February 1999

"Fear pushes scientists to cut cellphone use" (2/28/99) An upcoming Canadian study claims that cellphones can cause short-term memory loss.

"Military rebels at anthrax vaccine" (2/28/99) "Those wary of the vaccine note that 150,000 of the 500,000 soldiers who served in the gulf received the shots. Some suspect that the shots may be associated with gulf war illness, the collection of mysterious ailments that afflict thousands of veterans. But Pentagon officials say two studies found no such evidence."

"Al Gore: Our national hall monitor" (2/28/99) Al Gore's "livability agenda" addresses issues that arenít actually problems."

"A dirty secret on the river" (2/28/99) Those concerned about New York's Hudson River should focus their attention on sewage, not PCBs.

"The China Syndrome" (2/28/99) While the U.S. probably should consider cutting its trade deficit by exporting environmentalists, including Mark Hertsgaard, China is doomed if it lets Greenpeace et al. direct its economic growth. China wants to grow AND cut electricity development by 20 percent in 10 years?

"Abatement Industry Fights EPA Over Lead Disposal" (2/28/99) A Junk Science Home Page mug to the person who can tell me why the EPA has turned on one of its own.

"Pollution cleanups are cheaper when rules are flexible" (2/28/99) This op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch says, "Flexibility is the key to low-cost pollution abatement."

"'Vegan' restriction was correct" (2/28/99) Is a "gang" of vegetraians called a "salad?"

"Validity of the Linear No-Threshold Theory of Radiation Carcinogenesis at Low Doses" (2/27/99) A 1998 paper by the University of Pittsburgh's Bernie Cohen.

Silencing Science a 'Bestseller' (2/27/99) Silencing Science has cracked the " Hot 100" list, coming in at number 66.

"Finding Research Balance" (2/27/99) An alarmist Los Angeles Times editorial about the new data access law. Click here for my comments. Tell the Times' its editorial was off the mark.

"Chemistry Nobelist Glenn Seaborg Dies" (2/27/99) Farewell to a true science great and American hero.

"Health officials urge warning labels on cigars" (2/27/99) A National Cancer Institute report says that regular cigar smokers increase their risk of mouth, throat and lung cancer, the report found. I guess that means the warning labels should say that occasional cigar smoking is not harmful.

"Bacteria in chicken feed may threaten human health" (2/27/99) Beware of the new hysteria over antibiotic resistant bacteria. To date, it has been a very small, isolated problem. Pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop solutions. We are more in jeopardy of this being used as an excuse to expand government bureaucracy.

Tears for fears (2/27/99) That's the formula for this Los Angeles Times' article. There's a reason cancer clusters can't be linked with environmental exposures -- they ain't related.

"Bottom line: Is it good for you? Or bad?" (2/26/99) A surprising lucid article from USA Weekend.

"EPA assault on state enviro programs off mark" (2/26/99) The Reason Public Policy Institute reports "Contrary to criticism from the United State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that states are failing as environmental regulators, a new report from Reason Public Policy Institute (RPPI) reveals that states are netting impressive gains through flexible environmental permitting. According to Christopher Hartwell, author of the study and an environmental policy analyst for RPPI, "states experimenting with flexibility can be quite proud of their records and should not be discouraged by unfair assaults from Washington."

"Alar scare-mongering revisited 10 years later" (2/26/99) The Seattle Times editorializes "As long as activists can grab the media spotlight with a reliable formula of pathos and junk science, Alar-ism will thrive." Send your compliments to the Seattle Times. Otherwise, the editors will only hear from the enviros.

"Fear of fruit" (2/26/99) About the new Consumers Union report on pesticides, Michael Fumento writes in the Wall Street Journal, "[i]t appears to be a thinly veiled attempt to influence the Environmental Protection Agency during a crucial time for making decisions as to what pesticides will be effectively banned."

"Toxic food report criticized" (2/26/99) "The American Council on Science and Health says consumer advocacy groups are trying to spark mass hysteria with a pair of new reports asserting that U.S. children consume fruits and vegetables contaminated with a host of potentially toxic insecticides."

"Schools to Let State Oversee Toxic Cleanup" (2/26/99) Thanks to a bureaucratic foul-up and environmental payola, the Los Angeles Unified School District will be shortchanging school kids by at least $1.2 million.

"How to tell the difference between Al Gore and the Unabomber" (2/26/99) By Alan Caruba of the National Anxiety Center.

"Vegetarian mothers have higher incidence of genital defects in sons, study suggests" (2/25/99) "We will have to investigate further to see whether this is a rogue result."

Endocrine disrupters and testicular cancer (2/25/99) Danish researcher Niels Skakkebaek (of declining sperm count notoriety) reports in the British Medical Journal that male subfertility is associated with testicular cancer and this association is "consistent" with the hypothesis that endocrine disrupters cause both. Unfortunately for Skakkebaek, his study is based on the premise that subfertility is related to the number of children fathered -- an obviously laughable assumption.

"Arctic effect could make global warming more intense, study suggests" (2/25/99) The arctic climate is somewhat more complex than the simple miniature greenhouses used in this study.

"Breast Implant Myths" (2/25/99) The Cato Institute's Doug Bandow writes "The evidence is overwhelming - objective, peer-reviewed, epidemiological studies find that silicone breast implants do not cause disease. Unfortunately, this growing consensus cannot repair the damage wreaked by a decade's worth of misguided litigation. Unless policymakers reform the legal process, however, the trial bar will soon be launching new mass torts based on junk science."

'Put-up or shut-up' challenge to the Environmental Working Group (2/25/99) EWG has a new report claiming that pesticides on fruits and vegetables still pose health risks for children. Here's the challenge to EWG president Ken Cook: Produce one child who has been harmed by food residues from legally-applied pesticides. If pestcides are sooooo baaaaaaad, this shouldn't be too much of a challenge. Right Ken?

Secret government (2/25/99) The Dallas Morning News editorializes about open government meetings, "Not all public officials are particularly fond of the public." Based on the responses so far from National Academy of Science members to this letter, it seems that scientists on the public dole aren't that fond of the public either. Their attitude toward the public seems to be "take the money and run." Fight "secret science."

"Human swarm: The greatest menace" (2/25/99) West Virginians -- or at least the Charleston Gazette -- must hate people. No wonder West Virginia is probably the only state to have declined in population since 1940. Isn't it odd for a newspaper in a state that has no population growth to be wringing its hands about overpopulation?

"Children deserve to be lead-free" (2/25/99) This Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial is based on the false premise that "thousands of children" are being "poisoned" by lead every year. Having a blood lead level above 10 micrograms/deciliter is not de facto lead poisoning. If the rhetoric was toned down, perhaps Milwaukee could focus on those kids that do have too much lead exposure.

"An unnecessary message" (2/25/99) The Boston Herald says the Massachusetts Department of Health plan to spend $50,000 working anti-smoking messages into TV programs is a waste.

"Pesky pesticides" (2/25/99) Off the mark at the Boston Globe. The Consumers Union report on pesticides is junk. No child has ever been harmed by legal application of pesticides. Send your comments to the Boston Globe.

"Non-silicone breast implant in testing phase" (2/25/99) This article reports "Worldwide demand for breast implants currently stands at about $500 million." Is that demand from women or personal injury lawyers?

"Danish study links schizophrenia to being born in cities or during late winter" (2/25/99) Since no person is silly enough to make such a claim based on such thin data, was this study done by breakfast pastry?

"Is sucralose safe?" (2/25/99) The sweetener sucralose is made with chlorine. A target for Greenpeace's anti-chlorine activism?

Pollution ventriloquism: "Residents Urged to Switch On Electric Mowers" (2/25/99) Electric lawn mowers aren't "nonpolluting;" they "pollute" at the electric power plant -- unless its a nuclear plant.

