding of the homocysteine-heart disease theory.
"Speed limit must be reduced to prevent 'unacceptable' levels of pedestrian deaths" - "Speeding kills around 1200 people on UK roads every year: 140 of those deaths are child pedestrians. If any impact is to be made on these 'unacceptable' figures, speed limits in built-up areas must be reduced to 20 miles per hour, argues Paul Pilkington, public health specialist for the South West Region, in this week's BMJ." (BMJ media release) | BMJ editorial
"Worker safety a major public health issue" - "Although workplace deaths in the US dropped 5% in 1998, each year approximately 6,000 Americans die from workplace-related injuries and another 50,000 die from workplace chemical exposures. In addition to the human toll, these deaths cost the US economy over $110 billion, according to researchers." (Reuters)
"Smoking increases impotence risk" - "In a study that followed 513 men for up to 10 years, those whose lifestyles put them at risk for heart disease were also at higher risk for erectile dysfunction (ED). Men who smoked, were overweight, had high blood pressure, or ate fatty diets were more likely to develop impotence. Dr. Henry A. Feldman and his colleagues at New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Massachusetts, report the results in the current issue of Preventive Medicine." (Reuters)
"Beer 'may be good for you'" - "Beer contains vitamin B6 which prevents the build up in the body of a chemical called homocysteine - thought to be linked to an increase in the risk of heart disease." (BBC) | The Independent
I guess these researchers missed this recent and essentially mortal wounding of the homocysteine-heart disease theory.
"CJD 'epidemic' tests unveiled" - "Scientists trying to assess how many people are likely to catch the fatal brain disease new variant CJD are poised to reveal interim results of their work." (BBC)
"Parents fear for children's diet" - "Nearly half of parents in Britain do not think their children eat a healthy diet, according to research." (BBC)
"Cloning cattle reverses ageing" - "Six cows cloned in the US show signs of being biologically younger than their actual age, scientists announced on Thursday. " (BBC) | Science media release | Advanced Cell Technology media release | Reuters | AP | CNN | MSNBC | Washington Post | New York Times
"Group claims that closing nuclear plants reduces infant deaths" - "A study released on Wednesday links the closure of nuclear reactors to lower levels of infant deaths, saying that radiation seepage into groundwater and the food supply harms young people. The report, presented at a media conference by researchers, supermodel and anti-nuclear activist Christie Brinkley, and Democratic Representative Michael Forbes of New York, blasted the federal government for not doing more to protect young children from cancer risks tied to nuclear reactors." (Reuters)
"Military finds no unusual side effects from anthrax vaccine" - "Three studies find only very low rates of serious side effects linked with the use of anthrax vaccine in US soldiers, according to a report from the Department of Defense (DoD)." (Reuters)
April 27, 2000
"Animal Health Institute Responds to Antimicrobial Resistance Study" - "The article's conclusion that the antibiotic resistant strain of Salmonella evolved primarily from cattle is speculative and is not supported by the data. No evidence is provided to show that the cattle were treated with the antibiotic in question or, for that matter, with other antibiotics. In fact, the researchers concede that they 'were unable to establish its use (Ceftriaxone) in these herds' and that 'unknown environmental factors' could have been the source of the resistant pathogen. Ceftriaxone is a human prescription drug and is not approved for use in animals." (AHI media release)
"Detroit News Fires Tom Bray" - "he Detroit News has fired editorial-page editor Tom Bray, who has overseen what is widely considered one of the best editorial pages in the country. Neither the News nor its parent company, Gannett, has announced the decision, but the move was made on Monday in a meeting between Bray and Mark Silverman, editor and publisher of the News." (National Review)
The editorial page of The Detroit News has consistently and ably written on junk science. Insiders say Bray was fired for being a "Bush" instead of a "McCain" Republican -- a flimsy reason for a bad move. Voice your outrage. E-mail Detroit News publisher Mark Silverman (firstname.lastname@example.org) that firing Bray was a BIG mistake.
"You may as well ban talking instead" - "But nobody knows for certain whether banning cell phones in cars would have any effect on highway deaths at all, since the research findings on the risks are so muddled." (USA Today editorial) | Opposing viewpoint
"Endocrine Disruptors and Human Health--Is There a Problem? An Update" - "Thus, many of the male and female reproductive tract problems linked to the endocrine-disruptor hypothesis have not increased and are not correlated with synthetic industrial contaminants. This does not exclude an endocrine-etiology for some adverse environmental effects or human problems associated with high exposures to some chemicals." (Stephen Safe in Environmental Health Perspectives, June 2000)
"The New, Flexible Math Meets Parental Rebellion" - "But the new curriculum has enraged many parents who find that their children cannot multiply easily or understand basic algebra." (NY Times)
"Tobacco Payment Cuts Worry States" - " State governments fearful of losing billions in tobacco settlement money are scurrying to find ways to keep the cash coming in the face of lagging cigarette sales and high-stakes litigation in Florida." (AP)
"New Canadian Study Finds Soy Safe; Hormone Risk Claim Is Refuted" - "Researchers at the University of Toronto
say that soy foods not only reduce the risk of heart disease, but do so without raising the levels of hormone activity. Some concerns had been expressed previously that because soy contains estrogen-like compounds, soy consumption might lead to hormone problems -- but "we have found no evidence to support this," Professor David Jenkins said." (Foods for the Future media release)
"Nader Receives Highest Overall Favorability Rating of All Presidential Candidates Tested " - "In the Ohio Poll released today, Ralph Nader -- just two months after declaring his candidacy for President on the Green Party ticket -- received the highest net
favorability rating among the four tested presidential candidates: Bush, Gore, Nader and Buchanan." (Nader 2000 media release)
"Taxpayer Group Urges Campbell to Change Vote on S. 1287" - "The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today expressed disappointment with Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) for his vote on S. 1287, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2000, and urged him to support the bill when it returns to the Senate floor for a veto override vote. The bill would allow the federal government to consolidate the disposal and storage of nuclear waste, as directed under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. " (Citizens Against Government Waste media release)
"Humanity Threatens 'Biodiversity Hot Spots' - Study" - "Checking humanity's unflagging expansion is the only way to save the world's 'biodiversity hot spots,' a U.S. researcher said Wednesday. Looking at the connection between population density and the environment in 25 key regions and three tropical wildernesses, Robert Engelman of Population Action International said a new approach was needed." (Reuters)
"Ukraine, Neighbors Honor Chernobyl Victims" - "Thousands gathered Wednesday to mark the 14th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which killed thousands and poisoned huge tracts of land in the former Soviet Union." (Reuters)
"UK's Prescott says global warming action needed now" - " British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott on Wednesday warned that worsening world weather is just one of the signs that climate change is here, and said nations must start delivering on promised steps to cut harmful greenhouse gas emissions to prevent disaster." (Reuters)
"Universe proven flat" - "A high-flying balloon which soared over Antarctica has answered one of cosmology's greatest questions by revealing that the universe is "flat"." (BBC) | The Independent
"Japan to require safety screening of genetically engineered foods" - "Japan will demand safety tests for genetically altered food produced both at home and abroad, while a health ministry official denied Wednesday that the move would hurt imports." (AP)
"Globe warming artichokes fuel Spanish power stations" - "Spain has pioneered a revolutionary way to get energy from genetically modified artichokes and plans to set up two artichoke-fuelled power plants." (The Independent)
April 26, 2000
"Reducing pesticide risk " - "A few lawn grubs are a small price to pay for a pesticide-free environment around children's schools. A bill to prohibit the use of the most dangerous pesticides at schools and day-care centers has the support of the Massachusetts Medical Society, a host of environmental groups, and the Cellucci administration. It should be passed intact when it arrives on the House floor today, so that it can be implemented in time for the coming school year." (Boston Globe editorial)
"Gorging on regulations" - "But focusing on annual spending alone leaves out much of government's reach in the economy. The public's costs of complying with the federal government's health, safety, environmental and economic regulations do not appear anywhere in the federal budget." (Clyde Wayne Crews in The Washington Times)
"Life for Gulf veteran who shot fiancee" - "An army doctor and former SAS trooper who machine-gunned his fiancee to death in a pub car park started a life jail sentence yesterday after a judge dismissed his Gulf war syndrome defence as spurious." (The Guardian)
"EPA declines to classify coal waste as toxic for regulation" - "Facing opposition from the White House and Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency has backed away from declaring ash and other waste from coal-burning power plants as a hazardous substance, although it urged states to strengthen regulation of such wastes." (AP)
"Surgeon general warns against labeling wine's health benefits" - "Surgeon General David Satcher urged regulators Tuesday not to let wineries make misleading health claims on their labels." (AP)
"Gore's irrelevant solution" - "Vice President Al Gore is not a politician to let the chance for a soundbite pass." (Boston Herald editorial)
"Judge moves to break tobacco's legal logjam" - "Judge Jack Weinstein, a mass injury claims veteran, summoned plaintiffs and defendants in six cases to his Brooklyn courtroom last week and said: 'The time for bringing a close to tobacco litigation is nigh.' Lawyers on both sides privately admit they were taken aback by the breadth of his
suggestion. This amounts to an effort to group together all the various types of litigation against the industry into one mass class action, and then to agree a sum of money with which Big Tobacco could buy itself legal peace." (Financial Times)
"The Plutonium Lie, Part IV" - "Regular readers will know that I frequently attend green love-ins to see what nonsense they are distributing to the unwary public. The most recent, on Palm Sunday, was a little street performance in Perth, Western Australia, highlighting the 'evils' of the nuclear industry, the Government, uranium, mining. Pangea, ad nauseam. As per usual, the greenie leaflet that I have written about on several occasions reared its ugly head." (New Australian)
"Looking for Crops That Clone Themselves" - "But the world's major food grains do not reproduce asexually. If they could, some scientists say, it would greatly simplify crop breeding. A high-yielding corn, wheat or rice plant could reproduce itself unchanged
for generations. " (New York Times)
"Energy guru sees way to put lid on
Canada's greenhouse gas" - "Greenhouse gas emissions in Canada can be curbed by 50 percent by 2030 using current technology, according to a report issued this week by The David Suzuki Foundation. " (ENN)
"Chevy Chase Says Socialism Works" - "In an exclusive interview at the Earth Day 2000 rally on the Mall on April 22, actor Chevy Chase berated reporter Marc Morano of the nationally syndicated television newsmagazine, "American Investigator," for asking about the involvement of Hollywood celebrities in the Earth Day cause." (American Investigator media release)
"Herds killed as France reports two new BSE cases" - "Two herds of cattle totalling 112 animals were destroyed in France after the discovery of two fresh cases of mad cow disease, the farm ministry said on Tuesday." (Reuters)
German Greens minister seeks autobahn speed limit - " Environment Minister Jurgen Trittin called for stricter enforcement of speed limits on autobahns to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. He also wants a speed limit imposed on the 25 percent of the network not now subject to any limit at all. Mr. Trittin's Green Party has long demanded a 60-m.p.h. limit, saying it was one way of meeting pollution goals set in the 1997 Kyoto accord on global warming." (NY Times)
"French deputies back creation of environment agency" - " France's lower house of parliament approved on Tuesday the creation of an environmental protection agency with a remit to protect public health." (Reuters)
"Clinton to veto bill on Nevada nuclear waste site" - "The White House said President Bill Clinton will veto a bill on Tuesday to build a Nevada storage site for hazardous nuclear waste from U.S. commercial power plants, probably killing the issue for the year." (Reuters) | White House media release
"Italy Greens minister declines post in new govt" - "Italy's Prime Minister-designate Giuliano Amato hit his first government hitch on Tuesday when a member of the Greens party declined to accept the post of Minister for European Union affairs." (Reuters)
"Tap water toxic, Argentine city says" - "The Argentine city of Bahia Blanca has warned its 420,000 residents to avoid using tap water because it says it is laced with toxic bacteria that cause skin irritation and possibly neurological damage." (Reuters)
"TV ads warn about 'light' cigarettes" - "Public health ad campaigns focusing on the health risks associated with light cigarettes are be a good way to change smoker views concerning low-tar cigarettes, according to US researchers." (Reuters Health)
"Poisoning case may lead to test for chemical exposure" - "A 7-year-old boy ended up with mild mental retardation after being exposed to chemicals in infancy, researchers report. A closer analysis revealed that the boy had antibodies -- immune system proteins -- in his blood that recognized proteins found in nerve cells, which may have been at least partly related to the neurological damage. The finding may help determine if other people with exposure to the chemicals, which are known as organophosphates and found in insecticides and industrial chemicals, are indeed experiencing problems because of the exposure." (Reuters Health)
"Thai government bans smoking scenes on television" - "The Thai government on Tuesday banned scenes of people smoking on television in an attempt to keep children from picking up the habit." (AP)
"U.N. says Chernobyl health 'catastrophe' may worsen" - "The United Nations Tuesday released a new assessment of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, saying the worst health consequences for 7.1 million people may be yet to come. 'At least 100 times as much radiation was released by this accident as by the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined' at the end of World War II, said a 32-page booklet titled 'Chernobyl: A Continuing Catastrophe,' released to mark the 14th anniversary of the disaster." (CNN) | "Ukraine repeats pledge on Chernobyl anniversary eve"
"Most of 200,000 playground injuries to children are preventable, report says" - "More than 200,000 children will be injured this year on playgrounds at childcare centers, schools and parks in the United States, and most of the injuries are preventable, a two-year study has determined." (CNN)
"UK tans on despite danger" - "However, a survey commissioned by the Imperial Cancer Research Fund found that for 40% of holidaymakers, going brown is a priority." (BBC)
"Older people are more prejudiced -- and they can't help it" - "Researchers at Ohio State University have found one explanation for why older adults tend to be more prejudiced than young people: they just can't help it." (Ohio State Univ. media release)
"Eating recommended foods associated with decrease in risk of mortality for women" - "New data suggest that a dietary pattern characterized by consumption of foods recommended in current dietary guidelines is associated with decreased risk of mortality in women, according to an article appearing in the April 26 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)." (Media release) | MSNBC | Reuters Health
April 25, 2000
"Study finds children are exposed to pesticides" - "A University of Washington study suggests that pesticides are finding their way into the bodies of pre-school children in agricultural communities at a higher level than previously thought." ( U. Washington media release)
"Gore in the balance" - Michael Baraone writes in U.S. News & World Report that "Earth in the Balance" revels Gore's fanatical approach to the environment.
