"The 1998 'Nanny of the Year' Awards" (12/31/98) From the Guest Choice Network.
"The Year That Was 1998" (12/31/98) A summary of 1998 by the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
Repeal the law requiring the EPA's endocrine disrupter screening program (12/31/98) EPA's proposed program for screening chemicals for their potential to disrupt hormone systems has been published. It is based on the work of the Endocrine Disrupter Screening and Testing Advisory Committee (EDSTAC) which submitted its final report to EPA on September 1, 1998. There is a 60 day comment period, which will close on February 26, 1999. Scientific peer review of the EPA proposal is scheduled for March 30-April 1, 1999 in Washington D.C. This program is required by the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996. Congress was propelled to passing this legislation in large part by the infamous Tulane-PCB study claiming that combinations of chemicals were up to 1,600 more potent as endocrine disrupters than the individual chemicals. Because no other laboratory could reproduce the study's claims, the study was retracted from publication in July 1997. But the law remains and has spawned this pointless EPA program. Tell your representatives in Congress that the endocrine disrupter screening provision of the FQPA should be repealed as it has no basis in science.
"The EPA's bad orange" (12/31/98) Henry Miller writes in the Washington Times: "The EPA's treatment of the frost-protection organism is a microcosm of how errant, irresponsible regulators wreak misery on average Americans. The pity is that they are seldom held accountable."
"Global warming: The real agenda" (12/31/98) Terence Corcoran writes in the Financial Post: "What is the most important problem facing Canada? When the annual Maclean's/CBC year-end poll asked that question, there was at least one clear answer: Not the environment; in fact, anything but the environment."
"Chefs in a stew over modified food" (12/30/98) The Independent (U.K.) reports that U.K. chefs want a ban on "Frankenfoods."
Breast implants cause amnesia in Sybil Niden Goldrich? (12/30/98) In this letter to the editor of The Morning Call (Allentown, PA), silicone breast implant activist Sybil Niden Goldrich writes "Until the scientific debate is truly resolved, implants must be treated as a hazardous product." Sybil must have forgotten her quote from the PBS show Frontline (February 27, 1996): "The science? The devil with science. It doesn't matter any more."
Secondhand smoke and breast cancer (12/30/98) Boston University's Ann Aschengrau must have pictures of journal editors in compromising positions with farm animals. How else can you explain her studies seeing the light of day?
"Monsanto should halt genetic engineering" (12/30/98) So says a member of the Missouri Green Party in this St. Louis Post-Dispatch op-ed. The funny thing is that Monsanto is just goofy enough to consider such a proposal.
"Davis Names Ex-Brown Aide to Run EPA" (12/30/98) Alas, U.S. EPA's Lynn Goldman was not the choice of California Governor-elect Gray Davis for head of Cal-EPA. Instead, Gray picked a former staffer of former Governor Moonbeam.
"Pollution may prevent dredging" (12/30/98) Sometimes irrational fear is for the best. Here, chemophobia is making Louisiana DEQ officials think twice about dredging the Capitol Lakes.
"Groundless fears; It's time for San Diego to fluoridate water" (12/30/98) The San Diego Union-Tribune editorializes that "During the crazier days of the 1950s, some fanatics even suggested fluoridation was an insidious Communist plot to drug unsuspecting Americans into submission."
New England ski resorts blame global warming for slow start (12/30/98) Little snowfall and unseasonably warm temperatures cause Blue Hills ski operator Stanley Beers to remark "It don't get much worse. I've never believed too much in that global warming thing, but I'm starting to believe in it now." Oy ve! [Source: Associated Press, 12/29.]
"School district considering ban on milk hormone" (12/30/98) "BST has been approved by virtually all major health organizations, but many people remain suspicious of the substance and fear it could have some unintended health consequence."
"Cooked science, not bureaucratic bungling is newsworthy" (12/29/98) Here's my letter-to-the-editor submitted to the Wall Street Journal about this article.
"North Carolina Sues EPA Over Emission Rules" (12/29/98) North Carolina doesn't think it should have to pay for the Northeast's self-inflicted smog problem.
Dick Morris wants to advise Gore on global warming (12/29/98) Richard Reevse of the Universal Press Syndicate writes in the News and Observer (Raleigh, NC, 12/28): "I grew very concerned about the future of the country the other day when I bumped into ... Dick Morris. He is trying to expand his constituency, which has been the dark side of sunny Bill Clinton, to include other men who would be king, beginning with Vice President Al Gore. 'I've got some great ideas for Gore,' Morris told me. 'I think there is something going on the the environment and global-warming and all that. There have been just enough incidents of crazy weather around the world to make people think maybe the environmental nuts and tree-huggers are right. I'm going to check it out with a poll and show Gore the numbers.' Oh, great! More Morris numbers are just what Al Gore and the nation need right now."
"Deadly by design without recourse" (12/29/98) Eric Peters writes in the Washington Times: "I believe in safety, but I don't believe in air bags - for the simple reason that no other safety device I know of has been proven beyond any doubt to be lethal in certain circumstances."
"Sky isn't falling" (12/29/98) Dave Reynolds sets Indianapolis Star readers straight on global warming.
"Chemical dangers transcend borders: Endocrine Disrupters Seen As Possible Threat To Human Existence" (12/28/98) The Japanese love Janet Reno and hormone hysteria. So maybe there is something to "gender benders?"
"Defending a brief reference to Hurricane Mitch" (12/28/98) U.S. AID administrator J. Brian Atwood gets defensive over a quote first spotlighted here on November 6, 1998.
"Despite December's chill, the heat is on" (12/28/98) Christmas Day cheer from the Buffalo News. You can fax your thoughts to the News at 716-856-5150.
"Great Scientists Are the Ones Who Ask the Best Questions" (12/28/98) "Comparing Bohr to a prototypal present-day Nobel laureate, Weisskopf remarked that Bohr was a better scientist. The present-day physicist, he said, is brilliant. He has an answer for everything. But Bohr was the true genius, he said. 'He had a question for everything.'"
"Fresh Air for Global Warming" (12/28/98) Sen. John Chafee (R-R.I.) (or is it really "D-R.I.") introduced new legislation that, according to Los Angeles Times' editors, "...would enable the United States to implement a key provision of the Kyoto agreement by assuring companies that if they get an early start on reducing emissions they won't be penalized later with demands for even more drastic reductions." The Times calls this "encouragement." I guess they couldn't spell "threat?"
"It's Earth Day, but..." (12/28/98) From Greenwire's "Best of 1998" (12/23): "The Washington Times reports that Pres. Clinton arrived in Harper's ferry, WV to celebrate Earth Day 'on one of eight exhaust-belching Marine Corps helicopters' and that a police car in the president's motorcade struck and killed a groundhog."