"An Unhappy Anniversary The Alar 'Scare' Ten Years Later" (2/24/99) An excellent walk down memory lane courtesy of the American Council on Science and Health.

"Science Reporting Under a Microscope" (2/24/99) Michael Fumento reviews the book "Environmental Cancer -- A Political Disease?" in the Wall Street Journal.

Fired AMA editor gets a new job (2/24/99) George Lundberg, the former editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association who was fired after publishing an old survey of 600 college students' views on oral sex during President Clinton's impeachment trial, has a new job as editor of Medscape. Had I known he was looking for an Internet job, I would have offered him a position.

"Internet 'harms marriage'" (2/24/99) "If the problem persists you could always get counselling on-line at"

"World GM food talks fail" (2/24/99) Efforts to hamper biotechnology by scary labeling of genetically modified exports has failed.

"Hepatitis B vaccine saves countless lives" (2/24/99) From the Seattle Times, "In recent weeks, well-publicized but unscientific reports have linked hepatitis B vaccine to certain chronic illnesses. Not only are such allegations unproven and contributing to the spread of misinformation, but they potentially undermine public-health efforts to prevent a serious, infectious disease in this state."

"Attack of the killer veggies" (2/24/99) The Washington Times editorializes, "Ten years to the month after the great Alar scare, environmentalists are out to set off another panic. The culprits, as always, are those fruits and vegetables that doctors and other health experts say you should serve your children more, not less, often."

"The EPA needs its teeth." (2/24/99) So says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. But Sen. Christopher Bond (R-Mo) just wants to remove some of the EPA's fangs used to bully states. Linking the reported increase in asthma on air pollution is certainly unproven and most likely wrong. Asthma has increased while air pollution has decreased.

"Guns don't sue people" (2/24/99) "Finding someone to blame for society's problems has become the newest American sport."

TOP STORY: Letter to NAS members about 'secret science' (2/23/99) This letter was e-mailed to members of the National Academy of Sciences. Don't forget to enter the 'Secret Science' Sweepstakes.

"The Week That Was February 15-21, 1999" (2/23/99) The weekly round-up from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.

"GM food: Royal Society attacks 'bad science'" (2/23/99) "The Royal Society, one of the world's most distinguished scientific bodies, today attacked "bad science" being used in the row over genetically modified foods."

Dioxin's flexible toxicity (2/23/99) Dioxin is only a hazard when the EPA wants it to be. How convenient.

"EPA rule faces challenge: Governors to consider request to change environmental policy" (2/23/99) Dave Mastio reports in the Detroit News, "The nation's governors plan to add their voices to the chorus demanding changes in the Environmental Protection Agency's environmental justice policy."

TOP STORY: "Hudson losing striped past" (2/23/99) About the new report on PCBs in the Hudson River, Frank LeBrun writes in the Albany Times-Union, "For years, General Electric has claimed the river was cleaning itself up a lot faster than environmentalists, the DEC and the EPA wanted to admit. This news gives the GE position undeniable credibility."

"PCB's in Hudson Striped Bass at Safe Levels, State Says" (2/23/99) If the Hudson River PCB issue is resolving itself, why dredge and stir up PCBs safely entombed in the riverbed?

"'Cancer Clusters': Who benefits?" (2/23/99) From the New York Post, "Gov. Pataki just can't do right by Democratic Assemblymen Richard Brodsky and Richard Gottfried. The two lawmakers have criticized the governor for not acting fast enough in creating a statewide cancer map. In fact, Pataki isn't dragging his feet - but he should."

"Saving 60,000 lives annually" (2/23/99) Mitzi Perdue writes, "Are you ready for an extraordinary statistic? Dr. John Graham from the Harvard School of Public Health says that if we allocated our treatment and prevention resources more wisely, we could save 60,000 lives a year in this country alone."

"Rise of the backrest police?" (2/23/99) Investor's Business Daily editorializes, "And like so many social engineers' plans - global warming comes to mind - the ergonomics rules are based on feel-good theories and few proven facts."

"Lawyers, media gave silicone implants bad rap" (2/23/99) Dr. Philip R. Alper writes in the Miami Herald, "Breast implants were falsely linked to disease simply because they could not be proven to be absolutely safe."

"Crazy About Sex" (2/23/99) Daniel Greenberg writes in the Washington Post, "The casualty report on sexual dysfunction recently published in a leading medical journal is a product of research run amok in our medicalized, super-sexualized society."

"Birth Study Unfairly Blames Pollution" (2/23/99) Mike Gough takes on Devra Lee Davis who took on Michael Fumento who took on politicized science -- all in the Wall Street Journal.

"Sheer numbers put air, water at risk" (2/23/99) In India: It's the economy (stupid), not the people.

"Gore's crusaders" (2/22/99) A recent Forbes article on Ozone Al.

"Apocalypse Gore: The dark vision of the vice president" (2/22/99) Unless you subscribe to the National Review or buy it at a newsstand (and I recommend that you do!), this is the only place on the Internet where you'll find this article.

"Dioxin can harm tooth development" (2/22/99) Unfortunately, the research to date has several major cavities. First, the animal study used to provide "biological plausibility" involved feeding rats a near-lethal dose of dioxin -- 1,000 micrograms/kilogram of bodyweight. No wonder the rats had a number of developmental problems, including with their teeth. Next, there is no evidence that any attempt was made to control for confounding factors such as fluroide overexposure. Lastly, higher rates of mottled teeth have not been reported in the children of those acutely exposed to dioxin during the 1976 Seveso, Italy industrial accident.

"Shoalwater tribe sounds alarm over fetal deaths" (2/22/99) Some seem to be itching to link these reproductive problems with pesticides. But despite decades of research, no such effort has succeeded. Check out this e ditorial and this study from the March issue of Epidemiology.

NTP and ETS (2/22/99) Here are Martha Perske's comments to the National Toxicology Program about its proposed classification of secondhand smoke as a human carcinogen.

"Campaign Seeks to Eliminate Plastic IV Bags, but Risk Is Disputed" (2/22/99) The mindless -- and evidence-less -- war against PVC hits medical devices.

"Gulf War syndrome suicide link" (2/22/99) The Countess of Mar urges UK doctors to rule out pesticides before psychiatric problems. Now that's authoritative!

"Food Poisoning Deaths Point Up System's Flaws" (2/22/99) I doubt more government bureaucracy will improve food safety. I'll continue to handle food properly, including cooking it well.

"Air bag inflation may damage hearing" (2/22/99) It's much better to have your head go through the windshield.

"San Diego cops, smokers in barroom brawl" (2/22/99) The EPA secondhand smoke risk assessment -- vacated last summer by a federal judge -- has turned smokers into criminals. Meanwhile, the real criminals -- at EPA -- have gotten away with murdering science.

"Toxic Soup Under Navy Base Creeps Toward Water Supply" (2/22/99) It took 25 years for a TCE plume to travel one-third of the way toward a drinking water aquifer. But somehow a contractor's report concludes the plume could travel the remaining two-thirds of the way in 10 years?

"Protectionism trumps science as gene-altered products are shut out" (2/22/99) Today's USA Today debate focuses on biotechnology. Click here for sense from USA Today editors. Click here for nonsense from Friends of the Earth.

"Rebutting sprawl" (2/22/99) The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorializes, "Sprawl is not the threat that the many who now campaign against it claim it is."

"A cancerous vaccination" (2/22/99) A funny commentary from the Chicago Tribune.

"Regulatory reform bill is actually an obstacle" (2/22/99) The Portland Press-Herald is right, but for the wrong reasons. Regulatory reform bills are a canard. If Congress really wants to clamp down on regulatory excesses, it should stop delegating so much authority to regulatory agencies.