"Environment emerging in campaign" - "If Michigan celebrants of Earth Day 2000 have their way, Campaign 2000 will challenge politicians to protect the Great Lakes portion of the planet." (By George Weeks, Detroit News)
"Honoring all who died" - "The debate centers on S. 1921, a bill to be heard before the Subcommittee on National Parks seeking authority to place a 2-square-yard plaque at the site of the Wall to honor those who served in the war -- dying after their service "but as a direct result" of it. This would include those who died from causes such as cancers related to Agent Orange (the chemical defoliant used to deny concealment to the enemy in Vietnam) exposure and suicides related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)." (By James Zumwalt, Washington Times)
"Drought, Persistent and Severe, Strikes Again" - "For instance, could another Dust Bowl or an even worse drought be in the nation's future? Based on scientists' analyses of tree rings, ancient soils and other evidence, the answer is almost certainly yes." (New York Times)
"Hi-tech crops are bad for the brain" - "'Miracle' crops, hailed as the answer to global famine, are contributing to widespread brain impairment in the developing world, a new report concludes. " (The Independent)
"Let Food Industry Pay for Empty Calories That Keep its Pockets Full Snack tax would force corporations to pay for health-compromising products it profits from" - "The Department of Agriculture, in tackling the national epidemic of obesity at its Nutritional Summit next month, will consider a consumer tax on high-calorie food products. Unfortunately, this is a short-sighted solution to a much more widespread problem." (Dorothy Dimitre in the San Francisco Chronicle)
"£120m stadium to be built next to incinerator" - "Athletes coming to Britain to compete in the 2005 world championships will be in danger of damaging their health by breathing in noxious fumes from the country's largest incinerator, according to documents obtained by the Guardian." (The Guardian)
"IPCC's 'TAR-2000': A Discernible Political Influence..." - "The latest draft of the IPCC's `Third Assessment Report' (TAR-2000), circulated on 16th April 2000, is a massive technical document, the final version not expected to be published until January 2001. Most of the findings in this draft are underpinned by one critical assumption - namely that the `surface record' of global temperature as published by CRU (UK) and GISS (USA) is an accurate representation of the actual temperature history of the earth since 1860. This assumption has been challenged on numerous occasions by various scientists on a variety of grounds, the most compelling of which is the failure of the surface record to match the mutually consistent records from satellites and sonde balloons. In addition, even an examination of individual station records on this website shows that the global and hemispheric statistical aggreggates produced by CRU and GISS bear little relation to individual records from those weather stations which are known to be free of local measurement errors such as urban heating, other environmental distortions, and equipment/procedural faults."
Upcoming Federal Register Notice of the Availability of a Draft Version of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report, for Comments/Review - "Three working groups of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have prepared draft versions of their Third Assessment Report (TAR) on Climate Change. The IPCC Secretariat requires comments on this report from national governments so that the Secretariat can meet its obligations to member governments of the IPCC. The U. S. Subcommittee on Global Change Research (SGCR) has been assigned responsibility for coordinating the preparation of the comments of the United States Government. Through this notice, the SGCR is announcing the availability of the draft Third Assessment Report upon its receipt from IPCC and is requesting comments on the draft report by the deadlines indicated from scientists, experts and other interested organizations and individuals." (Future NSF Federal Register notice)
"The Relative Merits of Contemporary Measurements and Historical Calculated Fields in the Swedish Childhood Cancer Study" - "We present arguments that suggest that historical average calculated fields, which are widely used to estimate biologically relevant exposure to electromagnetic fields, may be less accurate than contemporary spot measurements, which are made at a time following the biologically relevant period of exposure." (Epidemiology May 2000)
"Using Nicotine Measurements and Parental Reports to Assess Indoor Air: The Piama Birth Cohort Study" - "We used two methods to collect data on indoor smoking exposure of 3-month-old infants. First, parents of approximately 100 children completed a questionnaire. We then measured nicotine in the air of the living rooms in smoking and non-smoking households with a passive sampler for a period of 2 weeks, several months after the questionnaire had been completed. Smoking habits reported in the questionnaire generally with reported number of cigarettes smoked during the measurement weeks, and with nicotine concentrations in the air. These results suggest that exposure classification based on questionnaire data is likely to be reasonably valid." (Epidemiology May 2000)
"The Distributed Lag between Air Pollution and Daily Deaths" - "Averaging over the 10 cities, the overall effect of an increase in exposure of 10 µg/m3 on a single day was a 1.4% increase in deaths (95% confidence intervals (CI) = 1.15-1.68) using a quadratic distributed lag model, and a 1.3% increase (95% CI = 1.04-1.56) using an unconstrained distributed lag model." (Epidemiology, May 2000)
PCB Exposure in Relation to Thyroid Hormone Levels in Neonates - "We found that PCB exposure was not strongly related to any of the thyroid measures." (Epidemiology, May 2000)
"Greening the Government Through Environmental Management" - An Earth Day executive order from President Clinton.
"Gore Outlines Vision for 'Environment Decade'" - "Marking the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, Al Gore today outlined his vision for
making the next ten years an 'Environment Decade.'" (Gore 2000 media release)
"Transcript of President Clinton's Earth Day Interview with Leonardo DiCaprio" - From the White House.
"250 Virginia Anglers Help With Acid Rain Research " - "From Northern Virginia to Wythe County, 250 Virginia anglers will collect 450 water samples in an effort to determine how acid rain may be damaging the state's Mountain brook trout streams." (Trout Unlimited media release)
"Georgia protects tobacco, reaps benefit of national settlement" - "When states sued tobacco companies en masse over smokers' illnesses, Georgia joined in for a share of the cash settlement. Now that attacks on the industry are taking a toll at home, state lawmakers want to cushion the blow." (AP)
"Video games 'increase aggression'" - "Playing violent video games like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D or Mortal Combat can increase aggressive thoughts, feelings and behaviour, say researchers." (BBC) | Media release | Reuters Health
"Greenhouse trips cost $500,000" - "More than half a million dollars was spent on sending public servants overseas to argue Australia's position on greenhouse gases last financial year." (Sydney Morning Herald)
"Faith in the Earth " - "Amid all the Earth Day hype, did you hear anything about the Cornwall Declaration? Didn't think so. It's a manifesto for free-market environmentalism grounded in religious faith. Can't have that. Not on a holiday dedicated to pagan socialism. " (Linda Seebach for Scripps Howard News Service )
"Organic Traders Want More Funds for Research" - "Some popular organic food products may need to relabeled unless the U.S. Agriculture Department revises its national organic standards, a trade group said on Thursday." (Reuters)
"Novel explores Chernobyl's ``Dead Zone'' villages" - "They are called the 'Dead Zone' -- villages evacuated after the explosion at Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine spewed a deadly radioactive cloud into the sky on April 26, 1986, changing the lives of millions. Ukrainian American author Irene Zabytko's first novel, 'The Sky Unwashed,' looks at the aftermath of the world's worst nuclear disaster through the eyes of some elderly women who defy government orders and return to their irradiated homes." (Reuters)
April 24, 2000
"Carlo begins passive surveillance research" - RCRNews reports (April 24),
Dr. George Carlo, the controversial scientist who broke with the cellular industry last year after finding data possibly linking mobile phone use to health problems, will roll out a new research program this week combining epidemiology, laboratory research and passive surveillance of the nation's 90 million wireless phone subscribers.
Carlo said he plans to use TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and other media to advertise the Radiation Protection Project across the country and to solicit information from consumers who believe they have mobile phone radiation-related injuries.
The announcements, which will air in coming weeks, may confuse consumers, particularly mobile phone subscribers, who have been at the receiving end of cellular industry ads that tout the safety benefits of pocket phones.
Consumers will have the option of using the Internet, telephone or mail to access a questionnaire with 14 queries. Carlo said the confidential responses may trigger follow-up, on-site interviews by scientific investigators.
"The most important thing that's not being done right now is looking for problems from wireless phone use. No one is looking anywhere in the world," said Carlo...
Carlo is working closely with Baltimore lawyer Peter Angelos, who has successfully litigated personal injury cases against the asbestos and tobacco industries.
Carlo's findings could become evidence in any future class-action lawsuit against the wireless industry by Angelos.
