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Archives - June 2000

June 30, 2000

"Daily low-dose aspirin not good for all - doctors" - "Taking low-dose aspirins to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke can cause more harm than good in some men, British doctors said on Friday." (Reuters) | BMJ media release | Study | BBC

"Auto industry groups debate safety of secondhand air bags" - "An industry group says that air bags removed from junk vehicles are unsafe, though salvage yard owners dispute that and say such bags are a cheap alternative to expensive new safety devices." (AP)

"UK finds cow with BSE born after August 1996" - "British Agriculture Minister Nick Brown revealed on Thursday that a cow born after measures were introduced to eradicate mad cow disease had been found to have BSE." (Reuters)

"UK Gulf War vets have similar death rates to others" - "British veterans of the Gulf War report more illnesses than other members of the military but their death rates are only slightly higher, researchers said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Brazil court foils Monsanto again on GM soybeans" - "U.S. biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. has taken another blow in Brazil's courts after a judge upheld a ban against the sale of the company's transgenic soybeans without a prior study on local environmental impact." (Reuters)

"Blood link to CJD 'not ruled out'" - "It is still too early to rule out a link between the human form of 'mad cow disease' and blood transfusions, say doctors." (BBC)

"Normal death rates found among women employed in nuclear weapons plants" - "Unless they were exposed frequently to radiation, women employed in the nuclear weapons industry during the Cold War may not have been in any more danger than if they had worked other jobs, a study of thousands of female defense workers suggests. " (AP)

"Closed mines poisoning air in Russian town" - "When Maria Grogulenko needs a bucket of potatoes or a jar of jam from the basement pantry, she puts on her gas mask." (BBC)

"EU backs ban on 'mild' tobacco claims" - "European Union health ministers backed tough new controls on Thursday which would ban European cigarette makers from using terms such as 'mild' and force them to put larger health warnings on packets." (CNN)

June 29, 2000

"Report: Herbicide could cause cancer" - "The most commonly used herbicide in the USA has been upgraded from a 'possible' to a 'likely' carcinogen in a draft report prepared by scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency. " (USA Today)

Some comments about the article and atrazine:
  • The EPA reports is simply a draft document. It has not been finalized. It is currently being reviewed by the pesticide experts on the EPA's Scientific Advisory Panel.
  • The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer recently placed atrazine in the same category as tea, rubbing alcohol and talc -- i.e., "not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans."
  • "...a pooled analysis of three of the case-control studies [on atrazine] and the combined analysis of two retrospective follow-up studies [on atrazine] did not demonstrate the types of dose-response or induction time patterns that would be expected if triazines were causal factors [for cancer]." [Crit Rev Toxicol 1997 Nov;27(6):599-612]
  • Contrary to the EPA quote that "seasonal drinking water contamination could be widespread," monitoring for atrazine in 21,000 community water supplies shows that atrazine is rarely detected (99.7% of the measurements were below EPA's limit of 3 parts per billion; 90% were no-detects). The concern over "contamination implies overexposure when, in fact, very little or no exposure occurs.
  • Atrazine-induced tumors only occur in Sprague-Dawley rats. The mode of action is known and is not relevant to humans.

"Al Gore, Environmentalist and Zinc Miner" - "The author of "Earth in the Balance" has a zinc mine on his farm in Carthage, Tennessee which has been shown to pollute both water and soil in the Cumberland River Valley." (Micah Morrison in The Wall Street Journal)

"More research needed on cell-phone safety, WHO says " - "The World Health Organization says there is no evidence to prove that cellular phones pose any health risks, but also says further research is needed." (AP)

"13 million died from preventable diseases in 1999, report says" -

"13 million died from preventable diseases in 1999, report says" - "In a sign of deteriorating public-health services, 13 million people died from preventable diseases last year, according to a report published Wednesday by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies." (AP)

"Coca-Cola agrees to environmental initiatives " - "Under fire from environmentalists, the Coca-Cola Co. said Tuesday that it would have in place new policies on the use of ozone-depleting hydrofluorocarbons in refrigeration by the time of the 2004 Olympics." (AP)

"Fish farms 'devastate' wild stocks" - "Fish farms might seem a sensible alternative to over-fishing the world's oceans but a new report says they have a disastrous impact on both the environment and on stocks of wild fish." (BBC)

"Red Cross warns on climate" - "The world's largest non-governmental aid organisation says the developed countries' polluting lifestyles represent a massive debt owed to the poor." (BBC)

"Anti-inflammatory coating cuts side effects of implants" - "Many people who receive medical implants experience painful inflammation in the tissue areas surrounding the device. The way the body responds to the implant depends on the surface properties of the device itself." (Reuters)