"Handgun 'safety' devices themselves can carry a fatal risk" (2/22/99) "The recent decision for Cincinnati to engage in 'me too' litigation against gun manufacturers has centered on claims that handguns are 'unsafe' because they do not contain what is now experimental and very expensive technology that purportedly limits the use of the weapon to its owner. What is lacking in this debate is the fact that adding these 'safety' devices have certain risks that apparently are beyond the comprehension of those who seek to sue.

"No, ordering pizza won't save your life" (2/21/99) The New York Post publishes my letter about the recent hoopla over tomato products and cancer.

"Science is driving modern culture. Alas, most of us haven't even got License-plates" (2/21/99) The problem is not that "science" is driving modern culture. We should be so lucky. It's junk science that's behind the wheel.

"Pesticide Challenge for EPA" (2/21/99) More editorial hysteria from the Los Angeles Times. The Consumers Union study is crapola. Permitted pesticide residues are safe. Even Phil Landrigan, pesticide alarmist and the chairman of the National Research Council panel that produced the seminal report Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Chlidren, admitted "No disease has ever been documented that stems from legal applications of pesticides." E-mail your comments to the L.A. Times.

"Health department says conclusions of high cancer rates faulty" (2/21/99) What? Alarmism wrong? How could that be?

Mugged: Washington Post writer fails to appreciate 'junk science' souvenir (2/21/99) Click here to get the coffee mug that launched this Post story critical of the term "junk science." Note that Post reporter John Schwartz didn't say I was wrong about anything -- just dismissive. But isn't that how we should be about junk science?

TOP STORY: Consumers Union pesticide alarm is bogus; Study confuses safety and regulation (2/20/99) The new Consumers Union study claiming that children are exposed to "unsafe" levels of pesticides is fundamentally flawed. Click here for didn't-do-my-homework-again coverage by the Washington Post's Joby Warrick.

New York Times' reminds us of the need for the data access law (2/20/99) Click here for today's op-ed from a Dalkon Shield plaintiff. Then read this 1991 Times article which spotlights the need for the data access law. Help fight renegade epidemiology by entering the 'Secret Science' Sweepstakes -- 4 lucky contestants will win prizes worth $2,000!

"Do we care about the truth?" (2/20/99) A tremendous article by Nigel Hawkes of The Times (UK).

EPA snowmobile strategy: Lie until the lie is moot (2/20/99) About the EPA's plans for lower-emissions snowmobiles, the Los Angeles Times reports "EPA officials said they expect manufacturers to contest some of their findings, but the industry already is at work on new engine technology."

"New Effort Is Unveiled for Ergonomics Rules" (2/20/99) OSHA wants employers are to bear the brunt of their employees' aches and pains, regardless of the cause.

"Link between dental amalgam and Alzheimer's disease refuted" (2/19/99) The Lancet reports dental amalgam and the mercury vapours emitted are not factors in Alzheimer's disease development. Although minute amounts of mercury vapour come off amalgam surfaces, most of it seems to be blown out of the mouth or excreted, not deposited in the brain. Brain mercury concentrations at necropsy and dental amalgam history in 68 people with Alzheimer's disease and 33 without were examined. There was no association between Alzheimer's disease and the number, surface area, or history of dental amalgam restorations, and no differences in brain mercury values between those with Alzheimer's disease and controls. (Journal of the American Dental Association 1999; 130: 191-99).

Joseph N. Pew turns in his grave (again) (2/19/99) Another tremor was recently felt at the gravesite of Sun Oil company founder Joseph N. Pew following an annoucement that the Pew Charitable Trusts have given money to start the Pew Environmental Health Commission at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The Commission is chaired by the politically confused former liberal Republican senator, but independent Connecticut governor Lowell Weicker, Jr. Notable staff includes former EPA assistant administrator Lynn Goldman. The anti-industry Pew Charitable Trusts, which also fund the pro-global warming Pew Center for Climate Change, were founded by Pew's sons and daughters who seem to be eternally ashamed of their father's legacy.

"Is any chemical a bad chemical?" (2/19/99) Joe Perkins writes in the San Diego Union-Tribune, "MTBE has done much to improve air quality in Southern California and other smoggy, car-infested regions of the country. It would be ludicrous for lawmakers to accede to the wishes of scare-mongering environmentalist crusaders who seek to ban the oxygenate, not because it poses a scientifically-proven threat to human health, but simply because these latter day Luddites never met a chemical they liked."

"OSHA Unveils New Safety Rules" (2/19/99) Coming soon to a job near you. If you have an injury, it's your employers fault.

"Whose Risk Is It, Anyway?" (2/19/99) Jacob Sullum writes in the New York Times, "Even in a time when we have become accustomed to seeing tobacco companies settle suits for billions of dollars, last week's $51.5 million award to a California woman who developed lung cancer after smoking for 35 years has the power to astonish. The huge amount -- more than three times what the woman's lawyers requested -- suggests that juries are turning against common sense with a vengeance."

"Texaco and Ecuador" (2/19/99) Paternalistic editors at New York Times think Ecudaor is incapable of determining and evaluating facts, and then administering justice. Ironically, it's really U.S. courts that seem to be having a crisis.

"Polio Vaccine-Cancer Link Disputed" (2/19/99) The Associated Press reports "An American scientist says a London newspaper misinterpreted her study of a monkey virus in early polio vaccines when the paper said the virus had been proved 'cancer-causing' and could be responsible for hundreds of cancer deaths."

"EPA set to propose tougher anti-pollution requirements" (2/19/99) Hold on to your SUV, here come da feds.

"How Media Made Parkinson's A 'Man-Made' Disease" (2/18/99) By Michael Fumento in yesterday's Washington Times.

"$4M Award for Boy in Benlate Case Is Tossed: Florida appeals court sites lack of evidence" (2/18/99) We may feel sorry for the child, but wrongful blame only extends the tragedy.

MTBE battle heats up in California (2/18/99) California Governor Gray Davis will soon decide whether to ban gasoline additive MTBE. Click here for info about a new study concluding MTBE should not be banned. Click here for a media release from the junk science-fueled vultures in the anti-MTBE lobby. "When reasonableness is ignored and public policy is based on incremental risk reduction derived from a weak hypothesis and applied without regard to cost, then the arguments become heated and the consequences profound."

"House Votes Alarm Environmentalists" (2/18/99) It will be interesting to see whether the Gingrich-less Congress is as cowardly on environmental issues as the Gingrich-led Congress.

"Few Residents Attend Hearing on Fire Ant Plans" (2/18/99) Is the public less afraid of pesticide use?

"Amateur scientists don't get credit they're due" (2/18/99) Federal support for Trash Talk?

"Science serves public interest" (2/18/99) A wolf-in-sheep's clothing editorial from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Enviros asking for independent peer review? Pshaw...

"Getting the lead out" (2/18/99) This St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial is short on facts, but long on hysteria. I'd like to know what the scope is of any remaining lead problem. Wise risk management proceeds from accurate risk assessment.

"Here's to Honesty In Liquor Sales" (2/18/99) The Competitive Enterprise Institute's Sam Kazman writes in the Wall Street Journal, "ATF has essentially banned anyone from yelling "L'Chaim!" (to life!) in a crowded liquor store. From the standpoint of either free speech or public health, one could not conceive of a more appropriate toast or of a more intemperate regulatory policy."

"A toast to your good health?" (2/18/99) The Indianapolis Star editorializes, "There are questions about the methodology of the studies showing the health benefits of a drink of wine at dinner."