Wanted: EPA's "Cancer risk from outdoor exposure to air toxics," (EPA-450/1-90/004f) (12/28/98) The Junkman will pay a bounty (e.g., a free selection from the Junk Science Book Store to whomever comes up with this 1990 EPA document. The document contains the analysis for the EPA's estimate that chemicals in the air ("air toxics") cause up to 3,000 cancer deaths each year -- a factoid bootstrapping this Wall Street Journal article.
"Which boob is a greater threat to society?" (12/28/98) A Henry Payne cartoon from today's Washington Times.
"Global warming -- Real scientists look at the data" (12/28/98) From a letter to the Seattle Times.
"G-g-global warming" (12/28/98) The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorializes (12/23): "If this is what global warming does to the weather in Arkansas, what would real cold be like? Buck up. Once the sun comes out, they say it'll get up to freezing."
"Clinton Seeks National Drunken-Driving Standard" (12/27/98) Pointing to a new study claiming that, in 1996, more than 46 million Americans drank or took drugs within two hours of driving, President Clinton urges a federal drunk driving standard of 0.08. But exactly what is the link between Clinton's factoid and the 0.08 standard? What does drug use have to do with blood alcohol level? One or two drinks won't get the average person to 0.08. And there's no evidence that a 0.08 blood alcohol level is a significant cause of accidents. Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe it all depends on what the meaning of "is" is?
"Logic Goes Extinct as Planet Warms " (12/27/98) Pat Michaels writes "Even yellow journalists know it's a good idea to use the refereed scientific literature as the basis for science stories, so it was disconcerting to see a bona fide green journalist like the Washington Post's Joby Warrick give a great deal of ink to a nonrefereed speech - not even a paper - delivered in San Francisco by federal climatologist Jonathan Overpeck."
Cigarette tax funds endocrine disrupter research (12/26/98) Money from the Cigarette and Tobacco Surtax Fund of California, administered through the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program of California, partially funded a study on maternal pesticide exposure and birth defects. The study is in the January issue of Epidemiology. Putting aside the study's inability to report an association between pesticides and birth defects, what does this topic have to do with "tobacco-related disease?"
"Auditor jumped gun on MTBE risk, official says" (12/26/98) California's chief drinking water watchdog says "They jumped to a conclusion that [MTBE is] a carcinogen."
"Group seeks study of health effects of depleted uranium" (12/26/98) Junk science synergy: Anti-nuclear activism plus Gulf War Syndrome equals excess cancer in New Mexico?
"The Green Movement Is Getting Religion" (12/26/98) From the Los Angeles Times: "As more of the faithful embrace the protection of God's creations as a sacred cause, they are reshaping the once-secular face of environmentalism."
Merry Christmas! (12/25/98) Hoping your holidays are filled with happiness.
"Motorist unfriendly emissions test scam" (12/25/98) "Emissions testing is just another clever ploy to separate you from your money."
"Silencing Science, Hollywood Style" (12/24/98) A version of this op-ed appears in today's Investor's Business Daily.
Note to lead activists: 'Get a life!' (12/24/98) A study in the Archives of Environmental Health (November/December 1998) re-confirms that activist concern over lead in the environment is much ado about nothing. Researchers examined 226 randomly selected children from a lead-mining area and reported the average blood lead level in the children was 6.52 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dl), significantly below the current CDC level of concern of 10 µg/dl. Only two children had blood lead levels over 20 µg/dl. When I was a lad in the 1960s, the blood lead level of concern was 60 µg/dl. Since then, lead activists have been forcing the blood lead standard lower and lower despite a sound scientific basis for doing so. In a related programming note, Fox News whacked the EPA last night with its report on the overzealous Superfund program in Leadville, Colorado. Be sure and watch the remaining two nights of this four-part series, 7:00 p.m. on Fox's cable news channel.
"Fish story" (12/24/98) "Holy Mackerel! After years of concern over the possible toxic effects of consuming mercury-tainted fish, a Rochtester team has shown that it is still OK to chow down on those tempting fruits of the sea that we always used to think were so good for us.
"Study Gives High School Textbooks Low Marks for Environmental Health Chapter" (12/24/98) "America's high school health textbooks fail to convey sound, accurate, and balanced information about environmental health issues. So says a study published in the November/December issue of the Journal of Health Education. The study was conducted by the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), a New York-based public health advocacy group."
Does NTP stand for 'Not Too Probative?' (12/24/98) The National Toxicology Program is one mechanism the federal government uses to classify chemicals for their potential to cause cancer. NTP evaluations rely mostly on bioassays -- i.e, up to 2-year experiments involving laboratory animals fed massive doses of chemicals. A study in the January issue of Environmental Health Perspectives estimates that 85 percent of the chemicals tested in long-term bioassays were either carcinogenic or anti-carcinogenic at some site in some sex-species group. The authors conclude that "This suggests that most chemicals given at high enough doses will cause some sort of perturbation in tumor rates." Does this mean that basing public policy on poisoned animals isn't such a good idea after all?
"Global warming trends have yet to be proven" (12/23/98) "We are modifying our atmosphere, but the long-term effect is purely up to conjecture."
"Cloudy Predictions" (12/23/98) "Yet while Gore hotly proclaims tropical storms prove pollution is warming up the planet, cooler heads are taking a look at issues that cast serious doubt on greenhouse theory."
JAMA gun study backfires (12/23/98) A shameful new low for the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"Naysayers seek pollution paralysis" (12/23/98) The anti-chemical crowd foams at the mouth over this Michelle Malkin column in the Seattle Times. Tell the Times' editors that Malkin wins this duel. Mindless anti-chemical hysteria remains poor rationale.
"Hollywood vs. the Truth" (12/23/98) The Manhattan Institute's Walter Olson reviews Disney's new movie "A Civil Action" in the Wall Street Journal. Watch for my review that's scheduled for tomorrow's Investor's Business Daily.
The Fox Report devastates EPA science in first of 4-part series (12/22/98) The Fox News Network is running a four-part series on EPA science. The first part ran tonight (Tuesday) and was excellent in describing an agency out of control. The series will air each evening at 7:00 p.m. through December 25, 1998. If your local cable operator carries the Fox News Network, don't miss this series!
A PCB-dioxin 'So what?' (12/22/98) A study in the January issue of Environmental Health Perspectives reports that "After weaning, dairy products, processed foods, and meat are major contributors of PCB and dioxin accumulation until reproductive age." This is no big surprise since, to the extent PCBs and dioxins accumulate in tissue, they mostly accumulate in fat. This is also NO BIG DEAL since no health effects are associated with such accumulation.
