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Hot Topics - Pesticides

Consumer Reports ® says, "We analyzed pesticide levels in 27,000 fruit and vegtable samples. Many are too high." [From "How safe is our produce?", March 1999].

"Testing Consumer Reports" - Brill's Content reports (Sep. 99), "Consider the magazine's recent article about pesticides, which cautioned about the potential dangers posed to children eating produce... But the story didn't mention that the analysis was conducted in part with funds from three foundations, all of which support the reduction of pesticide use. Those foundations gave Consumers Union a total of $370,000 in grants for pesticide research in the last two years."

"High Standards -- or Double Standards at Consumer Reports?" - The American Council on Science and Health asks Consumer Reports, "Was it funding from the NRDC that caused you to publish a cover story in l989 featuring the image of a wicked witch offering poison apples? What role did NRDC funding play in your most recent non­peer-reviewed 'toxicity index'?"

"Deformed frogs, another environmental false alarm" - Dennis Avery writes in the Las Vegas Review-Journal (May 11), "The Natural Resources Defense Council, World Wildlife Fund, Consumers Union (the publisher of Consumer Reports) and other eco-groups have resigned from President Clinton's food safety advisory panel because they can't produce enough proof of risk for even this green-oriented administration to ban big groupings of man-made pesticides."

"Scare tactics on pesticide" - Dennis Avery writes in the (Mar 17), "Scaring people about pesticides means scaring them away from eating fruits and vegetables. That presents an ethical dilemma, because health experts know that eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day can cut your cancer risk in half. That's according to a review by experts at the National Institutes of Health and the University of California at Berkeley. That's why it was tragic to see a once-proud American magazine, Consumer Reports, carry a scare story about pesticides on fruits and vegetables in its March issue... Consumer Reports pointedly failed to note the major report by the U.S. National Research Council in 1996, which found no appreciable risk from pesticide residues."

"Fear of fruit" - Michael Fumento writes in the Wall Street Journal (Feb. 26), "Ten years ago, '60 Minutes' aired a scientifically unfounded report that set off a scare over the pesticide Alar, used on apples. Now one of the supporting players in that frightfest, Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, has decided it's time for a sequel."

"Eat Apples - Give Up Junk Food and Junk Science" - Carl K. Winter writes in the San Francisco Chronicle (Mar 3), "Last month, Consumers Union (the folks who this month also report on 27-inch television, mutuals funds and dishwashers in their magazine, Consumer Reports) released a report warning consumers of the perils of consuming many fruits and vegetables that frequently contained "unsafe" levels of pesticide residues. This was especially true for children, they claimed. Like its predecessor 10 years earlier, the Consumers Union report received no legitimate scientific peer review and the public's first exposure to it was through news coverage."

"The Risky Nature of Organics" - Investor's Business Daily reports (Mar. 3), "In a report titled 'Do You Know What You're Eating,' Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, suggested that people should buy organically grown foods because they 'have substantially lower pesticide toxicity loading than conventionally grown counterparts.'... But some prominent food scientists and analysts are now saying that organic food is actually riskier than food grown with chemicals because of the way it is fertilized."

"Consumers Union/Consumer Reports 'Study' on Pesticides" - "This is nonsense," countered Bruce Ames, professor of biochemistry at the University of California in Berkeley. Focusing on "minuscule" levels of pesticide residues, he said, "is a distraction from something far more important -- feeding kids fruits and vegetables that prevent cancer and other diseases."

"Consumer's Union pesticide alarm is bogus: Study confuses safety and regulation" - Junkscience.com reports (Feb. 20), "They're at it again -- timed perfectly for the 10th anniversary of the alar scare. And like that scare, this one is rotten to the core, too. Consumer's Union has a new report claiming that children are exposed to unsafe levels of pesticides. The study is flawed because its safety determinations were based on measurements that have little, if anything, to do with safety."

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