"Old wine, new labels: Objections to advertising the virtues of vino" (2/18/99) The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorializes, "An op-ed piece in The New York Times said the wine industry's clout had overridden public health concerns and the labeling decision "exemplifies what is wrong with the political process in Washington." But as balance is the result, the political process has not failed. The government warnings will stay on the bottles, and the new information is merely an addition. And adding a suggestion to seek more information is not too unreasonable to swallow."

"Environmental Harassment" (2/18/99) The Detroit News editorializes, "Developers of the Humbug Island project on the Detroit River must be starting to feel as if they have wandered into the middle of the World Wrestling Federation tag team finals. Just as they turn to deal with objections made by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, they get blind-sided from the other end of the ring by the Army Corps of Engineers."

"House Votes Alarm Environmentalists" (2/18/99) It will be interesting to see whether the Gingrich-less Congress is as cowardly on environmental issues as the Gingrich-led Congress.

"Few Residents Attend Hearing on Fire Ant Plans" (2/18/99) Is the public less afraid of pesticide use?

"Amateur scientists don't get credit they're due" (2/18/99) Federal support for Trash Talk?

"Science serves public interest" (2/18/99) A wolf-in-sheep's clothing editorial from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Enviros asking for independent peer review? Pshaw...

"Getting the lead out" (2/18/99) This St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial is short on facts, but long on hysteria. I'd like to know what the scope is of any remaining lead problem. Wise risk management proceeds from accurate risk assessment.

"Here's to Honesty In Liquor Sales" (2/18/99) The Competitive Enterprise Institute's Sam Kazman writes in the Wall Street Journal, "ATF has essentially banned anyone from yelling "L'Chaim!" (to life!) in a crowded liquor store. From the standpoint of either free speech or public health, one could not conceive of a more appropriate toast or of a more intemperate regulatory policy."

"A toast to your good health?" (2/18/99) The Indianapolis Star editorializes, "There are questions about the methodology of the studies showing the health benefits of a drink of wine at dinner."

"Old wine, new labels: Objections to advertising the virtues of vino" (2/18/99) The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorializes, "An op-ed piece in The New York Times said the wine industry's clout had overridden public health concerns and the labeling decision "exemplifies what is wrong with the political process in Washington." But as balance is the result, the political process has not failed. The government warnings will stay on the bottles, and the new information is merely an addition. And adding a suggestion to seek more information is not too unreasonable to swallow."

"Environmental Harassment" (2/18/99) The Detroit News editorializes, "Developers of the Humbug Island project on the Detroit River must be starting to feel as if they have wandered into the middle of the World Wrestling Federation tag team finals. Just as they turn to deal with objections made by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, they get blind-sided from the other end of the ring by the Army Corps of Engineers."

TOP STORY: Study a rotten tomato (2/17/99) Harvard's Edward Giovannucci threw a big, fat rotten tomato at the media -- and they lapped it up.

"The Week That Was February 8-14, 1999 (2/17/99) The weekly roundup from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.

"EPA May Change Lead Paint Rules" (2/17/99) It's the junk science-fueled lead abatement industry that will bear the brunt of this rule change.

"Ex-editor blasts AMA interference" (2/17/99) George Lundberg is still whining about being fired. I guess "Georgy's Gone" didn't cheer him up.

"Cancer risk worries TV towers' neighbors" (2/17/99) What a surprise. Another "cluster" blown away by the facts.

Salon junk: "Fear of fluoride" (2/17/99) Pure anti-chemical fearmongering by Mark Hertsgaard. Most of the fluroide epidemiology is null/negative with the remainder being only weakly positive -- a mix of results indicating there no true association. Fluroide has been reported as carcinogenic in only one sex/species of laboratory animal.

"Government stifled report on GM risks" (2/17/99) The Daily Telegraph reports "Genetically modified crops could wipe out some of our most familiar farmland birds, plants and animals, according to a suppressed report written for the Government last year." Maybe it was suppressed because it was just plain STUPID?

"Gore's goal: Greener education programs should get boost if he wins in 2000" (2/17/99) From Investor's Business Daily: "Environmental education may well top Gore's agenda. For more than a decade, Gore has been best known for his environmental views -- pushing dire forecasts of global warming and criticizing the impacts of industrial society on the ecosystem."

"Al Gore's secret war on biotechnology" (2/17/99) Henry Miller writes "But in spite of claims of 'reinventing government,' biotechnology regulation under the vice president's personal direction has been near-catastrophic for industry, academics and consumers."

"Gunmakers not liable for abuse" (2/17/99) The Deseret News asks "If gun manufacturers are liable for misuse of their legally produced products, as a New York court claims, where will the absurdity end?"

"State to Hear Public on Ant Eradication" (2/17/99) Is California plagued with fire ants or enviros?

"'Flagging for Bias' Can Unfairly Taint Studies" (2/17/99) A letter from the American Council on Science and Health in today's Wall Street Journal.

Nature editorializes for 'secret science' (2/16/99) The science journal Nature opposes the new data access law and urges the junk science establishment to work for its repeal. Don't let junk scientists and their cronies win. Enter the 'Secret Science' Sweepstakes!

"Tomato foods may prevent cancer, study says" (2/16/99) The dominant rationale here seems to be that 57 of 72 studies linked tomato intake with a reduced risk of cancer -- hardly "scientific." This sort of rationale ignores the phenomenon of "publication bias," where studies that show "positive" results tend to be published at the expense of studies that report null or "negative" results. A 1994 survey by the Academy of Emergency Medicine of the most widely read medical research journals found that 80 percent of published research consists of positive studies.

"There's No Meat to Anti-Food Irradiation Claims" (2/16/99) Mike Fumento does irradiation.

"Industry study: Olestra chips don't increase stomach problems" (2/16/99) Olestra has been linked with "anal leakage." I guess it's only appropriate this study is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Integrity bill requires peer review of agency regulatory data" (2/16/99) Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) has introduced the Science Integrity Act.

"Pesticide brochure is coming" (2/16/99) More on EPA's supermarket brochure on pesticides.

"Setting a record straight" (2/16/99) The Boston Herald gives "A small tip of the hat to the regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for admitting an error."

"Death as a cure" (2/16/99) The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on global warming and agriculture.

"For more openness" (2/16/99) Indiana has its own data access issue.

"The 'good nicotine, bad nicotine' debate" (2/15/99) This debate may soon be short-circuited by a product like this one.

"A Kook in Veep's Clothing?" (2/15/99) Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz puts the Pranay Gupte/Bonner Cohen Forbes article about Al Gore's enviro henchmen on page one of the "Style" section.

"Study: Bulimia may have biological cause" (2/15/99) USA Today reports, "Compared with normal women, the recovered bulimics reported bigger dips in mood, greater worries about body image and more fear of losing control of eating after being deprived of dietary tryptophan for about 17 hours, researchers said." Pardon me, but doesn't the proper experimental design compare bulimics deprived of tryptophan with bulimics not deprived?

"Sucking danger for teeth" (2/15/99) "Children should be encouraged to stop sucking fingers and thumbs as soon as possible to avoid having to wear braces as teenagers, according to a government expert."

"Government 'covered up food report'" (2/15/99) From the BBC: The scientist whose research sparked new fears over genetically modified (GM) foods has reportedly accused the government of covering up his findings."

"Lawyers, guns and money" (2/15/99) The New York Post editorializes, "Guns are indeed designed to injure and kill, but they have a legitimate use: self-defense against predators. Surveys of incarcerated criminals have shown repeatedly that a perp's worst nightmare is not a police officer, but an armed victim."

"Label this wine decision foolish" (2/15/99) Labeling wine as perhaps being "beneficial to your health" is silly -- it's based only on weak statistical correlation. Of course, the old labeling -- that alcohol can cause adverse health effects -- should be abandoned as well. I doubt anyone has benefitted from the warning.