Test tube titillation: Endocrine disrupter hacks back from the drawing board (12/22/98) A study in the January issue of Environmental Health Perspectives claims a new in vitro -- i.e., test tube -- test "provides a new supplementary method for estimating xenoestrogenicity" -- i.e., endocrine disrupter potential. In this case the test involves exposing liver cells of Atlantic salmon to target chemicals and measuring changes in certain protein production. What's the implication? The endocrine disrupter theory is coming apart at the seams based on tests in vivo -- i.e., in living things. So endocrine disrupter pushers are abandoning in vivo tests, in favor of test tube titillation. They might want to be careful, though. The last endocrine disrupter TTT was the 1996 Tulane-PCB study that was so bad no laboratory in the world could reproduce its claims. Eventually, the study was retracted (embarrasingly) from the pages of Science.
"The Week That Was December 14-20, 1998" (12/22/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
Browner honored for EPA "Common Sense" program (12/22/98) Greenwire reports that Al Gore on December 17 presented EPA administrator Carol Browner with his "Hammer" award for bringing "common sense" reform to environmental regulation. Enough said.
"Nuclear power good for environment" (12/22/98) This St. Louis Post-Dispatch op-ed tries to justify nuclear power with junk science -- citing global warming and that "tens of thousands of Americans a year are dying prematurely from air pollution." Yeesh! Nuclear power is a safe and efficient means of producing electricity. That should speak for itself. Tell the Post-Dispatch that junk science doesn't make nuclear power more attractive.
"Global warming is no joke -- It demands serious attention" (12/22/98) No joke? I don't know about that. This Buffalo News op-ed says "In late 1995, a distinguished international panel of 2,000 scientists concluded that global warming was not only likely but that it had probably already begun." That's pretty funny since the United Nations' report in question said there was no proof that humans were influencing climate. The op-ed must be referring to the report's executive summary that was written in the elventh hour by a cabal of global warming activists and never reviewed by the 2,000 scientists. There's more on this story in Silencing Science. For more on global warming check out Fred Singer's book Hot Talk, Cold Science.
National Anxiety Center (12/21/98) Check out the home page of my friend Alan Caruba -- home of the annual "Chicken Little Awards."
"New data law sets off alarms" (12/21/98) The new law sets off alarms because it is a major step toward reducing the problem of junk science.
"Beware of reports bearing data" (12/21/98) David Hanson reports in Chemical and Engineering News: "Today, a lot of [government collected data] can be had from the Internet with just a few mouse clicks. Many organizations take advantrage of this by pulling out selected information and republishing it as an "analysis."
"BGH fracas erupts again in U.S., Canada" (12/21/98) "The Center for Food Safety... last week filed a citizens petition with the Food and Drug Administration calling for a reversal of the agency's 199 approval of Posilac, Monsanto's bovine growth hormone (BGH) product."
"DOE will pay critics to review cleanup plans" (12/21/98) A follow-up of last week's news of environmental payola.
"Meeting takes modest steps to protect ozone" (12/21/98) The bottom line of the ozone depletion debate is that the only acceptable refrigerant to the enviros is ice.
"Evidence mounts that pollution hurts reproduction" (12/21/98) Japanese junk scientists claim endocrine disrupters have caused smaller testes. Clearly, though, chemicals have not affected the size of their testicles.
"$600,000 spent on cleanup of non-hazardous site" (12/21/98) Though this $600,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the more than $50 billion spent in the Superfund program since the early 1980s, it's a perfect example of what the program is all about.
"Toy Story" (12/21/98) Michael Gough, my co-author on Silencing Science, is featured in this Wall Street Journal editorial.
"Past Patterns Suggest a Future 'Megadrought'" (12/21/98) I don't know about you, but during this time of the year, I'm more interested in the punch bowl than the Dust Bowl.
"FDA Panel Urges Blood Donor Curbs Due to Mad Cow Disease" (12/20/98) Despite a thin case for transmission of "mad cow" disease from cattle to humans, this FDA panel sounds the alram over an even thinner case for transmission by blood.
"Longer life isn't worth a tofu diet" (12/19/98) This letter-to-the-editor of the Roanoke Times says "Vegetarians die, too, of something, along with us meat eaters... even if one got a few more months in a nursing home from a lifetime of tofu and beans, that quality of life would hardly be desirable."
"State Slow to React to Threat Posed by MTBE, Report Says" (12/19/98) What threat? Don't the Los Angeles Times' editors and writers read their own newspaper?
"Sweetener Is Safe, Government Panel Says" (12/19/98) From the New York Times: "A Government advisory group has voted to give a clean bill of health to the artificial sweetener saccharin, which, despite its pink-packeted presence on restaurant tables everywhere, has been classified since 1981 as a suspected cause of cancer."
"EPA sees no early cleanup of PCBs" (12/19/98) This AP report states "The EPA started looking into taking quick action in July, when its scientists reported that much of the PCBs, which were believed to be harmlessly imbedded in the river sediments were gone, and floating down the Hudson River system." Actually, the EPA took action in July when EPA administrator Carol Browner realized it was an election year and she could attack Republican Gov. George Pataki on environmental issues.
Effort to re-energize EMF hysteria faltering (12/18/98) Louis Slesin, editor of Microwave News, reports bad news for the EMF industry.
EPA on new WMO report: "1998 Global Temperature Smashes Record" (12/18/98) "Smashes?" Is that appropriate language from a government agency? The WMO report says that 1998 is the hottest year since 1860. Why was it so "hot" in 1860? It certainly couldn't have been due to industrialization -- a phenomenon hardly 30 years old at the time. It must have been natural variability.
"The Health Impact of Chemical Exposures During the Gulf War" (12/18/98) CDC, NIH and ATSDR are putting on a "research planning conference" on Gulf War Syndrome. It's amazing that one part of the Executive branch (CDC, NIH and ATSDR) doesn't seem to trust the scientific research of another (Department of Defense).
"Disney pollutes" (12/18/98) Michael Fumento writes in Forbes: "Opening soon at a theater near you, courtesy of the Walt Disney Co.: another movie stereotyping business as dangerous to your health."
Does the Ornish lifestyle-change program improve heart health? (12/18/98) You decide. Click here for the AP story. Click here for the comments of Nutrition News Focus.
"A Silicone Meltdown" (12/18/98) Michael Fumento writes in Investor's Business Daily: "Pity the poor trial lawyers. Their golden goose - or more accurately, their silicone goose - is dying. The bad news just keeps coming."
"Globe's average temperature this year highest since records kept in 1860" (12/17/98) Even if true, somehow, this still doesn't mean humans are changing the climate.
"Sweets in moderation may be good for you" (12/17/98) From the BMJ:"There is a widespread belief that anything which tastes good must be bad for you. However, ... Lee and Paffenbarger point out that people have been consuming candy for many centuries. They followed a cohort of Harvard alumni for five years and found that those who ate candy were likely to live significantly longer than non-consumers, after correcting for other health risks. Mortality was lowest in those who consumed candy 1-3 times a month and rose in more frequent consumers. The authors could not differentiate between sugar confectionery and chocolate in this study, and propose the antioxidant properties of chocolate as a plausible explanation for the effect."