"Pollution 'makes you stupid'" - "Pollution and other environmental threats are harming the intelligence of millions of people across the world, says a United Kingdom review of the available evidence." (BBC)
"Planet Hollywood pollutes planet Earth" - "I'm confused. Was that a huge Hollywood star in the guise of Leonardo DiCaprio chairing America's Earth Day 2000 Committee this weekend? The same Leo DiCaprio who got spanked by environmentalists for traipsing about on an ecologically fragile Thai nature reserve last year during the making of his dull cult film, The Beach? " (Patricia Pearson in the National Post)
April 22, 2000
"End of the effluent society" - "The lesson of the past century has been that environmental progress depends on economic and technological progress, which are best produced by dynamic markets. In other words, the environment can and does profit from free enterprise." (Washington Times editorial)
"Who needs Earth day?" - "These days environmental groups reserve most of their donations not to buy land and protect it themselves, but to build vast concrete-and-steel headquarters inside the Beltway, to lobby the feds to buy (and mismanage) more land and to send out requests for more donations. That's their legacy right now. They should aim higher, much higher, to a legacy like Mrs. Edge's Hawk Mountain." (By Ken Smith, Washington Times)
"Earth Day ledger... with optimism" - "'After 30 years, Earth Day has evolved from a counter-culture 'happening' to a self-congratulatory Establishment love-fest: a hodge-podge of Green boosterism, global apocalysm, genuine concern for life and well-being, and special interest propaganda,' to quote Carl Close of the Independent Institute." (By Fred Singer, Washington Times)
"Earth Day 2000: Fact vs. fantasy" - "Leonardo DiCaprio's interview with President Clinton is supposed to be shown on ABC's Earth Day program tonight. Stick with the ball game, if you can find a channel that has one. The actor has revealed himelf to be a total ignoramus." (Boston Herald editorial)
"Earth to all of us: Clean up your act" - "On this Earth Day, the toxic legacy of Woburn as portrayed in 'A Civil Action' is becoming the rule rather than the exception." (By Daniel Faber, Boston Herald)
"Mother Earth Day" - "Margaret Thatcher's biggest feat as a world politician was not transforming Britain, says Richard S. Courtney. It was making the global warming issue a widespread political cause -- but for all the wrong reasons" (By Richard S. Courtney, National Post)
"Back Door to Kyoto " - "Today is the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, and the theme this year is cleaner energy . No doubt concerns about global warming are driving this theme. But Congress should make sure that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not
use it as an excuse to implement the 1997 Kyoto treaty’s emission reduction targets without its approval." (Detroit News editorial)
"Chernobyl Kills And Cripples 14 Years After Blast" - " Fourteen years after the world's worst nuclear disaster, Chernobyl power plant is still reaping a harvest of deaths, Ukraine's Health Ministry said Friday." (Reuters)
"Sulphur compound caused Coca-Cola illness--prosecutor" - "Belgian prosecutors have closed their probe into last year's Coca-Cola crisis and will not file any charges, a spokesman for Coca-Cola said on Saturday." (Reuters)
"Politicians, food firms call for French BSE probe" - "Britain's opposition Conservative Party has called for a Europe-wide ban on French beef after reports that mad cow disease is rising in France." (Reuters)
"White House Fact Sheet: President Clinton and Vice President Gore: Protecting our Environment and Public Health " - The White House's Earth Day media release.
"Cancer Researchers Say New Colon Cancer Studies Send Wrong Message " - "The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) wishes to
remind the public that the scientific evidence linking consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to cancer prevention is clear and convincing. In study after study, components within these foods have demonstrated the ability to protect against -- and sometimes even reverse -- the cancer process." (American Institute for Cancer Research media release)
April 21, 2000
"Unwarranted warning" - Steve Milloy comments in The Washington Times, "The Senate has voted unanimously to require parents be warned 72 hours in advance of the use of pesticides in schools. It's too bad there is no warning required before senators vote on junk-science-fueled legislation."
"Seeing Green in a Concrete Way" - "Dan W. Reicher got his first taste of environmental activism when he was in third grade and a Cub Scout in Syracuse, N.Y." (Washington Post)
"Al Gore Is No Conservationist" - Peter Huber on Al Gore in The Washington Post.
"Your Cancer Isn't Your Fault" - "Cancer is a complex disease, arising from the interaction of our genes with numerous factors in the environment. No single influence can completely explain its genesis. We must minimize our risk for cancer, but not blame ourselves if we develop it." (New York Times op-ed by Jerome Groopman)
"Brain scans 'to identify' CJD sufferers" - "Hospital brain scanners could soon be used to help identify people with the human form of mad cow disease. " (BBC)
"Impotence warning for cigarette packs" - "Cigarette packs are to carry impotence warnings, under European Union (EU) plans." (BBC) | Smoking and impotence: 60 Minutes duped again?
"World celebrates Earth Day" - "Over 500 million people in 85 countries are expected to celebrate Earth Day on Saturday." (BBC)
"Overweight Americans getting too little exercise, study finds" - "The vast majority of overweight adults trying to shed pounds aren't getting enough exercise, the government said Thursday. " (AP) | Reuters
"Smoking does not protect against dementia or Alzheimer's disease" - "Smoking does not protect against dementia or Alzheimer's disease, shows a study in this week's BMJ, contradicting the implications of some previous research." (BMJ media release) | BMJ editorial | Study | MSNBC | Reuters | Reuters Health
"Tobacco may explain some of the differences in health inequalities between North and South Europe " - "Smoking may explain some of the differences in health inequalities between Northern and Southern European countries, indicates research in this week's issue of the BMJ. But, says the research, the North / South gap is likely to close, while the health gap between the rich and the poor will widen further as a result of smoking." (BMJ media release)
"GM crop farms fear backlash over field trials" - "Many farmers taking part in the Government's GM crop trials are living in fear of a backlash from local communities and green activists, a Times survey has established." (The Times)
April 20, 2000
"High-fiber diet does not reduce colon cancer risk, studies say" - "A high-fiber diet does not prevent the polyps that can lead to colorectal cancer, according to two large studies published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)." (CNN) | Abstract | Editorial | Media release | New York Times | BBC | The Independent
"State limits tobacco bond" - "Threats that the tobacco industry might be bankrupted by a big smokers' trial receded on Wednesday, when a committee of the Florida legislature approved proposals that would limit the size of any bond the industry might have to post in connection with the trial." (Financial Times)
"Bold Court Order Could Yield Tobacco Deal Talks" - "A bold order by a New York judge telling cigarette makers to work at settling nearly all U.S. anti-tobacco lawsuits will likely fizzle but might touch off bargaining toward ending the legal war on Big Tobacco, lawyers said on Wednesday." (Reuters)
"RJR To Test Reduced-Smoke Cigarette" - "R.J. Reynolds Tobacco will test-market a reduced-smoke cigarette with advertising that for the first time claims it is safer than other cigarettes." (Reuters) | Washington Post | American Heart Association media release | American Cancer Society media release | Donna Shalala media release | TFK media release
"Bush Backers To Talk About Clean Air Rules" - "Several state environmental officials who have struggled fiercely against tougher federal air pollution regulations plan to meet next week with top executives of polluting industries to discuss how those standards might be loosened if Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) wins the presidency." (Washington Post)
"EPA Data Reveal Houston's Air Cleanest in Decades" - "Houston's air is the cleanest it has been in decades, according to an analysis of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data conducted by Tech Environmental, Inc. for the American Highway Users Alliance. Carbon monoxide (CO) levels in the air have declined 59 percent since their peak in 1982, and peak ozone levels are down 32 percent since their peak in 1980." (American Highway Users Alliance media release)
"Agitprop Day" - Terry Corcoran writes in The National Post, "This Earth Day, while all is well, we should aim to save Canada from the bureaucratic lunacy coming out of Ottawa."
"30th Earth Day a Milestone for Environmental Movement, Says Pacific Research Institute Report" - "The 30th anniversary of Earth Day should be a time to celebrate the success of environmentalism, which has taken its place as one of the pre-eminent social movements in American public life, comparable in its impact to the movements for abolitionism, temperance, women's
suffrage and civil rights, according to the Index of Leading Environmental Indicators 2000, published by the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy." (Pacific Research Institute media release)
"Survey Finds 4,001 Dead from Gun Violence Since Columbine" - "Yesterday, U.S. Conference of Mayors President and Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb unveiled 'The Wall of Gun Deaths'. The wall memorializes the names of 4,001 victims of gun violence since last year's Columbine High School shooting. The wall is a graphic depiction of results released in a 100-city survey by the
Conference titled 'The Death Toll Since Columbine'. " (U.S. Conference of Mayors media release)
"Columbine Propagandists Trample the Truth About Firearms Ownership, Says Jewish Civil Rights Group " - "'It's shameful how the anti-self defense lobby dances on the graves of dead crime victims to advance their political agenda,' said Aaron Zelman, executive director of JPFO. 'Americans don't hear about the good side of defensive gun ownership. Why don't people dance when
well over 5,000 crimes are stopped or prevented by citizens every day?'" (Jews for the Preservation of Firearms media release)
"Jury split on Greenpeace GM raid" - "A major legal question mark last night hung over the activities of eco-protesters who attacked genetically modified crops after a jury could not agree on whether a Greenpeace raid on a GM maize field had broken the law. " (The Independent) | The Guardian
"Companies urged to act on environment - survey" - "Most people around the world want companies to do more to improve the environment, especially in the industrial and manufacturing centers of Asia, according to a survey released on Wednesday before Earth Day 2000." (Reuters)
April 19, 2000
"Seeds of Opportunity: An Assessment of the Benefits, Safety, and Oversight of Plant Genomics and Agricultural Biotechnology Report" - Committee on Science Subcommittee on Basic Research Chairman Nick Smith (R-MI) today released a report assessing the benefits and risks of genetically-modified plants and plant-derived foods, and recommending changes in federal regulation. (PDF file) | House Committee on Science Subcommittee on Basic Research media release
"S. African President Escalates AIDS Feud" - "South African President Thabo Mbeki has stepped up an emotional controversy over his country's response to AIDS, saying Africans should chart their own course on the disease with help from, among others, scientists who dispute the prevailing views in the West on the causes and treatment of the disease." (Washington Post) | Text of South African President's letter to world leaders on AIDS in Africa | Peter Duesberg's "AIDS not infectious--but caused by recreational and anti-HIV drugs"
"Smog gets in their eyes" - "Forcing motorists to spend half a day in line waiting to have their vehicles' emissions tested might be easier to justify -- if significant improvements in air quality were the result. But critics of the so-called 'smog tests' are being vindicated: The tests are a waste of time for the vast majority of motorists -- and do next to nothing so far as cleaning up the air is concerned." (Washington Times editorial)
"1st Quarter Sets Warmth Record" - "The first quarter of this year was the warmest such three-month period in the United States during the past 106 years of record keeping, federal officials announced yesterday." (Washington Post)
"Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology" - " The proposed checklist contains specifications for reporting of meta-analyses of observational studies in epidemiology, including background, search strategy, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Use of the checklist should improve the usefulness of meta-analyses for authors, reviewers, editors, readers, and decision makers. An evaluation plan is suggested and research areas are explored." (JAMA)
"Who's Chicken Little Now?" - Today's New York Times "op-ad" from TomPaine.com.