"A 'wild' way to halt nuke waste" (2/15/99) In some ways I agree with this Deseret News editorial. Nuclear waste is not so dangerous that it must be stored in the middle of nowhere, miles underground. Nuke waste could easily be stored in engineered structures near where its generated. Of course, "easily" refers to technical, not political aspects.

"Discouraging teen smoking" (2/15/99) Compare this Baltimore Sun editorial with Bob Levy's op-ed (below) in yesterday's Washington Post.

"Blowing Smoke About Cigarettes" (2/14/99) Bob Levy writes, "Neither Gov. Parris Glendening nor President Clinton seems able to break his addiction to cigarette taxes, so smokers better get a tight grip on their wallets."

"Scientific 'research' too polluted at the EPA" (2/14/99) Bonner Cohen writes in the Washington Times, "There is something inherently dishonest about researchers eagerly accepting government grants and then refusing to disclose the underlying data supporting their conclusions to the people who funded the enterprise: the American taxpayers." Oppose such researcher dishonesty by entering the 'Secret Science' Sweepstakes.

"Rate of cancer 'not abnormal'; State agency studies area in Farmington" (2/14/99) Another "cancer cluster" bites the dust.

"Shampoo ingredient may help prevent AIDS" (2/14/99) Apparently the only thing holding up this "miracle" cure is that shampoo and toothpaste products "now are not formulated for the genital tract." Hmmm....

"U.S. 'Observers' Lobby Against Trade Curbs on Biotechnology: Accord Would Be First to Target Genetically Engineered Products" (2/13/99) "Genetic pollution is considerably more dangerous than oil spills."

Upcoming study trashes air pollution epidemiology (2/13/99) A study to be published in the March Environmental Health Perspectives reports that failure to account for confounding by the mathematical models used in air pollution epidemiology -- such as those studies cited by the EPA as suporting the need for more stringent air quality standards -- results in spurious associations and misguided confidence -- i.e., the studies are unreliable.

In her own words: Epidemiologist Patricia Buffler musters support for 'secret science' (2/13/99) The new data access law and proposed OMB rule are intended to fight junk science by allowing the public access to scientific data that it paid for and is used to impose regulation. Many epidemiologists oppose this concept. Why? I think this letter answers that question. You can oppose secret science and win a valuable prize by entering the 'Secret Science' Sweepstakes.

EPA launches program to scare food shoppers (2/13/99) Click here for the EPA food scare web site, including food scare brochure.

"Al Gore's war on the suburbs: Anti-Sprawl Moves May Be A Federal Power Grab" (2/13/99) Comrade Al Gore aided by EPA commissar Carol Browner want to tell you where to live and work, and how big your yard can be.

"Lawsuits vs. crapshoots" (2/13/99) The Boston Herald editorializes, "The Israelis and the Swiss own many more guns than Americans do, yet crime there is far less... If guns (or cigarettes or breast implants) are to be forbidden or encouraged, restricted or let alone, it ought to be by the action of law made by the people's representatives, not phalanxes of tort lawyers swarming into the courtroom."

"Alarm over 'Frankenstein' foods" (2/13/99) The Daily Telegraph (UK) reports, "A scientist who was condemned for saying that genetically modified foods could damage human health was backed last night by 20 scientists from around the world."

"New Zealand to vote on 'human rights for apes'" (2/13/99) So what? In the U.S., we elect baboons to Congress.

"Students will be creative in discouraging smoking" (2/13/99) "The overall concept, dubbed 'Artful Truth,' is to heighten children's awareness of the role propaganda plays in their everyday lives." Isn't the Nanny state worried this will backfire?

"Disclosure law worries researchers" (2/13/99) That should be "Disclosure law worries junk scientists."

"Scientific Responsibility in Global Climate Change Research" (2/12/99) A letter-to-the-editor of Science says "As the debate on global warming moves from the scientific to the policy world, we must be careful not to rush to publish. The price for a wrong decision based on spurious analyses may not be insignificant."

Fumble or fix?; MSNBC reporter omits FDA finding that tampon scare is Internet rumor (2/12/99) Tainted tampons or tainted reporting?

"The great asbestos ripoff" (2/12/99) The New York Post editorializes "So billions are spent every year abating a non-existent threat -- all because greedy tort lawyers saw an opportunity to target a product and an industry. And money that could have been spent on addressing genuine cancer risks is wasted."

"Lompoc Air Tests Fail to Explain Rash of Illnesses" (2/12/99) The Los Angeles Times reports "Respiratory sickness afflicts an unusually high number of residents in the farm town. Sampling does not support suspicions that pesticides are to blame."

"Bad Politics, Bad Meat" (2/12/99) The Los Angeles Times thinks more government regulation will improve food safety. But to the extent food safety can be improved, the answer likely lies in consumer education efforts and, ultimately, consumers responsibility. Food must be handled and cooked properly. An expanded bureaucracy that justifies its existence with food scares/recalls hardly represents improvement.

"Clean up Shattuck site" (2/12/99) That's easy for the Denver Post to say. It doesn't have to pay for the cleanup. First, I doubt the site poses a genuine hazard in its current state -- radiation hazards are typically exaggerated. The larger issue is wanting cleanup up but not wanting to pay for it. This exemplifies the main problem of the Superfund program -- local communities or the EPA demanding cadillac-style cleanups paid for with OPM -- other people's money.

"How Smart Is Smart Growth?" (2/12/99) The Detroit News editorializes "Smart growth, a land use concept, can easily be politicized and used as a phrase to cover pure anti-growth sentiments."

"Blinded By (Bad) Science? Critics: Sudan Factory Was Wrong Target for Payback" (2/11/99) "ABCNEWS has learned, however, that the Pentagonís Defense Intelligence Agency has conducted its own highly-classified review. It concludes that the decision to bomb was based on bad intelligence -- and bad science."

"Scientists Duplicate Positive Results With Experimental Cancer Drug" (2/11/99) A day after a Wall Street Journal article casts severe doubt on cancer drug angiostatin, National Cancer Institute scientists claim they have replicated Judah Folkman's original experiments on endostatin -- at least in Folkman's laboratory. The acid test will be replicating the results independent of Folkman.

"Tainted tampons?" (2/11/99) How can we argue with this science? Acute exposure to dioxin causes severe acne. Paper products, including tampons manufactured years ago, may contain trace levels of dioxin. Ruth used tampons. Ruth got endometriosis. Therefore, dioxin causes endometriosis. QED.

"Secret science" (2/11/99) A fantastic Washington Times editorial. It should spur you to enter the Secret Science Sweepstakes.

Forbes article: "Gore's Crusaders" (2/11/99) Check out the Feb. 22 issue of Forbes for "Gore's Crusaders" authored by Pranay Gupte and Bonner R. Cohen. The article closes with "You might think that the ideas in Earth in the Balance are kooky. Read the book anyway. You may have to live with its philosophy."

"When removing asbestos makes no sense: Risk of cancer in USA is barely measurable" (2/11/99) Part 4 of 4 in USA Today's series on asbestos.

Chicago weatherman skeptical of global warming hysteria (2/11/99) WGN-TV weatherman Tom Skilling discusses solar activity and climate.

"MTBE on way out, but when?" (2/11/99) The MTBE controversy is many things -- but it's not a public health issue. Click here to send your comments to the Sacramento Bee.

Shell sells out (again) to enviros (2/10/99) The Pew Center on Global Climate Change announced today that Shell International, a division of the Royal Dutch/Shell group, joined the Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council. So now when you fill up your gas tank, just drive on by Shell, BP, Amoco and Sunoco gas stations -- all Pew Center members. We wouldn't want consumption of their gasoline to add to any global warming, now would we?