"It's all right to get up late" (12/17/98) From the BMJ: "All now agree that advice given by doctors about lifestyle should be evidence based. But what about non-professional sources of information that patients use to decide how to lead their lives? ... Gale and Martyn describe an attempt to validate Benjamin Franklin's famous maxim 'early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise' in a nationally representative cohort of elderly people. They found no evidence that a lark-like way of life conferred any advantage in terms of longevity, material circumstances, or cognitive function. People whose inclination is to go to bed late and get up late may feel reassured."
"Socioeconomic status affects the health of pets" (12/17/98) From the BMJ: "The relations between socioeconomic status and health in humans has been studied extensively, but the effect on pets has not previously been considered. ... Moloo et al present data taken from a cross-sectional survey of students in the United States. After controlling for race, they found a significant association between lower socioeconomic status and reported death of a pet. Factors which affect human health, such as access to services and nutrition, might affect the health of pets, but the authors propose that pets' health related behaviours may also be influenced by the social status of their owners."
"The need for political correctness in scientific writing" (12/17/98) From the BMJ: "Sacred cows: to the abattoir!"
"Lawyers, Guns, and Money: The Public Health War Against Gun Owners" (12/17/98) Dr. Tim Wheeler writes in the San Diego Union-Tribue "Has medical science come to this? The New England Journal of Medicine has published an opinion poll, of all things, and held it up as proof that Americans really don't trust themselves around guns."
"Bones of crocodile-like beasts tell tale of Arctic warming" (12/17/98) Can 90 million year-old crocodile bones really support the theory of manmade global warming?
Indoor pool scare: "Lifeguard lung" (12/17/98) "Dr. Rose believes 'Lifeguard Lung' is not an isolated problem. 'With the growth in the leisure pool industry worldwide and the use of water spray features in indoor pools,' new cases of this lung disease are likely to occur, Dr. Rose writes in the article."
"Rain forest fails to absorb excess carbon during El Nino" (12/17/98) The premise of this AP story is that the rain forest acts as the "lungs" of the planet. According to Philip Stott, a professor of biogeography at the University of London, the "lungs" analogy is wrong. Stott says "Most tropical forests use up more oxygen than they give out because of the strong decomposition systems in the heat and humidity. And for carbon storage, you need young, vigorously growing forest!" Check out Philip Stott's Tropical Ecology Page.
"Researchers in South Korea say they have created a cloned human embryo that was a genetic replica of a 30-year-old woman" (12/17/98) But the announcement was not accompanied by any scientific evidence.
"Davis Picks Environmentalist" (12/17/98) USEPA official Mary Nichols will serve as resources secretary.
"Story did little to dispel myths about Agent Orange" (12/16/98) Maj. Jack Spey, President of Ranch Hand Vietnam Association, comments on a recent San Diego Union Tribune article on Agent Orange.
"Implanting needed science" (12/16/98) The Cleveland Plain Dealer points out that "The FDA's new top administrator, Dr. Jane Henney, was co-chairwoman of the task force on breast implants that six years ago fueled near-panic among women who had had implants and women who were contemplating them."
"A Catalytic Con Job" (12/16/98) "Everyone wants clean air, but government shouldn't have to lie to the public or overstate problems in pursuit of it. So why is the Environmental Protection Agency lying about cars and global warming?"
"Possible Breast Carcinogen Found In Human Milk" (12/16/98) A classic new scare. No science. Just innuendo.
"Biotech Scare Is Industry's Fault" (12/16/98) Henry Miller writes in the Wall Street Journal "Environmental Jeremiahs have long predicted that the biotechnology industry would create something it couldn't control. Now it seems they were right. Was it the tomato that trampled Topeka? No, something worse: negative public opinion." The article's discussion of the EPA policy to regulate certain garden and crop plants as pesticides is featured in Silencing Science.
"Ending Environmental Injustice" (12/16/98) "Environmental and civil-rights bureaucrats have long plagued businesses. The offspring of their unholy marriage - "environmental justice" - is even worse. But the mischief-making days of this young miscreant may be numbered."
"Plains could be in for droughts worse than Dust Bowl" (12/15/98) I've been waiting for the sequel to the "Grapes of Wrath" anyhow.
NASA uses satellite to instruct urban planners on tree planting (12/15/98) Wouldn't thermometers and landscape architects be cheaper?
"University tobacco boycott looms" (12/15/98) Shameless plug time: This topic is addressed in Silencing Science. Have you ordered your copy yet?
"Mitch, That Sun of a Gun" (12/15/98) "The Clinton administration has developed a nasty habit of using personal tragedy to further its global warming agenda. From the snowmelt-caused Red River flood last year, to Florida's fires this summer (which blazed because there was too much vegetation), to Hurricane Mitch, if there's any possible way to conflate human suffering with global warming, the administration will do so."
Global warming: "No matter if the science is all phoney, there are collateral environmental benefits." (12/15/98) Those are the words of the Canadian environment minister, Christine Stewart.
"Misleading headline" (12/15/98) My letter to the Bangor Daily News about the recent dieldrin-breast cancer study.
"Amoco hit with new lawsuit by tumor victims" (12/15/98) "It's not clear still if there is a work relationship. It could still end up being something they can't pin any cause on."
"MTBE Leaks A Ticking Bomb: Gas additive taints water nationwide" (12/15/98) Contrast this San Francisco Chronicle article with this Los Angeles Times article.
"At Nevada Nuclear Waste Site, The Issue Is One of Liquidity Studies Citing Risk of Water Seepage Imperil Yucca Mountain Project" (12/15/98) Not surprisingly, the Washington Post's Joby Warrick is oblivious to what's really happening with the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear disposal site. Anti-nuclear activists plan to stop nuclear power generation in the U.S. by making sure that power plants have no place to store their waste. Temporary storage facilities -- swimming pools adjacent to plants -- are rapidly filling up. Without long-term/permanent storage facilities that can accept waste from the pools, nuclear power plants will have to stop making waste -- i.e., shut down. The "risks" Warrick writes about here are either exceedingly remote, infinitesimal or bogus. But what can one expect from someone who's pre-Post environmental journalism experience is primarily a series of articles on North Carolina hog farms? Oink-oink, Joby.
"When Bars Say 'No' To Smoking" (12/15/98) A New York Times reprise of last week's bartender study. What kind of conclusion can be drawn about the California smoking ban from a study of vague, self-reported respiratory symptoms in 53 bartenders, half of whom are current smokers?
"Clouds generated in Kyoto" (12/15/98) "Vice President Al Gore was conspicuously absent from the fourth round of global climate negotiations in Buenos Aires in November - and for good reason." smokers?