"Friends of the Earth may shun Gore again" - "Friends of the Earth, which shunned Al Gore in the 2000 Democratic presidential primary despite his record as an environmentalist, said on Tuesday it may turn its back again on the vice president in the general election." (Reuters)
"Nerve poison leaves telltale evidence" - "A US team has found changes in the blood of a child with organophosphate (OP) poisoning, which could make it easier for other patients to prove exposure to similar poisons." (BBC)
"Diet suffers when spouse is a smoker" - "'We found that men and women who were married to smokers -- as compared to men and
women married to nonsmokers -- consumed significantly more total fat and saturated fat,' said researcher Dr. Jeffrey S. Hampl of Arizona State University in Tempe. He presented his team's findings at the Experimental Biology 2000 conference held here this week." (Reuters)
"Smoking 'impairs intelligence'" - "Smoking in later life appears to be linked to intellectual impairment over the age of 65, research has found." (BBC) | Media release
April 18, 2000
"War's Toxic Legacy Lingers in Vietnam" - "For Hiep, there is no doubt about the cause of his son's suffering. 'It was the Agent Orange the Americans sprayed during the war,' he said. 'That's what did this.'" (Washington Post)
"A Global Warming Affirmation" - "An early draft of an intently awaited report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) contains no surprises about the prospect of continued global warming, and comes to approximately the same major conclusions as its celebrated predecessor five years ago." (Washington Post)
"Environmental issues fail to capture national interest, says Temple University professor on eve of 30th earth day celebration " - "And while people still care about the environment, the passion of those early Earth Days is gone, according to Robert Mason, director of Temple's Environmental Studies program." (Temple University media release)
"Environment poll shows Americans support progress, but not as top priority" - "Almost 30 years after
the inaugural Earth Day, Americans are broadly supportive of the goals of the environmental movement, says a new Gallup Poll. But they don't consider it a top priority." (AP)
"Fraud Suspected in Approval of Synthetic Milk Hormone, According to Fairview Industries " - "April 26, 1999, following a Congressional inquiry by Rep. Scott Klug of Wisconsin (ret.), FDA officials handling recombinant bovine growth hormone were accused of fraud by Dr. Bill von Meyer before a senate investigational committee in Canada." (Fairview Industries media release)
"New Interfaith Council Takes Environmental Movement to Task for Misguided View of God, Man, Nature" - "Modern environmentalism
too often travels down a dangerous path of extremism. It is vital that the needs of people, especially the poor, be brought back to the forefront of sound ecological stewardship; this is the message of a broad-based coalition of Jewish, Catholic and Protestant clergy, scholars and people of faith, speaking at a press conference today in Washington, D.C." (Interfaith Council for Environmental Stewardship media release)
"Californians May Soon Drink Recycled Toilet Water" - "Welcome to southern California, thirsty traveler. Here, have a glass of 5-year-old toilet water. Local and state officials, flushed with visions of success, will soon begin a 'toilet to tap' project that would recycle billions of gallons of sewage water for drinking, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said on Monday." (Reuters)
April 17, 2000
DAILY DOSE #3: "Relations between age at occupational exposure to ionising radiation and cancer risk" - The federal government claimed last January that radiation and chemical exposures at its weapons facilities harmed workers' health and caused deaths. The Clinton Administration is now preparing a proposal to compensate workers accordingly. Junkscience.com is taking a look at the studies that the Clinton Administration says link occupational exposures at nuke plants with adverse health effects.
Today's study is Stewart AM and Kneale GW. 1996. "Relations between age at occupational exposure to ionising radiation and cancer risk." Occupational and Environmental Medicine 53: 225-230.
In a study of 35,868 badge monitored workers employed between 1944 and 1989 with 2,054 cancer deaths, the authors reported, "The relative frequency of site specific cancers showed no signs of being different for radiogenic and idiopathic cancers, and there was no evidence of the exceptionally strong association between radiation and leukemia found in atomic bomb data and other high dose situations."
"Environmental illness? Nonscents!" - "Junk science has paved the road to mass hysteria and is creating a whole new generation of hypochondriacs." (The Daily News)
"Demand for resources threatens world's environment, report warns" - "Growing demand for resources is threatening the world's environmental health more than ever, a United Nations-sponsored report said Sunday. In the long term, it said, humans will pay the price, despite greater environmental awareness." (AP)
"France stands by UK beef ban after new BSE warning" - "France is less likely to lift its ban on British beef following suggestions that mad cow disease may be caused by a mystery factor as yet unknown, Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said on Sunday." (Reuters)
"The vulnerable Al Gore" - "Houghton Mifflin Co. is reprinting Al Gore's 1992 book, 'Earth in the Balance,' complete with a new foreword by the author. This could be good news for Republicans." (Boston Herald editorial, April 16)
"Saving Gas, and the Planet" - "In the next few weeks Congress will have a chance to combat both global warming and U.S. dependence on foreign oil. For each of the past five years, in funding the Transportation Department, Congress has blocked any change in regulations that hold SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks to a lower standard of fuel efficiency than passenger cars. It's time to get rid of that restriction." (Washington Post editorial)
"Problems at the World Bank" - "The World Bank's latest reform effort is eerily reminiscent of earlier efforts that environmental groups denounced as inadequate and diversionary." (Washington Times commentary by James Sheehan)
April 16, 2000
"Report: EPA failing to protect children farmworkers from pesticides" - "The federal government is failing to protect children working in farm fields from exposure to potentially dangerous pesticides, according to a report released on Thursday by Congress' nonpartisan investigative arm." (CNN)
"3rd Circuit Rejects Attempt To Remand Asbestos Cases" - "In 1991, when the federal courts decided to transfer all pending asbestos cases to Senior U.S. District Judge Charles R. Weiner in Philadelphia, it seemed that a global settlement might one day be possible. Now, nine years later, that massive settlement has been rejected by higher courts, and some plaintiffs' lawyers are clamoring to get their asbestos cases out of Weiner's court and back to their home districts for trial." (Legal Intelligencer)
"Veterans' group says VA ignored evidence of Agent Orange-linked diabetes" - "Veterans Affairs Secretary Togo West rejected the recommendation of a task force that Vietnam War soldiers who developed diabetes after being exposed to Agent Orange should be compensated, The Denver Post reported Saturday." (AP)
"Newspaper says 425 secret GM sites in France" - "A French newspaper said on Saturday it had proof of 425 sites in France where genetically modified (GM) crop experiments were carried out without the knowledge of local inhabitants or farmers." (Reuters)
"Moderate drinking 'protects bones'" - "A diet rich in calcium - and the occasional glass of wine - could protect some women from dangerous bone-thinning." (BBC)
"Guilt 'bad for your health'" - "People who feel guilty about life's pleasures may be damaging their health, research has found." (BBC)
April 15, 2000
"Science 'not enough' to allay fears" - "In highly technological societies, governments can no longer rely on science alone to win consent for potentially risky new developments, according to social scientists." (BBC)
"'Erin Brockovich': The real story" - "The Julia Roberts film 'Erin Brockovich' is in its fourth week as one of the most popular movies in America. It's billed as being based on a true story. But the film tells only half of it -- and the half it doesn't tell isn't pretty." (Salon.com)
"Study suggests link between vaccines, Gulf War illnesses" - "A study has found a possible link between antibodies used in experimental vaccines and unexplained illnesses afflicting thousands of military personnel who served in the Gulf War." (AP)
"No class-action status for suit claiming tobacco targets teens" - "A lawsuit claiming tobacco companies place in-store advertisements near youth-oriented products and use images that target minors will proceed without class-action status, a judge ruled." (AP)
"French Farm Minister warns of mystery BSE cause" - "France's Farm Minister said in comments published on Saturday that "mad cow" disease, an increasing concern to French farmers, may be caused by a mystery factor as yet unknown to scientists." (Reuters)
"GM soybeans save farmers on chemicals-study" - "Genetically altered soybeans produce about the same yield and require the same overall volume of chemicals to kill weeds as traditional varieties but save farmers about $220 million annually in cheaper chemical costs, according to a study released on Friday." (Reuters)
April 14, 2000
COMMENTARY of the day: "The Cancer Cluster Lie" - Steve Milloy comments in The New York Post, "The [New York] state Department of Health's new map of breast-cancer rates by zip code is good news for personal-injury lawyers, activists and taxpayer-dependent researchers. But for women and families concerned about breast cancer, it's an exercise in geo-statistical futility. For homeowners, it's a nightmare."
BEN & JERRY'S MOMENT of the day: "Chunky Monkey and hippie hypocrisy" - Peter Foster rips Ben & Jerry's a new one in The National Post.
DAILY DOSE #2: "Mortality of Workers at the Hanford Site" - The federal government claimed last January that radiation and chemical exposures at its weapons facilities harmed workers' health and caused deaths. The Clinton Administration is now preparing a proposal to compensate workers accordingly. Junkscience.com is taking a look at the studies that the Clinton Administration says link occupational exposures at nuke plants with adverse health effects.
Today's study is Gilbert ES, Omohundro E, Buchanan JA, & Holter, NA. 1993. "Mortality of Workers at the Hanford Site." Health Physics 64(6): 577-590.
The abstract reads, "Updated analyses of mortality of workers at the Hanford site provide little evidence of a positive correlation of cumulative occupational radiation dose and mortality from leukemia and from all cancer except leukemia... Of 24 specific cancer categories evaluated, only cancer of the pancreas and Hodgkin's disease showed positive correlations with radiation dose that approached statistical significance...; these correlations are interpreted as probably spurious."
"The EPA courts trouble" - Jonathan Adler comments in The Washington Times, "Regulatory analysts frequently single out the EPA for criticism, citing the high costs and minimal benefits of EPA's rules. The EPA's record in federal court suggests that many of these criticisms are justified."
"Pollen 'could contaminate GM-free food'" - "The chairman of Iceland, the supermarket chain, told a court yesterday that it was almost 'biologically impossible' for products to be completely free of genetically modified material." (Daily Telegraph)
"Amoco Brain Cancer Cases: Headed to Higher Court?" - "Whether the several secret deals reached last month in BP Amoco's deadly brain cancer cases are to be kept secret appears to have come down to a rare war of wills between the presiding judge of the Cook County Law Division in Illinois and the lawyers for both the company and the settling plaintiffs." (American Lawyer Media)
"Growing up greener: Earth Day 2000 targets youth" - MSNBC's eco-bonehead Francesca Lyman hails the green-washing of our young.
"American Home Products Will Proceed With Nationwide Settlement On Diet Drugs" - "American Home Products Corporation today announced that it will proceed with its comprehensive nationwide diet drug settlement, which is subject to a judicial fairness hearing scheduled to begin on May 2 in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia." (AHP media release)
"OSHA Rushing to Judgment on Ergonomics Standard" - "OSHA cannot finalize the proposal this year without disregarding many and perhaps most of the public comments. It is impossible for the agency to conduct proper hearings and to seriously consider all 7,000-plus comments in just seven or eight months. The standard took OSHA more than eight years to develop." (AGC media release)
"Still a mess; There has to be a way to bring sanity to the gene food fiasco" - "A good clean fight it is not. In the battle over genetically modified foods, both contestants have been hitting way below the belt." (New Scientist editorial)
"Judging gene foods; An impartial panel could quell health and environmental fears " - "Are genetically modified foods safe to eat? A grand forum of internationally renowned scientists and other experts might soon be helping the world decide. The forum would regularly provide governments with an independent, state-of-the-art consensus on what the latest science tells us, helping to resolve international divisions on GM food safety." (New Scientist)
"American Cancer Society Opposes Special Protections For Big Tobacco" - "The American Cancer Society, America's largest voluntary health organization, today condemned efforts to provide special protection to big tobacco. The Society cited moves by legislators in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Kentucky to shield the tobacco industry from punitive damages in the Engle class action tobacco lawsuit in Florida." (ACS media release)
"Atomic Veterans Ignored by Nuclear Exposure Compensation Plan" - "The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is outraged and appalled that veterans exposed to ionizing radiation are being ignored by the federal government which today announced plans to offer compensation to thousands of contract workers for illnesses resulting from exposure to toxic and radioactive substances." (DAV media release)
"Greenpeace Mexico decries imports of U.S. GM corn" - "Environmental group Greenpeace on Thursday made a formal complaint to the Mexican government about increasing imports of transgenic corn from the United States it alleges could be a health risk." (Reuters)
"Protesters destoy GM rapeseed field in France" - "Several hundred environmental campaigners destroyed a field of genetically modified (GM) rapeseed in France on Thursday as part of a public awareness campaign, the Green Party said." (Reuters)
"Austria bans Aventis' gene-modified maize" - "Austria on Thursday banned imports of Aventis' genetically-modified maize on the grounds there were no available studies on the long-term impact the crop would have on the environment." (Reuters)
"Canadian fires may pollute U.S., study finds" - "Americans do not usually look to Canada as a source of pollution, but a study published on Thursday suggested that forest fires in Canada's Northwest Territories caused deadly carbon monoxide to build up in the atmosphere over parts of the United States in 1995." (Reuters)
"Policing Science" - Science reports (April 14),
Indian scientists have drafted first-ever codes of conduct for researchers and scientific institutions. The 15-point scientists' code, drafted this week by 450 researchers at a National Symposium on Ethics in the Administration of Science in Hyderabad, says researchers shouldn't 'cook' results, pad their publications list, or 'yield to political or social pressures.' And the 16-point institutional code calls for protecting whistleblowers by creating systems that 'institutionalize dissent.' Conferees also recommended that the government establish an independent Office of Research Integrity to investigate misconduct.