"Mobile phone users report headaches, "burning" skin" - "Norwegian and Swedish users of mobile phones commonly report headaches, warmth on the ear and burning sensations of the facial skin, according to a report published in a recent issue of the journal Occupational Medicine." (Reuters)

"Oregon jury awards fen-phen users $29.1 mln" - "An Oregon jury on Tuesday awarded a total of $29.1 million in damages for two former users of diet drug cocktail fen-phen, but American Home Products Corp., the maker of the diet treatment, said it plans to appeal the verdict." (Reuters)

"GAO calls for oversight of medical device reuse" - "Although there is little evidence that the reprocessing and reuse of single-use medical devices is a threat to public health, the practice does warrant more intensive study and oversight, the General Accounting Office told a Senate committee Tuesday." (Reuters)

"EPA disregards children's health, says MD group" - "The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) accused the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Wednesday of endangering children's health by 'mounting a massive delay strategy' instead of taking steps to reduce levels of known hazardous chemicals in the environment." (Reuters)

"Cigarettes caused illnesses, Newport maker's CEO says" - "The head of a tobacco company founded before the American Revolution told a Miami courtroom on Wednesday that cigarettes caused the lung cancer, emphysema and other illnesses of some Florida smokers suing Big Tobacco." (Reuters)

"Canada to require grotesque new tobacco labels" - "Smokers in Canada are to be confronted with grotesque depictions of cancerous tumours, sexual impotence or other afflictions under tobacco packaging regulations the government says are the toughest in the world." (Reuters)

"Midwest governors fault EPA over gasoline prices" - "Illinois Gov. George Ryan and Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson told the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the Environmental Protection Agency shares the blame for high gasoline prices paid by Midwest consumers." (Reuters)

"RFG not to blame for high Midwest gas prices--EPA" - "U.S. Environmental Agency Administrator Carol Browner told a congressional committee Wednesday that extremely high gasoline prices in the Midwest should not be blamed on new regulations for producing clean-burning reformulated gasoline (RFG)." (Reuters)

"USDA to publish acres planted using biotech seeds" - "The U.S. Agriculture Department said Wednesday the June Acreage report to be released on Friday will include the acreage of genetically modified crops planted by U.S. farmers last month." (Reuters)

June 28, 2000

"Research Links Deaths With Pollutants" - "The study was conducted by an independent scientific organization funded by auto manufacturers and the Environmental Protection Agency and is scheduled to be released on Wednesday by the Health Effects Institute of Cambridge, Mass. It found a 1 percent rise in the death rate for each small increase of tiny particles in the air and a 2 percent to 4 percent increase in hospitalization of the elderly. The quantity of particles -- 20 micrograms per cubic meter -- is equivalent to about seven ten-millionths of an ounce." (New York Times) | Report

This is statistics, not science -- very weak statistics based on very limited data, at that. These investigators have not been able to link a single death with particulate air pollution. There is no data on exposures to individuals. There is no data on individuals' health.

"New York Jury Rejects Ex-Smoker's Cancer Claim" - "A jury in the New York State Supreme Court for Kings County in Brooklyn on Tuesday rejected claims by a former smoker and his wife that he got lung cancer and emphysema from smoking, lawyers said." (Reuters)

"Gore unveils $75 billion energy, environment plan" - "Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Al Gore proposed a $75 billion energy efficiency plan on Tuesday as the first step toward an unpolluted era of solar powered homes, gasoline-free cars and independence from foreign oil." (Reuters) Related material: Global Climate Coalition media release

"The Enviro-Luddites Strike Again" - "Upstate New York is doing OK these days, economically speaking, but things could be better. Maybe they would be better, if enviro-luddites like the Trust for Whatever weren't so hell-bent on making investment in the Empire State such an expensive chore." (New York Post editorial)

Frankentony - "As you may know, Kellogg's is under renewed attack from Greenpeace, and is being singled out for targeting by Greenpeace's 'True Food' campaign. Because of its high visibility, trying to get Kellogg to stop using GMO products is an important component in Greenpeace's anti-GMO campaign. Likewise, because of its high visibility and because of the news appeal of 'Frankentony' Kellogg could indeed be vulnerable. The renewed attack on Kellogg is coming after shareholders defeated a resolution to stop using GMO crops in their products. One of the shareholder groups bringing pressure against Kellogg is the Sisters of St. Joseph."