Conflict of interest at the Energy Department? (12/14/98) The U.S Department of Energy has settled a lawsuit with the Natural Resources Defense Council. The deal includes a $6.25 million fund to assist "citizens groups" -- a euphemism for environmental activists -- in conducting technical and scientific reviews of DOE facility cleanups. How much does NRDC get for its efforts? You may want to ask Dan Reicher, the current assistant secretary for energy efficiency, and former DOE chief of staff and special assistant to the Secretary of Energy. Before he joined DOE, Reicher was a muckety-muck with the NRDC. Update: You can also ask Terry Lash, a founder of NRDC who, until recently, was head of the Nuclear Energy division at DOE. According to Mike Fox, Lash also opposed exciting advances in nuclear medicine, including promising cancer therapy.
"Ignore unpredictable weather, focus on global warming, experts say" (12/14/98) "Geophysicists are finding that explaining dramatic variations in climate is a tougher challenge than they first expected. They are warning decision-makers not to wait for further scientific evidence before taking action to cope with possible man-made global warming." What?
"France announces two more cases of mad cow disease" (12/14/98) Wake me when mad cow means something to people.
147,000 deaths wrong? (12/14/98)A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine (12/15) reports that coronary heart disease may be overrepresented as a cause of death on death certificates. Among 2,683 decedents in the Framingham Heart Study, death certificates attributed 24.3 percent more deaths to heart disease than a panel of physicians; among those at least 85 years of age, death certificates attributed 100 percent more deaths to heart disease than the panel. Applying the 24.3 percent rate to the claimed 734,000 heart disease deaths annually in the U.S., about 147,000 of these deaths may be due to other causes. Aside from the "vital statistics" issue, this is also problematic for epidemiologic studies of heart disease mortality.
"Rivers May Be Emitting Substance Involved In Ozone Destruction" (12/14/98) So says a new study by the U.S Geological Survey. But before pressing the 'panic' button, I suggest that the USGS first demonstarte that significant ozone depletion is a reality.
"Asian pollution drifts over North America" (12/14/98) So will (President?) Gore threaten China's "most favored nation" trading status if it doesn't bow to nutty U.S. ozone transport rules?
"Conflicting jargon and scientific reports: What Hudson residents believe" (12/14/98) About the Hudson River-PCB controversy, this AP story says "EPA officials say the contaminants are carcinogenic to humans,... but scientific evidence on the theory is inconclusive." Hmmm... what should we believe? EPA or science?
New York Times backslides on silicone breast implants (12/14/98) Last week the Times printed a strong op-ed from New England Journal of Medicine editor Marcia Angell hailing the decision of a federal court science panel that there was no evidence silicone breast implant were causing autoimmune effects. But the Times now says research should continue into the "not yet known." Tell the Times that science can falsify specific, narrow hypotheses; inquiries without bounds are unwieldy for science.
"Study finds how green tea may prevent cancer" (12/13/98) The only problem is the epidemiology on green tea and cancer remains uncertain.
"Cherry Hamburgers Lower In Suspected Carcinogens" (12/13/98) I hope cherryburgers taste good because -- as discussed previously on this page -- they aren't likely to impact anyone's risk of cancer.
"Revealed: risks of genetic food" (12/13/98) "Frankenstein" plants?
"Lead in kids' blood at Superfund site twice the U.S. average" (12/13/98) The Deseret News reports "When the Bunker Hill smelter operated without pollution controls, the average blood-lead level was 65 micrograms per deciliter in 1974... Last year, 9 percent of the Smelterville children tested had lead levels above 10 micrograms. This year, 14 percent did." I don't recall any lead-associated health effects reported in 1974. I doubt there will be any after more than an 80 percent reduction in average blood lead levels.
"State May Relax Rules on MTBE" (12/13/98) "A recent scientific assessment found insufficient evidence to say that the pollutant causes cancer or birth defects."
"Big Chicken and a Clean Bay" (12/12/98) The Washington Post editorializes that so-called "nutrient pollution" -- phosphorus and nitrogen runoff from chicken farms on Maryland's Eastern Shore -- is endangering fish and crabs in the Chesapeake Bay. The theory advanced by federal and state regulators is these nutrients cause excessive growth of algae which reduces oxygen supplies in the water. As usual, the Post has swallowed enviro bait, hook, line and sinker. Click here for my letter to the Post.
"Not so hot" (12/12/98) Fred Palmer of the Western Fuels Association gets a couple hundred words in the Washington Post.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch does the right thing (12/12/98) The Post-Dispatch prints a slew of letters in response to its Dec. 4 editorial.
Does fear of injury equate to injury? Louisiana high court thinks so in Ivory Tower ruling (12/11/98) Overturning a lower court ruling, the Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that a group of shipyard workers exposed to asbestos may recover expenses for medical monitoring even though no actual injuries were alleged. The Court ruled a plaintiff who can demonstrate the need for medical expenses arising from a defendant's wrongful conduct has suffered a cognizable injury for which the defendant may be held liable. Plaintiffs must show that: (1) a significant exposure to a proven hazard; (2) a significantly increased risk of disease; (3) the risk exceeds background risk; (4) a monitoring procedure exists; (5) the procedure has been prescribed by a physician and is reasonably necessary; (6) the monitoring regime is different from routine health checkups; and (7) there is clinical value in early detection and diagnosis. Perhaps the caveats on this ruling make sense in the naive world of academia, but how does it limit a lawsuit against, say, secondhand smoke? EPA says secondhand smoke is a "human carcinogen." Does this make secondhand smoke a "proven hazard?" The case is Bourgeois v. A.P. Green Industries, Inc. 716 So. 2d (La. 1998). [Source:Products Liability Law Reporter, December 1998.]
Ground-level ozone and lung cancer (12/11/98) A study in Environmental Health Perspectives (December 1998) reports a link between ground level ozone and lung cancer in male nonsmokers. But the study has at least three fatal flaws: (1) the study relies unverified self-reported data; (2) actual exposures to ozone were not measured; and (3) no association was reported for females. The researchers try to explain away the latter problem as due to estrogen. But they had no empirical support for this excuse. This study was supported by the American Cancer Society and the Environmental Protection Agency. This appears to be a post hoc effort to justify the junk science-fueled air quality standards issued in 1997.
Does it seem hot in here? (12/11/98) It seems hot to the editors at the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, so it must be global warming? Send your comments to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution editors.
Venice's Plan to Stop Sea Sinks: Flooding, Disasters Looming as the Adriatic Keeps Rising (12/11/98) The enviros intend to sacrifice a "sinking" Venice to drive home their views on rising seas caused by global warming.
"Cold kills more than 700 Americans a year, CDC says" (12/10/98) I'm surprised the number is that high with all the hot air produced by enviros.
How hot is it? (12/10/98) Geologist David Deming of the University of Oklahoma tackles that question in this Junk Science Home Page exclusive.