The next step is to present the recommendations to India's Department of Science and Technology, says Pushp Bhargava, president of the Society for Scientific Values, which sponsored the conference. He and other researchers hope the agency will eventually formulate an official 'Charter for Scientists.'"
April 13, 2000
DAILY DOSE #1: "Radiation Exposures of Hanford Workers Dying from Cancer and Other Causes" - The federal government said last January that radiation and chemical exposures at its weapons facilities harmed workers' health and caused deaths. The Clinton Administration is now preparing a proposal to compensate workers accordingly. Junkscience.com is taking a look at the studies that the Clinton Administration says link occupational exposures at nuke plants with adverse health effects.
Today's study is Mancuso TF, Stewart A, Kneale G. 1977. "Radiation Exposures of Hanford Workers Dying from Cancer and Other Causes." Health Physics 33;369-385.
Researchers studied 35,000 white males who were employed between 1943 and 1972. Radiation exposure was monitored by badges and through urine tests.
There was no overall excess in cancer deaths among the workers (670 cancer deaths expected, 670 cancer deaths observed). There were excess cancer deaths for some specific cancers (e.g., myelomas, lung, liver and others), but these elevations were all weak (90 percent increase or less) and not statistically significant. Also, confounding risk factors -- e.g., smoking -- were not considered for any of the comparisons.
"Amphibians facing global decline" - "Evidence shows amphibians have been in decline globally for the last half-century, say researchers." (BBC)
"GM foods under fire again" - "A report published today claims that new genetically modified products are unlikely to benefit the public. Scientists say they are developing GM foods such as low-fat chips and tomatoes that can help prevent cancer. But the campaign groups which have compiled today's report say it's just industry hype." (BBC)
"EU rejects strict GM food controls" - "The European Parliament has rejected a European Union law amendment that would have made GM producers legally responsible for any damage caused by their products to public health or to the environment." (BBC) | The Times | Reuters
"Genetic Concern pressure group decides to disband" - "The main group campaigning against GM foods in the Republic, Genetic Concern, is to disband. The organisation says it has fulfilled its aim of alerting consumers to the wide-scale introduction of GM foods and what it considered to be unacceptable risks to humans and the environment from such produce." (Irish Times)
"Researcher says colonists may have been poisoned" - "In what could be a macabre sequel to the story of Pocahontas, a pathologist says many of the settlers who died at Jamestown may have been poisoned with arsenic - perhaps by Capt. John Smith himself." (AP)
"FAO official advises risk assessment on GMOs" - "A senior official of the U.N. world food body has acknowledged 'potential risks' from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to human health and the environment and advised risk assessment on a case by
case basis." (Reuters)
"New animal feed can cut global warming- scientists" - "Scientists in Scotland said on Wednesday they have come up with a novel method of reducing global warming." (Reuters)
"Psst. GMOs are scary. Pass it on" - Howard Fineberg comments in The National Post, "In a world of general public ignorance of true science, reporting claims of how many Canadians are frightened becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy -- it has the effect of convincing others that they should also be frightened. It creates a peculiar echo chamber, where the public gets scared because they are informed that they are supposed to be scared. Fear by false peer pressure cannot substitute for science and fact. If such fear supplants good judgment, Canada and the rest of the world may well be deprived of the vast benefits genetically modified crops have to offer."
"Gulf War Syndrome dizziness linked to nerve gas" - "In medical tests analyzing brain function, Gulf War veterans who complain of dizziness showed results similar to those of victims of the Toyko subway nerve-gas attack, according to a recent study." (U. Texas media release)
"Dietary bioflavonoids induce DNA breaks, may contribute to infant leukemia" - "Scientists from the University of Chicago Medical Center have found molecular evidence that bioflavonoids, which are ordinarily considered quite beneficial, can cause breaks in DNA that could trigger the development of infant leukemias. Bioflavonoids are found at high levels in many foods, including soybeans, fruits, root vegetables and herbs, and are often ingested in high concentrations as dietary supplements." (U. Chicago media release)
"Smoking during pregnancy linked to children's behavior problems" - "Women who smoke while pregnant are far more likely to have children who develop behavior problems as toddlers, a study found." (CNN) | AP
"Smoking link to premature ageing" - "Smoking destroys the ability of the skin to renew itself effectively, thus accelerating the ageing process, a study has indicated." (BBC) | Reuters
April 12, 2000
"Weird Science" - The Wall Street Journal editorializes, "The 30th anniversary of Earth Day is about to sprout, and putting our ear to the ground, what we hear is that this one will be remembered for whether ABC News allowed the world to see Leonardo DiCaprio interview Bill Clinton about the state of the environment. Various complainers have objected that this exercise isn't sufficiently serious. Well, in the spirit of the age, we say, let the show go on! As if the official stewards of environmentalism hadn't stopped worrying a long time ago about whether they were being rigorously serious. Want an example? Try Chlorine Chemistry Council and Chemical Manufacturers Association v. Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources Defense Council et al. It doesn't get any better than this."
"Breast Cancer Is Pinpointed by Zip Code in State Maps" - "The State Health Department on Tuesday published breast cancer rates by ZIP code for the entire state, the first time such widespread mapping of a cancer has been produced in such detail. Not surprisingly, the data show that the highest rates of breast cancer occurred on Long Island, where the disease has become a potent political and public health issue and local survivors' groups have, on their own, pioneered the creation of cancer maps. The department will produce ZIP code maps for other common cancers over the next several months.
While praising the state, many advocates of the mapping project said that it was too long in the making and complained that the state still had not achieved one of the project's original goals: to compare spots where cancer rates are elevated to the locations of known sources of pollution. Officials in the Health Department and elsewhere in the Pataki administration have said they intend to produce maps matching cancers to pollutants but would not say when." (NY Times)
"U.S. Plans to Pay Radiation Claims" - "The White House will announce a plan on Wednesday for compensating workers who may have been made sick by exposure to radiation and toxic chemicals in the nation's nuclear weapons factories, administration officials said tonight." (NY Times) | Washington Post
Watch for a multi-part analysis on Junkscience.com examining the studies of nuclear plant workers.
"The Right Warred Against Fluoride But Now It's the Left Wing's Turn" - "As lonely causes go, the war on fluoride falls somewhere between ban the bomb and abolish the designated hitter. It began as a bugaboo of the far right in the 1950s, entering the mythology, via 'Dr. Strangelove,' as a communist plot 'to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids.' As the redbaiters retreated, the forces of pure food took up arms. A communist plot turned into a capitalist plot. The Cold War ended, but the fluoride wars went on and on. The local press cared now and then. Almost nobody else did." (WSJ)
"Perils up in the air" - Pat Michaels comments in The Washington Times, "NASA now tells us ozone is still being depleted around boreal sunrise, despite the reduction in CFCs, because the same changes in the greenhouse effect that cause global warming also happen to induce stratospheric cooling, which hastens ozone depletion. This totally plausible theory will ultimately serve to ho-hum away yet another environmental disaster."
"New Health Research 'Vindicates' EPA; Soot Particles Are Deadly, Lung Association Notes" - "In one study, researchers reanalyzed and validated two earlier, key studies done by the Harvard School of Public Health and used by the EPA to support the particle soot standards. Both the 1993 "Six Cities Study" and the 1995 "American Cancer Society Study" found a link between particle soot and premature death. As particle pollution increased, so did deaths." (American Lung Association media release)
Show me the data -- not an American Lung Association media release!
"Shaklee U.S. Leads the Way on Global Climate Change Issue, Becomes Nation's First Climate Neutral(TM) Certified Company" - "In an historic first among companies in the U.S., Shaklee U.S. has been approved as the first Climate Neutral Certified Company by the Climate Neutral Network as a result of Shaklee's achievement of a net zero impact on the Earth's climate." (Shaklee Corp. media release)
"Climate Neutral Network"? How about "Brain-in-neutral Network"?
"Prevent Pest Problems This Season; Pests In and Around Homes Cause Serious Health Problems" - "Sometimes a fly swatter isn't enough. Creeping, crawling, stinging, buzzing, biting and growing their way into public awareness, pests are causing more health and safety problems than ever. Pesticides offer help for the problem with pests." (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment media release)
"Consumers do not need to fear being around pesticides when products are being used according to the label... The only ones that need to worry are the pests."
"The stolen harvest" - "Shiva began her talk by holding up an empty bag of potato chips, which, for her, symbolised all that has gone wrong with the world's food system. Food is over-processed, over-packaged, over-priced and people, particularly children, often purchase it for the prizes offered rather than the nutritional value."
Check out Aaron Oakley's response, "Hating modern agriculture."
"When Bugs Carry Disease: Anticipating the Return of the West Nile Virus" - Elizabeth Whelan comments, "When and if widespread malathion spraying is ordered late this spring and summer, there will inevitably be those who will argue that the "precautionary principle" should be applied, that is, 'just in case' malathion spraying could pose a health threat, it should be withheld. But how would one explain such "precautionary" policies to the dozens, hundreds or even more people infected with the West Nile virus because the most effective mosquito control measures were not instituted? Public health measures need to be based on scientific and medical realities, as well as prudence."
"April snow puts lie to scare tactics" - Alan Caruba writes in The Philadelphia Inquirer, "While unusual, April blizzards demonstrate this basic truth about the weather: It is pure chaos. The best computer models used to predict it are essentially useless any more than five days out. Often the weather changes so rapidly, there are barely a few hours to warn the public. So why are we to believe in global warming? It, too, is based on computer models. They have proven to be so flawed that, since their first appearance, they have been consistently revised to foist this hoax on everyone."
"EU, U.S. agree to pilot project to test herbicide" - "The European Union's executive Commission said on Tuesday it had launched a pilot project for the parallel evaluation by European and U.S. authorities of a new herbicide." (Reuters)
"US congressional leaders push nuclear waste bill" - "Congressional leaders urged President Bill Clinton on Tuesday to sign a bill allowing the nation's hazardous nuclear waste from commercial power plants to be stored in the Nevada desert by the end of the decade." (Reuters)
"U.S. wants stay lifted on emissions reduction rule" - "The Justice Department, acting for the Environmental Protection Agency, on Tuesday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia to remove the stay that had been placed on new rules for tighter caps on nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions." (Reuters)
"EU parliament considers controversial GMO rules" - "The European Parliament will on Wednesday vote on tough new rules governing genetically-modified organisms which the biotech industry fears will stifle research, force companies out of Europe and lead to major job losses." (Reuters)
"Global consumers still wary of GMOs - pollster" - "Global consumer resistance to genetically modified (GM) foods still runs high, a leading pollster said on Tuesday, and the agriculture industry must work harder to convince consumers to buy them." (Reuters)
"Disney chief concerned about Hong Kong's air pollution" - "Michael Eisner, chairman of Walt Disney, has expressed concern about air pollution in Hong Kong, which is building a Disney theme park, Radio Hong Kong reported Tuesday." (AP)
"Giant GM salmon on the way" - "Genetically-modified fish, which can grow up to 10 times faster than normal, could be cleared for human consumption within a year." (BBC) | "Environmentalists alarmed over giant GM fish" (Reuters) | Globe and Mail
April 11, 2000
ROSS GELBSPAN: Still not a Pulitzer Prize winner - The Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday. Author Ross Gelbspan still hasn't won the prestigious award -- no matter what Gelbspan and eco-shill David Fenton claim.