Pew Climate Center report backfires: Models forecast doubling CO2 would have little impact on agriculture (2/10/99) Not that you should have any confidence in the Pew Climate Center anyway.

"Bettors wage on end of world" (2/10/99) From the Guardian (UK):"LONDON -- Would you put a bet on the end of the world? It might seem like a chancy wager, since no matter what the odds, it could never possibly be honored. But every week dozens of British punters are placing bets on Armageddon, possibly inspired by the millennium and the feeling of doom surrounding it. A survey of 1,001 adults found that 59 percent think they have more chance of experiencing the end of the world than winning the National Lottery. Most (33 percent) think the end will be caused by a world war, followed by global warming (26 percent) and collision with an asteroid (15 percent.) Bookmakers William Hill are offering odds over whether the end of the world is nigh. Graham Sharpe, media relations manager at William Hill, said many people placed very specific bets about when the world would end."

Ban hysteria, not MTBE (2/10/99) A version of this op-ed appears in today's Investor's Business Daily.

Highly touted cancer drug is junk (2/10/99) Last May, the share price of biotech company EntreMed went from about $12 to $85 in one morning based on a New York Times article that started out, "Within a year, if all goes well, the first cancer patient will be injected with two new drugs that can eradicate any type of cancer, with no obvious side effects and no drug resistance -- in mice." Not unexpectedly, it turns out this was much ado about nothing.

Consumer Reports to launch new scare about pesticides in the kids' diets (2/10/99) Reportedly a Feb. 10 tipsheet from the Society of Environmental Journalists says Consumer Reports plans to release a study on Feb. 18 claiming that even a single serving of some produce can exceed a child's safe daily limit of pesticides.

"Integrity dysfunction?" (2/10/99) So says Anne Fennell about the Journal of the American Medical Association's failure to disclose that the authors of this study about sexual dysfunction were paid consultants to Viagra manufacturer Pfizer. Click h ere for the American Council on Science and Health view on the issue of disclosure.

EPA, CDC find sulfate in drinking water not associated with diarrhea (2/10/99) Concerns had been raised that susceptible populations, such as infants, travelers or people who move from areas with low sulfate in the water to high sulfate, were at increased risk of diarrhea. The study was not able to examine potential effects in infants because few women gave their infants tap water. Sulfate is a naturally occurring substance.

"A matter of 'sprawl'" (2/10/99) The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorializes, "If you throw a communist out the front door, he comes back through the window as an environmentalist. If you throw an environmentalist out the door, he comes back through the window as an urban land-use planner."

"The next battle in the census war" (2/10/99) "The Washington Times editorializes "As Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a concurring opinion signed by four justices, a genuine enumeration probably represents 'the most accurate way of determining population with minimal possibility of political manipulation.' An administration led by a president who manipulates the definition of the very word 'is' to suit his convenience can hardly be trusted to implement 'statistical sampling' in a fair and nonpartisan manner. "

"Sense in the census" (2/10/99) The Indianapolis Star editorializes, "Despite conventional wisdom and partisan speculation, there is no proof that sampling will improve the accuracy of the census. Lacking that proof, the country should avoid the political risks inherent in sampling and stick with the constitutional mandate of a head count."

"Anti-fur measure mocks the law " (2/10/99) The Deseret news editorializes, "The problems of Beverly Hills and its residents who buy $10,000 fur coats at exclusive Rodeo Drive salons normally wouldn't concern us, but stupid ideas have to start somewhere."

"The Week That Was February 1-7, 1999" (2/9/99) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.

"`A Civil Action'-Style Toxics Threaten Californians EPA must strengthen right-to-know rules" (2/9/99) Should a movie or science drive public policy?

"Polish town chokes on asbestos" (2/9/99) The second USA Today's four-part series on asbestos.

"Unseasonably warm weather likely to continue" (2/9/99) Congrats to the Sun-Sentinel (South Florida) for this balanced explanation for warmer-tha-usual Florida temps: "The reasons for the long-term warming trend, which scientists say has been evident since 1976, are unclear. It may in part be blamed on greenhouse effect, or man-made gasses being trapped in the atmosphere. Or it may be the result of more natural causes, such as El Nino warmings of the Pacific Ocean, scientists say. The only thing weather experts are sure of is that the Earth has continually experienced subtle -- and sometimes dramatic -- climate changes over the millenniums.

"Population summit" (2/9/99) "Unfortunately, the prophets of doom have mostly dominated the microphone in discussions of world population growth - and have mostly spouted nonsense."

"Invasion of the eco snatchers" (2/9/99) More on President Clinton's war against weeds.

"Life after Hanford" (2/9/99) A Hanford "downwinder" is bitterly disappointed he can't blame his cancer on the federal government.

"Stamping out cigarettes" (2/9/99) The New York Post says "The bowdlerizers at the U.S. Postal Service are up to their dirty deeds once again -- or perhaps we should say, their sanitizing deeds."

"Sandia Shows Way To Eliminate Waste" (2/9/99) The Albuquerque Journal editorializes, "Over the years, the U.S. Department of Energy has received attention for its waste -- bureaucratic waste, economic waste and the creation of the environmental kind. But cleanup efforts at Sandia National Laboratories deserve mention for apparently solving an environmental problem -- and doing it at a fraction of original estimates on cost."

"Superfund revisted" (2/9/99) Contrary to this Christian Science Monitor editorial, the Superfund law and implementation by the EPA have been fiscal and environmental disasters. Superfund promotes blame not cleanup. About $60 billion has been spent for very little cleanup. The EPA has not been compelled to use good science in assessing cleanup needs because the law allows the EPA to spend other people's money. This has led to litigation and delay -- not cleanup. The existing Superfund law should be scrapped.

"Cholesterol -- Too Much? Too Little?" (2/9/99) Nutrition News Focus says no good science shows lower-is-better for cholesterol.

Mercury in dental fillings; The problem is in your head? (2/8/99) So say German scientists in the New Scientist.

"Rise in asthma cases linked to fuel additive, lawmakers told" (2/8/99) A University of Penssylvania scientist claims to have found a link between MTBE and asthma because the asthma rate among Stamford, CN kindergarteners rose allegedly from 7 percent in 1992-1993 to 24 percent in 1996 -- a period of time coinciding with MTBE use. Tell the Hartford Courant's editors this type of logic -- i.e., statistical coincidence -- also implicates Beanie Babies.

"The asbestos epidemic - a global crisis" (2/8/99) Part 1 of a four-part USA Today series.

"No Duty to Warn of Norplant Side Effects" (2/8/99) The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals deals a blow to ambulance chasers.

Fen-phen controversy remains (2/8/99) Despite "conventional wisdom" the diet drug combination fen-phen caused harmed heart valves, an editorial in the journal Circulation points out effects from fen-phen, if any, remain unclear. The editorial states "Studies presented at [the recent 71st Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association] varied widely, with physicians and researchers reporting from 0 to 29 percent of patients with valvular heart disease in their studies. 'Their is great discordance,' said Robert Bonow, MD chief of the division of cardiology at Northwestern University of Medicine..." Bonow went on to speculate the reasons for such discordance could range from referral bias or differences in interpretations of echocardiography.

"Acid Test: Never forget the moral of Danegeld " (2/8/99) A Daily Telegraph article on corporate efforts to appease enviros.

"The Cancer-Cluster Myth" (2/8/99) A great piece from the New York Post.

"Zero-Emissions Automobile a Dream Machine Driven by Air" (2/8/99) Yeah... hot air.

"A house and yard not a greedy thing" (2/8/99) The Boston Herald says "The regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a new cause: fighting sprawl. This cause is better left to others."