"Nuke Test Still Affecting Kazakstan" (12/10/98) About the alleged after-effects of Soviet nuclear testing, this AP article contains the quote "The nature of the deformities that resulted, they're just gruesome beyond belief." Isn't it odd how nothing remotely similar was observed among the Japanese atomic bomb survivors or the radium watch dial painters?
"Harmful Heat Is More Frequent, Especially at Night, Study Finds" (12/10/98) The New York Times' William K. Stevens writes "Extreme summer heat and humidity of the kind most threatening to health have become more frequent in the United States over the last half century, two Federal researchers say." The study covers the period 1949 to 1995 and, of course, Stevens tries to link this report with manmade global warming. But the report does not make Stevens' case. The report's definition of "extreme weather" is arbitrary and not related to human health. So what if some areas of the country have experienced more "extreme weather" than others? This would be expected to occur by chance anyway. In any event, the data used in the report may be biased geographically. Finally, the areas that allegedly have more "extreme weather" appear to be associated with the urban heat island effect. The researchers claim the urban heat island effect doesn't explain completely their results. But their data set is far from comprehensive.
"Will Greenpeace steal Christmas? Toy Campaign May Be Based On Fear, Not Facts" (12/10/98) John Berlau writes in Investor's Business Daily: "This year, the biggest Christmas scare isn't the Grinch. It's 'toxic' vinyl toys that contain 'dangerous' chemicals called phthalates to make them soft."
"Unnatural disaster" (12/10/98) The Wall Street Journal editorializes "When a tropical storm devastates an island or a troubled teenager goes on a killing spree, cries go up demanding something be done to make sure it never happens again. When a deranged tort system destroys an industry--driving people out of jobs, panicking customers--and does so based on junk science admitted to the courtroom by injudicious judges--there really is the possibility of making sure it doesn't happen again."
Should sand, secondhand smoke, alcohol, diesel particulates and MTBE be classified as human carcinogens? (12/09/98) Sure the National Toxicology Program's cancer classification game is fixed. But take a few minutes and submit your comments for the record anyway. If the NTP brazenly ignores public comments, its actions may be overturned in court. This link goes to the approved Federal Register notice requesting comments.
Yahoo! cites the Junk Science Home Page (12/09/98) Yahoo! has picked the Junk Science Home Page as a top resource in the "Health: News and Media" category. Competition in the category includes the health sites of ABC News, the BBC, CNN, MSNBC and Reuters.
The Week That Was November 30-December 6, 1998 (12/09/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
Maker Will Phase Out Water Meters With Lead (12/09/98) The Natural Resources Defense Council succeeds in reducing an exceedingly minute level of lead exposure. But what benefit accrues to the children whose "learning disabilities" are more likely associated with their learning environment than infinitestimal lead exposure?
Looking a gift horse in the mouth? (12/09/98) Two major dailies ran great opinion pieces on silicone breast implants today. Click here for the Washington Post editorial and here for a New York Times op-ed by Marcia Angell, a senior editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. It's funny how the Post, the Times and Angell seemingly never miss an opportunity to editorialize against junk science when the topic is breast implants. But what about issues such as secondhand smoke, global warming, and pesticides? Those issue are chock full of junk science too. The answer lies in the nature of the issue. In some twisted way, breast implants are politically correct. Like the pro-choice side of the abortion issue, politically liberal, elitist white women want the implant option. These women are more than happy to jump all over bad science used to reduce their health choices. Unfortunately, that's where their concern for bad science ends. I suppose we should be happy they pull their heads up out of the ground at all.
New study questions putative link between low-level lead exposures and children's IQ (12/08/98) A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (12/9) reports no statistically significant association between declining blood lead levels in children and cognitive changes. This study runs counter to the junk science of Herb Needleman who has maintained for years that exposure to low-levels of lead harmed kids' intelligence. Needleman's studies never ruled out the likelihood that cognitive deficits in kids with relatively higher lead exposures were caused by some other confounding factor such as poorer learning environment. The authors state: "Our analysis shows that, compared with children of lower exposure levels, the cognitive deficit in the group with higher exposure changed little with age, even though blood lead levels declined substantially after 2 years of age. It might be argued that the consistency between lead exposure and cognitive development at all ages is an artifact of some insufficiency in measuring confounders... it is almost impossible to dispel the concern of residual confounding in any observational study..."
Bartender breathing and smoking bans (12/08/98) A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (12/9) reports that smoking bans in bars improve the respiratory health of bartenders. Unfortunately for this hypothesis, it was tested in a small population (53) of bartenders, 45 percent of whom were current smokers. Can you say "confounding factor"? Also, the study is based on self-reported health data, the unverified and inaccurate nature of which hardly qualifies as "science." The penultimate paragraph of this study says: "Finally, confounding by personal smoking and URIs [upper respiratory tract infections] could potentially explain the observed improvement in respiratory health.
Former federal health expert weighs in on moderate alcohol consumption (12/08/98) "As the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms supposedly moves closer to issuing a long-awaited decision on the question of health claims regarding moderate alcohol consumption, a noted former federal health policy expert has weighed in with his own assessment of the scientific evidence. In comments filed with the agency yesterday, Dr. Michael Gough concludes that there is overwhelming evidence that moderate consumption confers health benefits on most adults. In his view, ATF’s current doubts about this evidence are unsupportable, and even the Federal Dietary Guideline for alcohol understates its benefits."
"State's envirocrats are setting off false alarms" (12/08/98) Michelle Malkin writes in the Seattle Times: "Caving in to environmental radicals and technophobes is a sorry model for responsible regulation."
SEPP letter to Washington Post (12/08/98) Here are comments from the Science and Environmental Policy Project on this Post article.
"It Isn't News If it Isn't Controversial" (12/08/98) Nutrition News Focus tackles the headline "Olive oil health benefits questioned."
"Earth at Its Warmest In Past 12 Centuries: Scientist Says Data Suggest Human Causes" (12/08/98) So declares a Gore-owned scientist at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. Despite the absence of any sort of scientific prrof, this claim must be true?
"Cancer cases linked to florist?" (12/08/98) "Mark Thomas stood in the living room of his house on the corner of State Street and 200 West and started ticking off how many of his neighbors either have cancer or have died of it... Total tally: nine. Many of them had worked at Miller Floral, he said."
Organic food? (12/08/98) From today's "Notable & Quotable" column in the Wall Street Journal.
CDC and food poisoning: Science by media leak? (12/07/98) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working on a report about the estimated number of illnesses from E. coli 0157:H7. The report won't be finished and available for independent review until next year. Unfortunately, the CDC is reporting the results already, here in today's USA Today. The CDC probably hopes such news will create headlines and ensuing budget increases. But news that CDC's prior estimates are off by 100 percent doesn't give me any confidence that the new numbers are any better than the old.