Junkscience.com broke the July 1997 story that Gelbspan, author of the alarmist book on global warming titled "The Heat Is On," was misprepresented on the book jacket and in promotional material as a Pulitzer Prize winner.
ICHIRO KAWACHI: Still a 'Junk Scientist' - Ichiro Kawachi, director of the Harvard Center for Society and Health gives an interview to the Tobacco BBS and takes credit for "publishing on the link between passive smoking and heart disease."
Check out my May 1997 write-up of Kawachi's study on secondhand smoke and heart disease.
"A Hit Movie Is Rated 'F' in Science" - "It should be no surprise to viewers of the hit movie 'Erin Brockovich' that the science portrayed in the movie is not really science. After all, this is a major motion picture coming out of Hollywood. It comes from a fairy tale land where women are abnormally beautiful, men are lusciously handsome, where sex is unusually profligate and violence casual and frequent. So if audiences are willing to suspend disbelief in every other arena, why should anyone care about something so dull as the veracity of the scientific methodology?" (NY Times)
"Report Disputes Benefits of Taking Large Doses of Vitamins" - "Even though millions of Americans take vitamins C and E and other antioxidants in the hope of warding off illness and aging, a report being issued today by nutrition experts says there is no evidence that the large doses that have become popular can prevent chronic disease or that most Americans need to take supplements at all." (NY Times)
"An open letter to chefs opposed to biotechnology" - "Today, a group of some 30 celebrity chefs from around the United States will hold a press conference at the high-priced Philadelphia restaurant Le Bec-Fin, to denounce biotechnology and foods developed with recombinant DNA techniques. We agricultural scientists are using advanced biotechnologies to develop more robust and nutritious crop plants for use in the developing world, and we urge these chefs to reconsider their opposition to such a promising scientific endeavor."
"Global temps cooler than normal in March-report" - "Global temperatures were cooler-than-normal in March, continuing a year-long trend linked to the La Nina weather phenomenon, researchers said on Monday." (Reuters)
"Herd destroyed after new BSE case in France" - "A herd of 72 cattle was destroyed in France after the discovery of the country's 14th case of mad cow disease this year, the French Agriculture Ministry said on Monday." (Reuters)
"Caution urged over genome hype" - "Scientists have attempted to deflate what they see as the hype now surrounding the quest to decode the human genetic blueprint." (BBC) | AP
"Scientist disputes company's DNA decoding claim" - "The chief scientist of an international organization trying to map the human genetic code has disputed a private company's claim to have already reached that target." (CNN)
"Genetically Modified Beef Not Likely - Conference" - "Transgenic cattle was not likely in the foreseeable future, John Morrison, president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, told the Five Nations Beef Conference on the weekend." (Reuters)
"Air '10 times dirtier in home than street'" - "Air pollution in the home can be up to 10 times worse than on the street, according to Health Which?" (The Independent)
April 10, 2000
Fumento vs. Brockovich, Round 3 - Check out Michael Fumento's response to Erin Brockovich in today's The Wall Street Journal. (Scroll down for Fumento's letter)
"New study finds multiple myeloma linked to radiation exposures of nuclear workers" - "Increasing exposure to ionizing radiation boosts the risk of multiple myeloma, a rare but often fatal cancer of blood-forming tissues, especially among people exposed later in life, according to a new study of workers at four U.S. Department of Energy plants." (UNC media release)
"Cancer expert says GM crops can be healthier" - "One of Britain's leading geneticists has attacked Lord Melchett, executive director of Greenpeace, for demanding absolute proof that genetically modified (GM) crops are safe." (The Independent)
"Health food can shrink brains of the middle-aged, says study " - "A new study suggests that the soya bean product with the consistency of warm rubber may not be so healthy after all. In fact, research shows that middle-aged people who eat tofu regularly are more prone to signs of mental deterioration and even brain shrinkage." (The Independent)
"PCBs: facts versus hype" - The Seattle Times editorializes, "The public fuss over 14 containers of old electric transformers and cans of oil on the Seattle docks defies common sense."
"Biotech Isn't a Luxury in Some Nations" - Jennifer A. Thomson comments in The Los Angeles Times, "Given the socioeconomic realities and needs in countries like South Africa and China, it is almost trivial to discuss whether they should use a technology that already has shown its benefits to their populations. These countries cannot afford to limit themselves to the industrialized world's narrow interpretation of risk assessment. Likewise, they cannot afford to allow the Western debate to slow developing countries' access to already existing and expected future benefits of biotechnology."
April 9, 2000
"More Implant Injustice" - The Detroit News comments, "The federal government’s grab for a share of the settlement money in breast implant suits is unjust."
"No basis for liability" - The Boston Herald comments "A federal judge has dismissed a $33 million lawsuit by the families of victims seeking to hold the entertainment industry liable for the 1997 shootings in Paducah, Ky. Clearly, there is no causal relationship between a deranged gunman and the movies he watched or video games he played."
"Tempest in a wine glass " - The Boston Herald comments (April 8), "Oh for the days when wine bottles merely listed a vintage, instead of serving as battlefields in a health debate."
"No Deadline for Global Warming Pact" - " Disagreement between U.S. and European officials derailed efforts Saturday to set a deadline for ratifying a 1997 protocol to fight global warming." (AP)
"Let the brownfields bloom" - The New York Post comments, "Nobody is more skeptical than we are of schemes to return America to what amounts to a state of 'nature' -- whatever that means. But the reality is that existing law is such that redeveloping land that shows even modest signs of ever having been in contact with the Industrial Revolution is fraught with risk."
"Modified, organic foods get new federal scrutiny" - The Seattle Times comments, "Is organic lettuce worth the extra money, and is the corn chip made from pest-resistant grain a hazard? U.S. regulations are headed for more review and better consumer information, letting the buyer make informed choices."
"While world is in a warming trend, that's not the whole story" - Lee Bowman comments "Yet the science of global climate change continues to swim against the complexities of world-wide currents and regional eddies in oceans, forests, glaciers, volcanoes and clouds that are poorly understood." (Scripps Howard)
"Nike Sued Over Shoelace" - "A Manhattan orthopedic surgeon sued Nike Inc. on Wednesday for $10 million, saying shoes made by the athletic footwear giant tripped her and caused permanent injury." (AP)
"Some Like It Hot" - Arthur B. Robinson and Noah Robinson comment in The American Spectator, "Everyone knows by now that the Earth is ill. It must be because its temperature is reported to be rising. Well, it's not so simple. A warming trend began about 300 years ago, during the Little Ice Age, but this has nothing to do with human activity, or the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The 300-year trend and the fluctuations within it are closely correlated with solar activity."
"High-Tech Toxins" - "In fact, the high-tech industry is quite filthy. The computer chip manufacturing process involves hundreds of chemicals (many of which are known toxins), wastes massive amounts of water, and pollutes both water and air. Thanks to faxes and printed emails, our 'paperless' offices use more paper than ever. And the PCs and components we throw away fill up our landfills and add significant amounts of lead to the solid waste stream." (CNET.com)
"Scents and Senselessness" - Michael Fumento comments, "The Anti-Fragrance Movement has its nose out of joint -- and sweet-smelling Canada is leading the way."
April 7, 2000
"Consumer Union Cleared of Liability" - "A federal jury has cleared the publisher of Consumer Reports magazine of liability for reporting that 1995-96 Isuzu Troopers are dangerous. The jury did rule Thursday that eight of the 17 statements Isuzu questioned were false, and that in one of those inaccurate statements the magazine demonstrated ``reckless disregard'' for the truth. But the jury determined Consumer Reports did not believe, in the case of seven of those statements, that they were untrue before publishing them. It decided against awarding monetary damages to Isuzu, whose attorney told jurors the company suffered $244 million in lost sales and damage to its reputation after the issue was raised in 1996. Jury foreman Don Sylvia said eight of the panel's 10 jurors wanted to award Isuzu as much as $25 million, the Los Angeles Times reported today. 'We didn't do it because we couldn't find clear and convincing evidence that Consumers Union intentionally set out to trash the Trooper,' he said. Consumer Reports' publisher, Consumers Union, called the ruling a victory, saying the jury backed up its claims that the vehicle is basically unsafe and prone to tip over." (AP)
Leonardo DiCaprio: Another phony enviro - Leonardo DiCaprio will be the chairman of Earth Day 2000. But if he insists on being an eco-clown, his taste in cars will have to change. It seems that DiCaprio's current vehicle is a black Chevy Tahoe -- an eco-incorrect SUV.
"Cancer researchers hit tobacco industry campaign" - "U.S. researchers accused the tobacco industry of Friday of going to 'unprecedented' lengths to discredit the largest European study on passive smoking." (Reuters) | Report | UCSF media release | Editorial | BBC
A special thanks goes to Stan Glantz for getting The Lancet to acknowledge that the IARC study on secondhand smoke "was underpowered to detect reliably relative risks smaller than 1·3."
Still, The Lancet says, "Meanwhile, IARC should now add passive smoking to its respected monograph series on substance carcinogenicity."
And for the final insult, The Lancet warns, "All policymakers must be vigilant to the possibility of research data being manipulated by corporate bodies and of scientific colleagues being seduced by the material charms of industry. Trust is no defence against an aggressively deceptive corporate sector."
I guess it's okay to trust the agressively deceptive government sector?
"US judge says smoke-trial gag order must be lifted" - "A federal judge on Thursday ordered the trial judge in Florida's massive sick-smokers case to lift a gag border forbidding lawyers, witnesses and cigarette companies from talking to reporters." (Reuters) | AP
"Some lawmakers offer bill on FDA tobacco regulation" - "Bipartisan teams of lawmakers in both the House and Senate have offered legislation to grant the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products." (Reuters)
"Some Gulf War vets die waiting for VA to decide benefits" - "A new study to determine the rate of Lou Gehrig's disease among those who served in the conflict could open the door to automatic compensation. The announcement comes too late for Rob Booker, who tried for nearly two years to qualify for compensation, arguing the Lou Gehrig's disease ravaging his body was connected to his service in the Gulf." (CNN)
"EPA can limit pollution from farm, logging runoffs, judge rules" - "In the first ruling of its kind, a federal judge has upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to set limits on water pollution stemming from runoffs from farms and logging." (AP)
"American Academy of Pediatrics Says Evidence Confirms No Link Between Autism and Vaccines" - "In response to a U.S. House Government Reform Committee hearing today, the American Academy of Pediatrics wants to reassure parents that vaccines are the safest way to protect children against potentially devastating infectious diseases." (AAP media release) | Reuters
"Group sues to halt PCBs at Seattle port" - "The environmentalists say the EPA has no legal authority to make exceptions and the lawsuit would name the longshoremen, the EPA, the Defense Department and its contractors plus the port and shipping companies as defendants." (Reuters)
"Government warns of asbestos in lawn and garden products" - "Two federal regulatory agencies are investigating whether they should require warning labels or seek recalls after recent samples found asbestos in West Coast lawn and garden products." (AP)
April 6, 2000
"Study recommends tighter review, monitoring of biotech crops" - "The government should tighten its review and monitoring of genetically engineered crops to ensure that plants made toxic to pests won't prove harmful to human health or the environment, a panel of scientists said." (CNN) | NRC media release | NRC report | Washington Post | New York Times | MSNBC | AP | Reuters | BIO media release
"Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience" - "As Peter Staudenmaier shows in the first essay in this pamphlet, important tendencies in German 'ecologism,' which has long roots in nineteenth-century nature mysticism, fed into the rise of Nazism in the twentieth century. During the Third Reich, Staudenmaier goes on to show, Nazi 'ecologists' even made organic farming, vegetarianism, nature worship, and related themes into key elements not only in their ideology but in their governmental
policies. Moreover, Nazi 'ecological' ideology was used to justify the destruction of European Jewry. Yet some of the themes that Nazi ideologists articulated bear an uncomfortably close resemblance to themes familiar to ecologically concerned people today."