"Surgeon general calls on doctors, insurers to beef up anti-smoking efforts" - "A majority of Americans who smoke want to quit but get little help from their doctors, who often don't even ask whether they smoke or offer treatments, according to a report released Tuesday." (AP) | Related coverage: Reuters

"Scientists say textbooks are big - ideas they hold aren't" - "Word quizzes and splashy color drawings of cells are staples of U.S. high school biology textbooks, but they do little to help students understand scientific advances that are changing people's lives, according to scientists who reviewed 10 top biology texts." (AP)

"Photocopiers emit low levels of air-polluting chemicals" - "While the level of individual chemicals emitted by photocopy machines is well below the legal limit, the mixture of these compounds may contribute to symptoms of so-called "sick building syndrome," researchers suggest." (Reuters)

"'Digestible' carbohydrate may boost colorectal cancer risk" - "Previous studies have not agreed on whether or not eating lots of carbohydrates is a risk for colon cancer. In a new study, Canadian researchers set aside the fiber content of carbohydrates, which may reduce the risk, and examined the remainder, or "digestible" carbohydrate, namely sugars and starches. The result: their study showed that people consuming the highest amounts of digestible carbohydrates had a higher risk for developing colorectal cancer compared with those eating the lowest amounts." (Reuters)

"Injuries prompt recall of 'Sky Dancer' toys" - "Numerous reports of injuries have led to the recall of 8.9 million of the popular 'Sky Dancer' children's toys, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)." (Reuters)

"Canada E. coli toll may now be 21" - "The death toll from an E. coli epidemic that struck a small Canadian farming community in Ontario last month may have risen to 21, with three more deaths reported, Canadian health officials said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Greenpeace wants GM cotton in Greece destroyed" - "Greenpeace on Tuesday demanded the destruction of genetically-modified cotton it said has been planted in Greece in defiance of a European Union ban on gene-altered cotton seed." (Reuters)

"Environment bill for EU hopefuls questioned" - "The European Union has overestimated the burden of investments needed by eastern European candidate countries to bring their environments into line for membership of the bloc, a think-tank said on Tuesday. " (Reuters)

"EU pushes animal welfare into WTO arena" - "The move is likely to anger the United States, which has long been suspicious of the EU's motives in this area, believing them to be a protectionist smokescreen." (Reuters)

"Greenpeace takes toxic waste to Roche chairman's home" - "Greenpeace activists delivered a barrel of toxic waste to the home of Roche Chairman Fritz Gerber on Tuesday to press home demands that Swiss companies clean up a chemical landfill in western Switzerland." (Reuters)

"When Malthus Meets Mendel" - "Whatever the outcome of the biotechnology debate, it promises to be a long, grinding argument that will continue to pit nongovernmental organizations against corporate boardrooms, the sovereign right of nations to decide what food is safe against the growing drive to eliminate barriers to trade, and the inexorable forces of the market economy against the steady degradation of the global environment. Meanwhile, millions of hungry people are consigned to wait and watch on the sidelines, as the rest of the world struggles to unravel the complex legacy of a lone Czech monk tending pea plants in his monastery garden" (Mike Straub in Foreign Policy)

"Smog spells invisible damage for crops" - "Ground-level ozone pollution, also known as smog, is eating away at agriculture all over the world. Worse yet, new research in Europe reveals the damage to crops isn't always visible." (CNN)

"Far-Flung Climate Changes Seen as Factors in Drought" - "Al Dutcher, Nebraska's state climatologist, doesn't wish any hard luck on West Texas. Just the same, it would be a relief for Nebraska if a hurricane from the Gulf of Mexico tracks lots of rain northward into his drought-stricken state." (FoxNews.com)

"Brazilians wrangle over biotech crops" - "Antonio is a third-generation Brazilian planter with 1,200 acres and one pit bull. The dog is not for bandits or trespassers. It is for government officials who might want to inspect Antonio’s fields, particularly the 250 acres he will use to grow illegal genetically modified soybeans." (MSNBC)

June 27, 2000

"Much gene study remains" - "Yesterday's news conference on the human genome was mostly hype." (Boston Herald editorial)

"Cigar makers agree to health warnings" - "The government ordered tough new health warnings on cigar packages Monday, requiring manufacturers to prominently display messages warning of health risks and the effects of second-hand smoke - a first for a tobacco product." (AP) | Related coverage: CNN | Reuters | MSNBC

"An 'Alice-in-Wonderland' Approach to Disease Prevention" - "In paid advertisements in newspapers such as the New York Times, an organization known as Health-Track, describing itself as supported by the "Pew Charitable Trusts Through a Grant to Georgetown University," has, in essence, convicted 'pollution, toxic waste and chemicals' as a cause of human disease -- while at the same time calling for a trial to look into these allegations. " (ACSH editorial)

"Double crops, cut the acreage by 2010, predicts plant scientist " - "Imagine two crops of corn or soybeans each growing season. Plant in March, harvest in July. Plant another crop, harvest in November. What to most farmers would sound like pure foolishness could become a reality within a decade, according to a Purdue University plant scientist." (Purdue University media release)