"Misplacing the Blame for Our Troubles on 'Flat, Not Tall' Spaces" (2/8/99) Virginia Postrel writes in the Los Angeles Times, "The anti-sprawl campaign seeks to impose a static, uniform future through nostalgic appeals to an idealized past. It does indeed have much in common with the least tolerant elements of the religious right. It is just less honest."

"Prevent Clinton from using loophole to corrupt the census" (2/8/99) Julie M. Syzdlowski says in the Detroit News "Clinton justifies his intentions for a double census based on the estimated 1.6 percent of the population that was not counted in the 1990 census. Overlooking a 98.4 percent accuracy rate, he insists that proper representation of traditionally undercounted areas, such as inner cities with large black and Hispanic populations, is achieved by inventing the identities of overlooked people. Rather than demanding even greater numerical accuracy in the original count, Clinton believes guesswork is more equitable."

"City's lawsuit against gun makers aimed at wrong target" (2/8/99) Attorney Ross Wright asks in the Cincinnati Post, "I know people who lawfully own guns and keep their guns in a secure location. Their guns have never jumped out and started shooting people by themselves. I don't know of any guns that can do this, does anyone on council?"

"A population time bomb" (2/8/99) The Boston Globe apparently thinks there are too many Asians and Africans. No word on whether there are too many Gores and Kennedys.

"Gray dawn transforming our future" (2/8/99) This Denver Post article says "Global aging could trigger a crisis that engulfs the world economy." The article points also points out the Pentagon predicts outbreaks of anarchy based on so-called "youth-buldges." Take home lesson: There are too many old people and too many young people. For social planners, I suppose, there are just too many people?

Science journal editor murders wife (2/8/99) A senior editor for the Journal of the National Cancer Institute was charged with strangling his wife.

"Clinton's Illegal Assault On the Tobacco Industry" (2/8/99) Bob Levy writes in the Wall Street Journal, "... following the Florida model, the feds will ask the court to ignore the traditional requirement that causation be demonstrated on a smoker-by-smoker basis."

"AGU's Trifecta of Climate Error" (2/7/99) David Wojick comments in Electricity Daily (Feb. 8), "The policy statement on climate change recently issued by the American Geophysical Union (E-Daily, Feb. 2) is a trifecta of error. It is inappropriate, unfortunate and incorrect."

"Annual 'Hawk Watch' Sees Birds of Prey Rebounding " (2/7/99) The Los Angeles Times moves closer to an accurate explanation for the rebound of birds of prey. But the Times insists on crediting the increase in bald eagles to banning DDT. But no scientific data shows that environmental levels of DDT disrupt avian reproduction.

"Alameda County considers boycotting Oreos; Snacks made by firms with tobacco ties are target" (2/7/99) Simply unbelievable.

"Fireplace Ban Plan Spreads To Palo Alto" (2/7/99) When's the next Boston Tea Party?

"No way to control guns" (2/7/99) The St. Petersburg Times editorializes "This epidemic of running to the courthouse to address every public ill needs to stop."

"Livability" (2/6/99) "Livability" is Al Gore-speak for empowering EPA to direct where we live and work.

"Don't blame the heat" (2/6/99) CDC scientist Paul Reiter straightens out the New Scientist on global warming and vector-borne disease.

"Researcher Falsified Cancer Data" (2/6/99) "The fabricated data, involving as it did just one patient on each trial, will not affect these trials' results." Is this like being a "little bit pregnant?"

"Wine labels now can suggest health benefits" (2/6/99) In December, the National Toxicology Program labeled alcohol a "known human carcinogen" -- the implication being that any exposure increases cancer risk. Now, another bunch of bureaucrats says alcohol may actually be good for you. Can I get a refund of my federal taxes?

"Lions and tigers and bears - Oh, no!" (2/6/99) The New York Post editorializes, "Life in the nanny state can be confusing. The government goes out of its way to protect us kiddies from ourselves, strapping us into cars with mandated airbags and must-wear seatbelts. But when it comes to laws limiting things that actually pose a deadly threat - like, for example, 400-pound Bengal tigers - there oughta be a law!"

"Enviro-Rancher Fight Runs Another Cycle" (2/6/99) The Albuquerque Journal editorializes "Given the emotional and ideological baggage of the ranchers vs. those who would remove all livestock from the national forests, there would appear to be little chance for pure science to carry the day in this cause."

"Junk science sinking the judicial system" (2/6/99) Carole K. Jones asks in the Record (Bergen County, NJ), "Is America's judicial system starting to slide backward into the morass of a Dark Age, where rationality is banned and the junkiest of junk science warmly embraced?"

"The war against invading plants" (2/6/99) President Clinton declares war on weeds.

"Attempt to Undercut Peer-Review of the Everglades Re-Study Rejects Sound Science: Taxpayer Group Slams Babbitt's Whitewash" (2/5/99) "Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) Foundation today criticized Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt's attempt to circumvent full-fledged peer review of the Florida Re-Study."

House Science Committee prioritizes oversight of EPA science (2/5/99) Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Pa), chairman of the House Science Committee, stated in a media release on Feb. 3, "Clearly, over the next two years, this Committee must deal with such on-going issues as the Kyoto Protocol, Year 2000 conversion problems, implementation of the Commercial Space Act and Russian involvement with the International Space Station. But other pressing issues, such as science education, sound science at EPA and other agencies, and proper oversight of the agencies under our jurisdiction, will also be high atop our list of priorities."

"Report: Pollution policy faulty; EPA environmental justice guidelines could face overhaul" (2/5/99) "The investigative arm of Congress has concluded that the Environmental Protection Agency sidestepped federal law in issuing a controversial policy linking pollution with racism."

"Pickups, Sport-Utility Vehicles May Face Tougher EPA Rules" (2/5/99) The Wall Street Journal reports "The proposal's cost is unclear. Estimates for mechanisms to meet California's standards range from $190 a vehicle to more than $1,000."

"Panel: Climate Watcher Inadequate" (2/5/99) The Associated Press reports "A government advisory panel says it has concerns about the accuracy of data being used to fuel the intense debate over possible climate change."

"Oxygen link to miscarriages" (2/5/99) An ironic twist. Earlier this week the New England Journal of Medicine published a study reporting that tobacco use was associated with miscarriage. The underlying theory was smoking redcued oxygen to the fetus. This report says too much oxygen causes miscarriage. Hmmm....

"Population growth inflames" (2/5/99) Negative Population Growth's Meredith Burke writes in the San Francisco Examiner that "California is a state that surpassed its ecologically sustainable population of 10 million in 1950." It's too bad Meredith's parents never worried about overpopulation.

"Public health campaign on guns" (2/5/99) At least this BBC article acknowledges data do not exist that show assault weapon restrictions and trigger locks are effective in reducing gun injuries.

"Depoliticize Emissions Issue" (2/5/99) The Los Angeles Times editorializes in favor of legislation to be introduced next week by Sen. John Chafee (R-RI) that would credit companies who take steps now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The enviros criticize the plan as "all carrot, no stick." I say both Chafee and the enviros want to stick the carrot right up our collective you-know-what.

"Chilean red wines may be best for your health, study suggests" (2/4/99) Now if someone would only prove that red wine consumption provides a significant health benefit -- notwithstanding the "French paradox."

"Pluto will stay a planet, not be downgraded" (2/4/99) The stars are in alignment for Pluto and Bill Clinton.

"3rd Circuit Refines 'Daubert' Standard in Toxic Tort Cases" (2/4/99) "Refining the standards for admitting expert testimony in toxic tort cases, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the dismissal of a products liability suit brought by a Chester County, Pa. family who claimed that gaseous emissions from their new carpet made them sick."