"Shark cancers cast more doubt on cartilage pills" - "Businesses that sell shark cartilage as a cancer cure or preventative have claimed for years that sharks never get cancer, but this week scientists from The Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University presented a detailed history of benign and malignant tumors found in sharks and related fishes." (Johns Hopkins University media release) | Reuters
"Florida smokers' attorney urges jury to send industry a message" - "A Florida jury that ruled against the tobacco industry last summer began deliberating Wednesday whether to pay $13.2 million in compensatory damages for three smokers with cancer." (AP) | Reuters
"Too sexy for this White House?" - Mark Steyn comments in The National Post about Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Day interview with President Clinton.
"Shalala Backs Tobacco Regulation" - "Taking a new tack, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala urged lawmakers to approve government regulation of tobacco because it's 'a political winner.' 'It's an election year. Are you for protecting kids or aren't you?' Shalala said in an interview Wednesday." (AP)
"Army surgeon general bans European beef" - "Military bases in Europe can no longer buy beef, lamb and goat meat of European origin. Army surgeon general made the March 8 decision to bring the military into compliance with U.S. civilian regulations, which restrict the importation of those meats because of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly called BSE or 'mad cow disease.'" (Army News Service)
"We attacked crop to protect nature, peer tells court " - "Lord Melchett, the executive director of Greenpeace, helped to destroy a field of genetically modified maize to prevent pollen from the crop polluting the countryside, a jury was told yesterday." (The Independent)
"Fertilizer-tainted runoff wrecking many U.S. coastal areas, report says " - "Fish and other marine life
are being killed and marshlands damaged in more than a third of U.S. coastal areas from algae blooms caused by the runoff of excess nutrients, the National Academy of Sciences says." (AP)
"Radon gas poses danger to cavers - magazine" - "Caving enthusiasts who spend as little as 40 hours a year exploring underground could be exposing themselves to health risks from the radioactive gas radon." (Reuters)
"Northeast senators want EPA to reject utils on smog" - "A group of U.S. senators from Northeast states on Wednesday asked Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol Browner to reject calls by the electric power industry to delay implementation of new rules for capping nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions." (Reuters)
"Study says US power emissions cuts would target coal" - "The use of electricity derived from coal could nosedive by 2020, replaced mainly by natural gas, according to a study released on Wednesday that looked at the implications of U.S. regulatory policies." (Reuters)
"US wants proof EU open to hormone-free beef" - "The United States is looking for proof that U.S. exporters can actually ship "hormone-free" beef to the European Union, a top U.S. trade official said on Wednesday. 'We want to see some meat move,'
Greg Frazier, the new special U.S. negotiator for agricultural trade, told reporters after a speech to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association." (Reuters)
"Fate of U.S. PCB shipment in limbo" - "Canada's refusal to accept a hazardous waste shipment from a U.S. military base in Japan on Wednesday left U.S. authorities scrambling to find at least a temporary home for the unwanted cargo now aboard a Chinese-owned ship." (Reuters)
"EU defers animal test ban for cosmetic ingredients" - "The European Commission said on Wednesday that trade concerns had forced it to defer legislation that would have banned the sale of cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals from July 1." (Reuters)
"French feed makers defend record amid BSE anger" - "French animal feed makers sought to defend themselves on Wednesday as farmers and consumers grew increasingly angry over the country's growing number of cases of mad cow disease." (Reuters)
"North Carolina sets cap to shield tobacco company assets" - "The North Carolina legislature in a one-day special session on Wednesday moved to shield shield tobacco company assets from a potentially financially crippling jury award in Florida class-action lawsuit." (Reuters)
"Olympic sponsors flouting 'green Games': Greenpeace" - "Two of the biggest Olympic sponsors have been accused of deliberately and unnecessarily flouting the environmental principles of Sydney's 'green Games'. Greenpeace campaigner Corin Millais says Coca Cola and McDonald's are opting for Games site refrigerators which contain HFCs, described as one of the most potent greenhouse gases." (ABC)
"Brown & Williamson Tobacco: Courts Continue to View Tobacco Class Actions As Inappropriate" - "Yesterday's decision by the state court of California is yet another demonstration that smoking and health lawsuits cannot be maintained as class actions. The court's decision continues the trend of no federal and most state courts refusing to certify a class action in a smoking and health case." (B&W media release)
"B&W CEO Responds to Minnesota Governor's Claim on Cigarette Advertising " - "We believe there are positive messages that can be effective in reducing youth smoking without resorting to vilifying tobacco companies and their
executives. While the latter approach may appeal to the grandstands, we know of no evidence that it helps to achieve the desired result of deterring kids from smoking." (Brown & Williamson media release) | Kick Ash Bash media release
"New Study Shows Tobacco Advertising Impacts Kids More Than Adults " - "As kids across America stand up to Big Tobacco on the fifth annual Kick Butts Day, the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS today released a new study showing that the tobacco industry continues to market in ways that impact kids more than adults despite the industry's promises to change its ways." (CTFK media release)
"Study finds closer tie for smoking, colon cancer" - "Smoking cigarettes appears more closely tied to colon cancer than previously known, U.S. government researchers said Tuesday as they announced new findings about the causes of colorectal and stomach cancer." (CNN)
"'Nurses at risk' from smoking patients" - "District nurses could be harmed by patients who smoke in their homes before or after visits, their conference was told." (BBC)
April 5, 2000
No evidence of danger from GM food, National Research Council says - A committee of the National Research Council reports it is not aware of any evidence suggesting foods on the market today are unsafe to eat as a result of genetic modification. And it said that no strict distinction exists between the health and environmental risks posed by plants genetically engineered through modern molecular techniques and those modified by
conventional breeding practices. Stay tuned for more info and links. Media release | Report
"Hactivists to attack biotech firms" - "The campaign begins April 1, when the protest group will give a sarcastic 'April Fool’s' award to a Web site named 'junkscience.com,' which describes itself as devoted to debunking 'faulty scientific data and analysis used to used
to further a special agenda.' The site generally runs counter to the Electrohippies’ views on issues such as genetically altered food." (MSNBC)
"New US biofood study tainted by industry ties-lawmakers" - "The National Academy of Sciences will issue a long-awaited report on Wednesday assessing U.S. regulation of genetically modified plants amid criticism from lawmakers that some of the authors are biased because of biotech industry ties." (Reuters)
"Estrogen Use Tied to Slight Rise in Heart Risk" - "Researchers have informed about 25,000 women taking part in a federal study of hormone replacement therapy that, far from protecting the heart as many researchers had assumed, the therapy may have put the women at a slightly higher risk of heart attacks and strokes." (NY Times)
This is big news. But where's the study? Or are the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post now considered to be medical journals?
"ABC News Rethinking Interview DiCaprio Had With Clinton" - "ABC News executives are rethinking a decision to show an interview of President Clinton conducted by the screen star Leonardo DiCaprio amid internal debate over whether it is appropriate in the first place for the news division to use an interview conducted by a celebrity... Segments from the 20-minute interview were to be shown during an ABC News special, "Planet Earth 2000," on global warming, which is scheduled for broadcast later this month in connection with the 30th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22. Mr. DiCaprio is chairman of the Earth Day 2000 celebration committee." (NY Times)
"Cancer fears grow after biggest hole discovered in ozone layer" - "A large hole has opened up in the ozone layer over the Arctic, which scientists believe will severely damage the natural shield protecting the northern hemisphere from cancercausing sunlight." (The Independent)
"EU phthalates ban 'may have been political'" - "[A member of the European Parliament] claimed today that the European Commission's move last year to ban the use of phthalate softeners in plastic children's toys may not have been entirely based on science as the Commission has claimed. Speaking during a debate on phthalates in the European Parliament's environment committee, UK Liberal Chris Davies said the December decision could have been designed at least in part to boost confidence in health and consumer commissioner David Byrne. Mr Davies said Mr Byrne was at that time perceived to be "on the hook" after a "humiliation" in the press over his handling of France's refusal to accept an EU decision that British beef was safe for consumers. 'It may appear to some that he was seen no longer to be weak and ineffective [after the phthalates ban],' he said to MEPs today. He added that the move had had "added emotional appeal" since it affected young children." (Ends Environment Daily, April 4)
After I pointed out Byrne's less-than-scientific approach in my recent Financial Times commentary, Byrne complained in a March 16 letter-to-the-editor that "I have made it abundantly clear that I will base my decisions on sound science. That is what I did in introducing a ban on children's toys containing phthalates. If Mr Milloy had taken the trouble to check, he would have discovered that this decision did follow the advice of the European Union's scientific committee, and not the exact opposite as erroneously stated by him. This decision was also endorsed unanimously by the member states. I trade in facts, not cynicism."
I responded in an (as yet) unpublished letter that Byrne was criticized by EU scientific committee members who felt he inaccurately suggested to the media the ban was based on the committee's scientific judgment about the health risks posed by phthalates. Committee Chairman James Bridges told the media there is no scientific basis for thinking phthalates in toys pose a serious threat to children's health. Bridges said committee members reached an understanding with Byrne not to oppose the decision to ban phthalates. This is politics, not science.
"Soya breast cancer link dismissed" - "There is no evidence to support fears that soya foods could lead to breast cancer, a study has concluded." (BBC)
"Phone radiation claims challenged" - "Claims that hands-free add-ons for mobile phones can increase the amount of radiation passing into users have been questioned by manufacturers." (BBC) | New Zealand Herald
"Rice code boosts GM prospects" - "US biotechnology firm Monsanto has announced it has built the first 'working draft' of the rice genome - the most complex plant decoded to date. " (BBC) | U. Washington media release | AP
"Harvard researchers link prostate cancer and dietary calcium" - "An excess of dietary calcium may increase the risk of prostate cancer, according to researchers at Harvard University." (CNN) | Reuters
"Study shows gene may boost smoking-related heart disease" - "A common gene appears to boost the risk of coronary heart disease among smokers, according to a new study of heart disease and heart attack patients in four U.S. communities." (UNC media release)
"Using new FDA regulations, Kellogg takes the lead in promoting heart-health benefits of folic acid" - "Kellogg Company announced today that it will be the nation's first leading food manufacturer to communicate on many of its adult targeted cereals that 'adequate intakes of folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12 may promote a healthy cardiovascular system.'" (Kellogg media release) | Reuters
"U.S. lawmaker seeks probe of breast implant firm" - "Rep. Tom Bliley, a Virginia Republican who chairs the House panel that oversees the FDA, asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether breast implant maker Mentor Corp. misled investors last month in a statement denying there was a criminal investigation into possible irregularities in a study of breast implants." (Reuters)
"Heart attack risk not seen with fen-phen- U.S. study" - "Dieters who took the since-recalled drug cocktail known as fen-phen raised their risk of developing a heart valve problem but were not at higher risk of suffering a heart attack, a study said on Tuesday." (Reuters) | Reuters Health
"EU Commission to propose European chemicals agency" - "Decisions on which chemicals can be sold in the European Union and which should be banned could be handed over to a centralised European chemicals agency, the EU's Environment Commissioner said on Tuesday." (Reuters)
"Final Love Canal-era building being demolished" - "Demolition began Tuesday of the final concrete reminder of one of the nation's worst dealings with hazardous waste." (AP)
"GAO says military needs to be better trained for exposure to uranium" - "Congressional investigators say the Pentagon should ensure better training for soldiers who may be exposed to depleted uranium, a toxin blamed by some for Gulf War ailments." (AP)
"Fetuses of smokers bathed in carcinogen " - "The new findings suggest -- but do not prove -- that the offspring of smokers may be at higher risk of cancer later in life, according to Dr. Aubrey Milunsky, a professor and director of The Center for Human Genetics at Boston University Medical Center and colleagues. Their findings are published in the April issue of the journal Prenatal Diagnosis." (Reuters Health)
"Life-saving air bags pack deadly chemical" - "Automobile air bags save lives -- possibly at the expense of human health and the environment, says a University of Arizona researcher. Eric Betterton, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the university, maintains that air bags utilize a deadly chemical. Betterton is concerned about the likelihood of toxic spills and spoke about the issue at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society." (CNN) | Fox News
"European Thermometer Record: 1751-2000" - "Europe is the only place on the earth with a relatively extensive historical thermometer-based temperature record. It extends back 250 years. Several years ago, Balling et al. examined European temperature records for 57
European stations. Some had temperature records of more than two and a half centuries duration. Those records revealed that Europe had in fact warmed during the period of industrialization. Oddly, however, all of the warming occurred between 1890 and 1950 and most of that during winter months. Furthermore, Balling et al. concluded that urban effects had inflated the warming signal from European cities." (Greening Earth Society)
April 4, 2000
"Warning issued about hands-free phone kits" - "Hands-free kits for phones, designed to protect the health of cell-phone users, can actually increase levels of radiation transmitted to the brain, Britain's Consumers' Association warned Monday." (AFP) | "British mobile retailers dispute radiation report" | The Independent | Guardian | The Times
Thi is bad news for Virgin Atlantic's Richard Branson.