"Gulf War syndrome may signal mental ills" (12/07/98) Science News reports (12/5) "A mysterious and controversial illness said to afflict many veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War may often stem from mood and anxiety disorders rather than wartime exposure to infectious agents or toxins, a new study finds."
"No smoking gun" (12/07/98) Two letters-to- the-editor in this week's Science News: one on global warming and one from the Junkman on a recent study claiming a link between maternal smoking and cancer in infants.
"If the science is weak, bring in the babies" (12/07/98) An outstanding article in Chemical and Engineering News by business editor William Storck. Bette Hileman, the CEN mouthpiece for enviro groups, clearly had nothing to do with this article.
"Brussels 'backing down' on gender benders" (12/07/98) The BBC reports enviros are unhappy over EU report language that is insufficiently alarmist.
Tora, tora, tora (12/07/98) In its December 7 issue, the Endocrine/Estrogen Letter reports that "endocrine disrupters" has entered the Japanese lexicon as kankyo horumon.
An Unethical Report on Pesticide Studies (12/07/98) In this Junk Science Home Page exclusive, Michael Fumento opines on the enviro campaign against testing pesticides on human volunteers.
Highlights from Endocrine/Estrogen Letter (12/07/98) Find out what's in the December 7 issue. You can win a 1-year subscription to this newsletter by clicking here.
Sierra Club plan: Pressure Senate on global warming thru postcard campaign (12/07/98) The Sierra Club plans to inundate Senators with postcards featuring "the famous 'Earthrise' photo from the Apollo 8 moon mission, and remind Senators that when it comes to global warming, we all have a lot to loose." Let's face it, despite the Senate's 95-0 vote in 1997 against a global warming treaty, most Senators probably are fickle on the issue. Let's hope the U.S. Postal Service sends all the Sierra Club postcards to the North Pole.
"Science on trial" (12/07/98) "No matter how shocking the expert panel's findings that there is no evidence linking implants and disease, the court, government officials, and everyone else should take them seriously."
"Silicone Battle Strains Legal, Regulatory Systems" (12/07/98) This Washington Post article quotes former FDA oberfuhrer David Kessler as saying "When the plaintiff's bar descended, they descended in such a way that it, it was a circus. The advertising was "enough to turn your stomach." Kessler still fails to accept responsibility for his irresponsible actions -- placing a mortaorium on the use of silicone breast implants, despite a lack of supporting facts -- that led to the sharks' feeding frenzy.
"Hot Air On Climate Change" (12/07/98) How much longer will the Washington Post print opinion pieces that claim "most scientists believe that greenhouse gases are causing global warming?" Also, can government regulation really be thought of as "market-based?"
Healthy People 2010 (12/06/98) How often do you get a chance to comment for the record on the Nanny State? The federal government is now soliciting public comments on its "Healthy People 2010 Objectives." Topics range from food to alcohol to tobacco to just about any part of our lives the federal government thinks it should be managing. Click here for the draft objectives for public comment. After you submit your comments to the feds, send them to me. I'll post the best ones.
"Danish study links cancer of the breast to pesticide" (12/06/98) Click here for my thoughts on this Deseret News article. Send your own letter to the Deserset News.
"Antarctic ozone hole lasts record 100 days" (12/06/98) A record only exceed by the 25 years of ozone depletion junk science.
"Heart charity invests in tobacco industry" (12/06/98) The British Heart Foundation, after spending years persuading people not to smoke, is investing in tobacco shares.
"Counting on science to fix the census" (12/05/98) The Chicago Tribune's Steve Chapman explains why statistical sampling is not a good idea for the year 200 census.
"Science Wins Out" (12/05/98) "After an exhaustive two-year investigation, a court-appointed panel of scientists has concluded that there is 'no evidence,' 'no consistent data,' 'no association' and 'no distinctive features' to indicate that silicone breast implants cause disease. The findings vindicate implant manufacturers, but constitute a damning indictment of a justice system subverted by greed."
"Low levels of brain chemical drives mice to drink" (12/05/98) But how do they get past the ID check?
"Science, Advocacy, and Credibility" (12/05/98) "Credibility is a basic coin of science, and while scientists have every right to be avid supporters of whatever cause, they should not expect to be taken as seriously in their advocacy as they hope to be in their science."
"Freedom of Information Requests" (12/05/98) Reactions to Jocelyn Kaiser's alarmist recent article about data access in Science.
"US Senate should nix Kyoto pact" (12/05/98) Alexander F. Annett writes in the Journal of Commerce: "Until it can be proven that the Earth is warming and that human activity is the culprit, the Senate should refuse to ratify the Kyoto treaty. To do otherwise would be irresponsible."
"Enough hot air" (12/05/98) That's what the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says about those who question global warming orthodoxy. Ask the Post-Dispatch what the basis is for its statement "Most scientists agree that global warming is real and dangerous."
Ethics and sound science (12/05/98) From the British Medical Journal(12/5): "It is unfortunate that the scientific basis of Savulescu's commentary on the ethics of the study by Parkins et al, in which infants were exposed to 15% oxygen, is so weak."
"U.S. Lags in Teaching Math and Science" (12/04/98) "American schoolchildren lag behind much of the world in math and science because their classes are boring, unfocused and incoherent, researchers said on Thursday after examining a recent international survey."
EPA backpeddles on commitment to risk assessment guidelines, caves to enviros (again) (12/04/98) The soft-pedalled part of yesterday's announcement about new drinking water treatment standards was EPA's decision to maintain the drinking water standard for chloroform at zero. The EPA had originally proposed to set the standard at 300 parts per billion. A non-zero level for chloroform would have represented the view that there is a safe (non-cancer causing) level of exposure to chloroform. The EPA had committed to identifying safe levels -- or thresholds -- for supposed carcinogens in its 1996 proposed cancer risk assessment guidelines. Chloroform was thought to be one of the best candidates for having a threshold assigned. But after EPA proposed the 300 ppb-level for chloroform earlier this year, the enviros pressured the agency back to the zero level. Click here for a plea from the president of the Society of Toxicology.
$1,900 to prevent one case of diarrhea? (12/04/98) The new water treatment standards issued yesterday will cost taxpayers at least $869 million per year. The Clinton Administration estimates this will prevent 460,000 cases of waterborne illness per year. I don't know what data and analysis this figure is based on, but I venture to guess the answer -- like the estimates for foodborne illness -- is "not much." But using this figure just for grins, the new water treatment works out to about $1,900 spent to prevent a case of waterborne illness, most likely a mild case of diarrhea.
Clinton schizo on global warming, warm weather (12/04/98) Yesterday in Rhode Island, President Clinton said: "On the way in here I thanked Senator Chafee in particular for his help in trying to sensitize the Congress to the great challenge of climate change and global warming. But on this magnificent December day in Rhode Island, it's hard to see it as a threat, I must say." Yeesh!