Maugh-ed again (2/4/99) Los Angeles Times' medical reporter Thomas Maugh says a new study "confirms" the link between smoking and miscarriage. Click here for my analysis. Tell the Times' editors the only thing that has been "confirmed" is the need to reassign Maugh to the obituary beat. Click here for the study abstract. Click here for the NEJM editorial.

"Imported jewelry is linked to lead poisoning in Utah: Religious necklaces are cited in health warning" (2/4/99) I don't think a blood lead level of 18 micrograms/deciliter constitutes "lead poisoning." When I was a lad, the danger level was 60 µg/dl. That the anti-lead lobby has forced the standard down to 10 -- and still pushes for even a lower standard -- is more testimony to their refusal to find something else to do rather than public health need.

"Toxic Cleanup at Belmont May Cost Millions" (2/4/99) Los Angeles bureaucrats build a school on land purchased without adequate environmental testing. It's no problem, though. Taxpayers will foot the $10 million cleanup.

Some Civil Friction (2/4/99) USA Today features two factually pathetic op-eds on the movie "A Civil Action." Click here for the op-ed by John Travolta's character Jan Schlictmann and here for the op-ed by Paul DiPerna.

"Chemical Risks: Industry reaching out to inform public of dangers" (2/4/99) From the Houston Chronicle: "Oil and chemical industries along the Houston Ship Channel and in the Galveston Bay area intend to exceed federal guidelines in their effort to tell the public about the potential dangers inherent with an accidental release of toxic or flammable chemicals, including so-called "worst-case scenarios" involving chemical spills or other plant events that could literally endanger the lives of thousands."

"AMA, editor resolve differences" (2/4/99) JAMA will allow fired editor George Lundberg to write articles.

"Beef-on-bone ban to stay" (2/4/99) Mad Cow or Mad Government?

Mike Fumento: $200 million man? (2/3/99) Last month, Forbes published Mike Fumento's article< /a> about a junk science attack by Checkpoint Systems on Sensormatic, Inc. -- both manufacturers of electronic anti-shoplifting devices. Since Fumento's article, the price of Sensormatic's stock increased roughly $3 per share -- a gain in market value in excess of $200 million. Meanwhile, Checkpoint's stock slid about $2 per share -- roughly a $60 million loss in market value. I guess for Checkpoint Systems, crime didn't pay.

"Cocaine, tobacco use and miscarriage" (2/3/99) Will blowhard Joe Califano go nuts over this study?

Proposed data access rule (2/3/99) The proposed data access rule will be in tomorrow's Federal Register. But it's HERE today.

"Uranium blamed for Gulf War Syndrome " (2/3/99) The BBC reports "Sixteen British Gulf War veterans say they have proof they are suffering from radiation poisoning, caused by materials in the weapons used by the Allies."

"'Suburban sprawl' poses no crisis" (2/3/99) Steven Hayward opines in the Deseret News, "The vice president has branded his proposal with the label "smart growth," but it's merely the latest repackaging of liberal disdain for the suburban way of life."

"On drunken driving, .08 makes sense -- still" (2/3/99) So says the Baltimore Sun. Too bad a recent state of North Carolina study failed to confirm that the 0.08 level makes a difference in traffic fatalities. Click here for the study in PDF format.

"County to Be Quarantined Over Fire Ants" (2/3/99) Rather than pest control, California plans a dirt-control bureaucracy. By the way, how do they plan on stopping the fire ants from simply flying across the Orange County line?

"Health Canada probes cellphone dangers: Suspicion of ill effects refuses to go away" (2/2/99) The Ottawa Citizen reports "A bureau analysis paper says... [a survey of the public] could identify problems such as headaches, fatigue and depression 'that may be related to the length of time a person uses a cellular telephone.'" A survey? Health Canada, Statistics Canada,... how about Junk Science Canada?

"The Week That Was January 25-31, 1999" (2/2/99) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.

"JAMA and editorial independence" (2/2/99) David Walker points out that this editorial is perhaps more aptly named "East coast liberals close ranks."

"AGU Adopts Activist Policy on Global Warming" (2/2/99) From Electricty Daily: "Steve Hochman, editor of the Washington Pest, a gadfly publication, sent a letter to AGU President John Knauss saying, 'The debate of global warming will continue... but your organization's irrational and premature statement will be etched in stone. You can no longer be viewed as a serious scientific organization. Perhaps you should recommend that the Defense Department spend trillions to defend against the onslaught of aliens traveling from distant planets, despite the level of scientific uncertainty!'"

"Congress dubious of clean-air funding" (2/2/99) David Mastio reports in the Detroit News "Lawmakers already are charging that the Environmental Protection Agency is using its budget request to implement the Kyoto global warming treaty before the Senate ratifies the international pact."

"Preventative mastectomy; Happy acceptance of a horrific procedure" (2/2/99) Michael Fumento writes in the Chicago tribune, "To the media, it was wonderful news. A Jan. 14 New England Journal of Medicine study showed there's a highly successful treatment for preventing breast cancer. The downside, alas, is that it entails lopping off both breasts."

"No explanation for high number of January tornadoes" (2/2/99) Is the Associated Press slipping? What kind of headline is that? Can't global warming be blamed?

"Termites may solve cow methane problem" (2/2/99) Should we look for after-dinner termites, instead of mints, at Mexican restaurants?

"Medical Journals Rarely Disclose Researchers' Ties, Drawing Ire" (2/2/99) Wake me when there's a news article about disclosure of bias in government- funded research.

"'Political' Science And Secondhand Smoke" (2/2/99) Robert Sexton writes in Investor's Business Daily: "As a nonsmoker, the debate about environmental tobacco smoke isn't really about smoking. Rather, it's about the integrity in science and how the EPA manipulated that science for political purposes."

"Public concern justifies St. Lucie cancer search" (2/2/99) The Florida Department of Health continues a quixotic investigation of a cancer cluster.

"Water and politics" (2/2/99) "Another" global crisis...

February Environmental Health Perpsectives (2/1/99) Click here for the table of contents, news summaries and abstracts in the February issue of EHP. Note the editorial advocating mindless application of the "precautionary principle."

NAS opposes data access law (2/1/99) A dark moment for the NAS.

Researchers question a reported global decline in sperm counts (2/1/99) From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"UN presses for worldwide curbs on tobacco" (2/1/99) The Sunday Telegraph reports: "The United Nations agency plans to introduce the world's first public health treaty by 2003. It would be legally binding if ratified by member states and would cover areas such as the harmonisation of taxes on tobacco and legislation on smuggling, advertising, sponsorship and labelling."

"EPA considers costly new drinking-water standard for arsenic" (2/1/99) The Associated Press reports "With new federal drinking water standards looming, New Mexico could face hundreds of millions of dollars in costs to clean up water that has been volcanically contaminated for millions of years."

"The Uncertainty Principle" (2/1/99) The Detroit News editorializes: "Until science provides better answers, Congress should not allow the Clinton administration to waste taxpayer dollars on what may yet turn out to be a phantom threat - the calls of a small group of activist scientists notwithstanding."

"There's a big pork in global warming" (2/1/99) The Boston Herlad editorializes: "The Clinton administration is nothing if not bull-headed. The president is coming back to try again for a huge pot of money to make a lot of people feel better about what may be a fairy-tale threat: global warming."

USA Today debate: Mad Cow Disease (2/1/99) Click here for the USA Today view ("Overreaction may be a risk, but some screening is prudent."). Click here for a more reasoned view ("Theoretical risk must be balanced against availability of blood.").

"The syndrome that isn't" (2/1/99) "In the war over so-called Gulf War Syndrome, the conspiracy theorists just lost another round."

"I lost it at the movies" (2/1/99) Chemical and Engineering News reviews "A Civil Action."

"Research targets hazardous waste" (2/1/99) This Chemical and Engineering News article focuses on research related to Superfund.

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