"Florida Governor Backs Act Sapping Smoker Claims" - "Florida's governor said on Monday he would support prospective legislation shielding tobacco companies from crippling punitive damages in a massive sick-smokers' class-action case underway in Miami." (Reuters)
"Breast cancer researcher replies" - The Health Canada researcher who reported that secondhand smoke was associated with breast cancer responds to my commentary about his study. Note my response at the end of his letter. Another letter calls me a "a professional epidemic-denier" -- at least now I know how to describe myself.
"U.S. studies link charbroiled meat, breast cancer" - "Barbecue season is near, but you might think twice about firing up the grill after the release on Monday of new studies that say eating flame-broiled steak may raise the risk of developing breast cancer." (Reuters)
If this research were meat, it would be called "shamburger."
"Health scares force UK to go tough on food safety" - "Britain's new food agency set to work on Monday, hoping to convince sceptical shoppers that crops and animals are safe to eat after years of health scares." (Reuters)
"Bush outlines plan to salvage polluted industrial sites" - "Standing at the site of a former steel plant that was cleaned up, George W. Bush on Monday unveiled a six-plan to speed up redevelopment of polluted industrial sites and urged Americans to put a priority on preserving the environment." (AP) Reuters
"Regulation by Shaming" - "Forcing companies to disclose health and safety information can improve customer choices and industry practices -- but it can also distort perceptions of what should be changed." (The Atlantic)
"Biotech food fight hurts U.S. consumers - Glickman" - "U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman charged biotechnology opponents are resorting to 'guerrilla tactics and outlandish rhetoric,' and exploiting the public's limited knowledge about genetically modified organisms or GMOs." (Reuters)
"Bean gene keeps peas safe from weevils - study" - "A protein that beans use to give bugs fatal indigestion might be used to protect peas, Australian and U.S. researchers said on Monday." (Reuters)
"Mastectomy option for those at risk" - "WOMEN who carry faulty breast cancer genes may benefit from so-called prophylactic mastectomy, researchers reported Monday in San Francisco at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research." (MSNBC)
Check out Michael Fumento's "Preventative mastectomy: Happy acceptance of a horrific procedure."
"Pediatrics group urges removal of guns from homes" - "The American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday the best way to reduce firearms injuries to children and young adults is to remove guns from private homes and the community at large." (CNN)
"Most mattress devices don't stop crib death-study" - "Most crib mattress devices that claim to guard against sudden infant death syndrome by preventing a baby from re-inhaling exhaled carbon dioxide don't work, according to a study published on Monday." (Reuters)
"Herd destroyed after new BSE case in France" - "A herd of 33 cattle was destroyed in northern France after the discovery of the country's 13th case of mad cow disease this year, the French Agriculture Ministry said on Monday." (Reuters)
April 3, 2000
COMMENTARY of the day: "Acid Politics" - The Detroit News editorializes, "A recent General Accounting Office study of the futility of the last acid rain program should slow EPA’s grab for new regulatory power over Midwest utilities."
TODAY'S GORE-ING: "A climate change in Al Gore's principles" - Isabel Vincent comments in The National Post, "When I encountered Mr. Gore again just before the Florida primary recently, I suppose it was with some amusement that I realized that much of his environmental rhetoric is, well, rhetoric."
"Help the sick veterans" - The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorializes that sick Vietnam vets should be compensated regardless of whether Agent Orange can be scientifically linked to their illnesses.
"Writer's Slam Angers Real Erin Brockovich" - "The feel-good flick 'Erin Brockovich' is stirring up some bad karma following a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece aimed at debunking the film and discrediting the real-life Erin Brockovich." (New York Daily News)
Click for Michael Fumento's "'Erin Brockovich,' Exposed."
"From Shakespeare to Defoe: Malaria in England in the Little Ice Age" - Paul Reiter refutes that global warming will emerge from the tropics and become established in Europe and North America. (Emerging and Infectious Diseases)
"A Global Warming Sea Change" - The Los Angeles Times editorializes, "With the existence of global warming no longer in doubt, whatever the mix of causes, attention is shifting to what should be done right now, not to stop warming but to live with it."
"Smoking roulette: Jury chooses between competing irresponsibilities" - The Sacramento Bee comments, "Until Congress puts in place a regulatory system for tobacco that reduces the number of young people hooked on smoking and the future damage to public health, the roulette of the civil justice system will continue to deal these blows to the tobacco industry."
"GM to challenge US restrictions on diesel fuel" - "General Motors, the world's largest carmaker, is planning to challenge the long-standing US resistance to diesel fuel with a concerted lobbying campaign to persuade Washington to relax restrictions on diesel-powered vehicles." (Financial Times)
"Minister declares milk 'safe'" - "Agriculture Minister Nick Brown has dismissed research linking Britain's milk supplies to a disabling bowel disease." (BBC)
"Survey says Canadians worry about GM foods" - "A national group that lobbies against biotech foods says a new survey proves that Canadians distrust the technology." (CBC)
"Climate change 'will destroy populations of British shorebirds'" - "Populations of some of Britain's most attractive shorebirds will be decimated by climate change in their Arctic breeding grounds, according to a study released today. " (The Independent)
"Concerns rise as ecoterrorists expand aim" - "Biotech research and fur farms are the latest targets of fringe groups on the far left." (Christian Science Monitor)
"Group led by peer and vicar 'ruined GM crop'" - "Lord Melchett, the executive director of Greenpeace, led a dawn raid on a farm in Norfolk, causing £17,400 of damage to a genetically modified crop and disrupting a research programme, a court was told yesterday." (The Independent) | Guardian | The Times
"Easter target for GE inquiry" - "Prime Minister Helen Clark is moving to have details of the royal commission of inquiry into genetic engineering tied up before Easter." (New Zealand Herald
April 2, 2000
"EPA blows smoke" - The Washington Times editorializes, "According to a just-released report issued by the Commerce Committee and Republican Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, EPA has been scrambling to cover-up its flawed diesel emissions testing protocol since 1991. "Asleep at the Wheel: The Environmental Protection Agency's Failure to Enforce Pollution Standards for Heavy-Duty Diesel Trucks" alleges that EPA did nothing to address concerns that diesel engine manufacturers had figured out a way to cheat the emissions tests used by EPA to limit public exposure to the particulate (soot) emissions created by diesel engines."
"In Battle Over Asbestos Bill, Money Is a Major Force" - "Trial lawyers--flush with money from tobacco, asbestos and other settlements--have begun pouring money into the presidential and congressional races this year to head off a business-backed drive to limit lawsuits. The asbestos battle could be a harbinger of more to come if Texas Gov. George W. Bush, a strong proponent of tort reform, is elected president." (Washington Post)
"Government by Lawsuit..." - About the Clinton Administration's penchant for filing lawsuits against politically unpopular industries, The Washington Post editorializes, "Filing lawsuits is generally speaking a bad way to make policy [-- except for tobacco and gun control]."
"The trial lawyers' payday" - The New York Post editorializes, "What does diabetes have to do with Election 2000? If you’re a trial lawyer, maybe everything."
"Bacteria survives milk processing" - "A bacteria suspected of causing or contributing to Crohn's disease has been found in pasteurised milk samples. The direct link between the disabling gut condition and the paratuberculosis bacterium has yet to be proven." (BBC)
"Genetically engineered rice the key to Asia's food security: experts" - "Asia may well have to resort to genetic engineering to boost rice yields and feed its impoverished millions, scientists say amid a raging debate over so-called 'Frankenstein" foods.' (AFP)
"EPA: Asbestos contained in some garden products" - "Consumers should treat all garden products containing vermiculite as though they are contaminated with asbestos and take appropriate precautions when handling them, the Environmental Protection Agency warned Friday." (Austin American Statesman)
"Spanish smokers to sue tobacco industry -- paper" - "Lawyers representing 2,000 victims of cancer of the larynx are preparing to file the first collective lawsuit against the Spanish tobacco industry, the newspaper El Pais reported on Sunday." (Reuters)
April 1, 2000
"Justice Dept. sues to recover health spending on breast implants" - "The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Friday to recover millions of dollars spent through federal health care plans to treat silicone breast implant injuries. The government asked that the money come out of a settlement fund for the thousands of women who were victims." (AP)
"U.S. farmers loosen embrace of biocrops" - "An Agriculture Department report said on Friday sowings of gene-spliced corn, soybeans and cotton would be down by several percentage points." (Reuters) AP | New York Times
"Earth Day is Lenin's Birthday: Coincidence or Communism?" - Alan Caruba comments, "One of the most curious coincidences each year is the fact that Earth Day, April 22nd, is also the birthday of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the founder of Soviet-style Communism." (Conservative News Service)
"Study finds 'green' product labelling misleading" - "Consumers are being confused and misled by the hodge-podge of environmental claims made by household products, according to a 'green labelling' study published by Consumers International on Friday."
That's why we filed this Federal Trade Commission complaint against Ben & Jerry's.
"Robert Kennedy's Bahamas visit raises environmental stir" - "Environmentalist and U.S. political scion Robert F. Kennedy Jr. planned to fly to the Bahamas on Friday despite a politician's call to bar his admission because he lobbied against developing an historic site." (Reuters)
It's a good thing for Kennedy the Bahamas doesn't make visitors pass intelligence tests before being allowed to enter. Kennedy said of Al Gore last October, "He's our last best chance to save the planet."
"Agribusiness must counter green group lobbying-grain group" - "U.S. grain companies should launch a grassroots lobbying campaign in Washington to counter environmentalist and consumer groups' efforts to block river transportation improvements and free trade with China, a top official of the National Grain and Feed Association said on Friday." (Reuters)
"You say GM tomato, I say biotech tomato" - "U.S. agribusiness must choose its words carefully when stepping into the fray over biofoods." (Reuters)
"North Carolina joins states protecting the tobacco industry" - "The nation's top tobacco-producing state, North Carolina, is joining three other states trying to shield the tobacco industry from bankruptcy that many fear could occur with a possible $300 billion verdict in Florida." (AP)