New study DOESN'T link pesticide dieldrin with breast cancer (12/03/98) Contrary to what the morning newspapers report, a new study in The Lancet doesn't link the discontinued pesticide dieldrin with increased risk of breast cancer. Check out the profession of the lead researcher!
"Global Warming: The Scorecard Thus Far" (12/03/98) The Cato Institute's Jerry Taylor writes: "Killing the coal industry to reduce temperatures 1/13th of 1 degree 50 years hence is justified by treaty advocates as a necessary "first step" of about 30 that must necessarily come."
"We must test drugs on animals, says Sir Paul" (12/03/98) Paul McCartney reconsiders his opposition to animal testing in light of his wife's death from breast cancer.
"Ten placed on animal activists' murder list" (12/03/98) The Animal Rights Militia threatens to kill 10 over the arrest of an arsonist, if he dies of his own hunger strike.
"Cruel hope; A book on breast cancer 'prevention' fosters false hope" (12/03/98) "Not only is the title misleading, but the book also holds out false hope to millions of American women."
"Environmentalists Suffer Election Setback" (12/03/98) "Environmental groups that have been crowing over Republican losses in the recent national elections may end up eating crow once the 106th Congress begins voting on environmental legislation."
"Cities target gun makers in bogus lawsuits" (12/03/98) "Every product has illegitimate uses and undesirable consequences."
"The Week That Was November 23-29, 1998" (12/03/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.
"Climate vs. weather" (12/03/98) From the Science and Environmental POlicy Project: "Americans are longing for snow; Europeans are longing for Florida--but what's driving that is weather, not climate."
Towns view O'Hare's air as a threat: Major jet emissions test explored (12/03/98) "For example, a resident of Park Ridge incurs some increased risk of developing cancer due to exposure to emissions from aircraft," said the $10,000 report, which has not been released to the public. "We know this because both benzene and formaldehyde . . . are known human carcinogens."
Scientists recommend secondhand smoke, alcohol consumption as carcinogens (12/03/98) Another fundamental law of nature: National Toxicology Program = Kangaroo court.
Ban on 'Stem Cell' Testing Reviewed (12/03/98) "Inspired by promises of exciting medical advances that could come from studies of cells derived from human embryos, the Senate yesterday began a tentative reassessment of a four-year-old ban on the use of federal funds for human embryo research."
NTP panel votes to classify secondhand smoke as a carcinogen (12/02/98) A National Toxicology Program panel has voted to classify secondhand smoke as a carcinogen. Apparently, the NTP panel members were wearing their special hearing aids and filtered glasses that blocked out everything except EPA-ese.
20/20 to hack up endocrine disrupters again? (12/02/98) The ABC News television show 20/20 is apparently working on another report on endocrine disrupters -- since their last report on chemicals in toys was so wonderful? That show interviewed a mother who, according to a source, was selected for the show because she is a friend of the 20/20 producer, not because she is actually afraid of chemicals. The father (not featured) was a chemistry major, so he's unlikely to be "afraid" of chemicals. The upcoming story will report on allegations that so-called endocrine disrupters are hastening puberty in girls. It appears that the environmentalists are heavily influencing (biasing?) the show. Click here for my letter to Victor Neufeld, the executive producer of 20/20.
Study reports no increased mortality among nuclear workers (12/02/98) Compared to the general U.S. population, nuclear workers monitored for radiation at the Rocketdyne/Atomics International nuclear research/production facility in Southern California experienced no increase in cancer mortality and mortality from all causes, reports a new study in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine (January 1999). The study involved 4,563 workers, 875 total deaths and 258 cancer deaths. According to the study, the nuclear workers had a statistically significant 32 percent decline in overall mortality and a statistically significant 21 percent decline in cancer mortality. No statistically significant increase in mortality was report for any individual type of cancer. This study is consistent with the largest study-ever of nuclear shipyard workers done for the U.S. Department of Energy in 1991. The politically incorrect results of this $10 million dollar study were never published. The full story is told the new Milloy/Gough book Silencing Science, now available from this page.
Lawyer: Some scientists willing to forfeit possible cancer breakthrough (12/02/98) Silencing Science is very topical. Yet another story told in the new book is in the news. This one involves research funding from the tobacco industry.
CPSC says chemicals in toys not harmful, asks that chemicals not be used (12/02/98) A ridiculous ruling from CPSC: Chemicals aren't harmful, but don't use them anyway. Click here for Washington Post coverage.
USA Today article questions global warming (12/02/98) Check out this article in today's USA Today. Good things come to those who wait. Global warming is featured in Silencing Science.
"Sinking Venice" (12/02/98) City officials in Venice, Italy want to build flood gates to reduce the threat of rising water. But global warming activists oppose the move saying that the gates will shut Venice off from the ocean. Duh! Isn't that the point? Actually the larger point is that the enviros want Venice to flood so they can rave about rising sea levels caused by global warming. This courting-disaster-to-push-an-agenda is the same tactic the anti-nuclear crowd has used with nuclear power plants. That is, they have blocked long-term disposal alternatives of spent nuclear fuel so that temporary storage facilities reach capacity. With nowhere to store spent fuel, nuclear plants will have to shutdown.
Court Panel Can't Link Breast Implants to Any Diseases (12/02/98) "A panel of four scientists appointed by a federal court issued a report Tuesday concluding that scientific evidence has so far failed to show that silicone breast implants cause disease." Click here for the report. Click here for Washington Post coverage. The breast implant saga is featured in Silencing Science.
"For Senate, 'Stem Cell' Advances Revive an Embryonic Controversy" (12/02/98) Human embryo research is featured in Silencing Science.
"Diet lies: Book on breast cancer promotes guilt, false hope" (12/01/98) "When I saw the book The Breast Cancer Prevention Diet at the bookstore, I got angry. Later, when I saw it was on a best-seller list, I was outraged."
"Setting off the toy shop alarm" (12/01/98) "Uh-oh, it's time to be afraid again. Be very afraid. No, it isn't pesticides this time, nor household radon, silicone implants, cellular phones, or any of the previous bogeymen. Now the target is phthalates, a chemical that makes plastics soft for toys and teething rings."
"Dubious dependence on ADD diagnosis" (12/01/98) "Before deciding that a kid has ADD, a careful clinician is supposed to rule out alternative explanations. That injunction, of course, implies that an ADD diagnosis is itself an explanation. It isn't. At best, it is a description. At worst, it is a way of pathologizing behavior problems, thereby discouraging efforts at improvement."
Diet and cancer: A mini debate (12/01/98)Newsday beats the New York Times in this (unwitting) duel over diet and cancer.
"Science under siege" (12/01/98) A Newsday extravaganza on the problems at the Brookhaven National Laboratory.
"Warm days in November not unusual for Houston" (12/01/98) "Given the global warming trend,... the 'normal' temperatures will always lag behind the current temperatures."
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