"Smoking Associated with Other Risky Behaviors" - "Adolescents who smoke are more likely to engage in other unhealthful behaviors as well, according to a survey of over 15,000 adolescent orthodontic patients in Southern California." (Center for the Advancement of Health media release)

"USDA sets zero bacteria standard for federal meat" - "The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said on Friday it would not tolerate any trace of certain illness-causing bacteria in beef purchased for the National School Lunch and federal programs." (Reuters)

"Brazil stops vessel carrying Argentine GM corn" - "A cargo of Argentine corn purchased by Brazilian poultry and pig farms tested positive for genetically modified (GM) material and may not enter Brazil, the Agriculture Ministry said on Monday. " (Reuters)

"French GM research project sabotaged" - "Researchers said on Monday they planned legal action after unidentified assailants broke into a laboratory, caused millions of francs worth of damage and set back a study of genetically modified crops by two years." (Reuters)

"Comprehending cancer headlines" - "With the deluge of medical information now available in the media, patients need to examine the evidence and not be swayed by the latest news report." (MSNBC)

June 26, 2000

"Environmentalists and killer bees" - "The killer bees, which have attacked many Americans and killed about a dozen people in the last few years, are a good example of traditional cross-breeding run amok... If the Brazilian apiarists could have employed biotechnology or single-gene insertion, they would have transferred only the specific gene that controls honey production to create mild-mannered bees that produce more honey. This example from the animal kingdom is a good way of illustrating what occurs in plant biotechnology." (Steve Milloy in The San Diego Union-Tribune)

"Curbing drunken drivers" - "Look no further than Maryland to see why a tough national standard for drunken driving is necessary." (Baltimore Sun editorial)

A 1999 study from the University of North Carolina fails to show a 0.08 standard would measurably impact the alcohol-related traffic fatality rate.

"Nader Takes Aim at Politics as Usual" - "With a blistering attack against Republicans, Democrats, Congress, corporate America and the commission that sets the rules for presidential debates, Ralph Nader accepted the presidential nomination of the Green Party." (New York Times)

"Mallinckrodt" - "When a Mallinckrodt employee receives what amounts to 40 years worth of acceptable radiation exposure in a single dose, it's called an accident. When a company investigation uncovers 33 other instances of worker overexposure during the past five years, it becomes a pattern." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial)

"Don't blame the EPA" - "Unlike the oil companies or OPEC, politicians can get their hands on the EPA. Rather than wait six weeks for increased OPEC output to hit the streets or endure lengthy federal government hearings on oil companies' behavior that would conclude well after any relief can be granted to drivers, the EPA could be sued now and be forced to suspend its reformulated gasoline requirements post haste. The problem with this scenario is that the weight of the evidence shows that the EPA is not to blame and that suspending the RFG rules won't solve the problem." (Jim Barrett in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

June 25, 2000

"E.P.A. to Assess if Contaminated Sports Field Imperils Health" - "City officials in Cambridge said they had allowed people to use the field because their tests found only trace amounts of asbestos. There was no risk to health, they said, because the asbestos was buried beneath a layer of topsoil." (New York Times)

"Appeals Court Upholds E.P.A. Plan to Reduce Flow of Smog to the East" - "A federal appeals court has upheld a new air-pollution program meant to drastically reduce smog that flows from the Middle West to the East. Although still subject to further appeals, the ruling on Thursday by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit would affect 19 states. It upholds a decision by a three-judge panel of the same tribunal, which held in March that rules set down by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1998, but stayed by a lawsuit, were proper." (New York Times)

"Evidence of man-made global warming appears in climate change" - "Indications of man-made global warming continue to appear: a recent study confirms that the 20th century is the warmest century of the millennium, and winters around the Northern Hemisphere are consistently warmer." (AP)

"GAO criticizes CDC, NIH handling of chronic fatigue research" - "The US General Accounting Office (GAO) released a report Wednesday that faults the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for not having adequate communication on chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) research and not joining forces in conducting research on the disease." (Reuters)

"Germany's Greens seek fresh start" - "Germany's ecologist Greens elected two new leaders on Saturday and pledged a fresh start for the party that is looking for new issues now that its founding anti-nuclear rallying cry has become government policy." (Reuters)

June 23, 2000

"Environmentalists and killer bees" - "The killer bees, which have attacked many Americans and killed about a dozen people in the last few years, are a good example of traditional cross-breeding run amok... If the Brazilian apiarists could have employed biotechnology or single-gene insertion, they would have transferred only the specific gene that controls honey production to create mild-mannered bees that produce more honey. This example from the animal kingdom is a good way of illustrating what occurs in plant biotechnology." (Steve Milloy in The San Diego Union-Tribune)

"Cellphone hysteric" - "George Carlo spent US$25-million and the better part of the 1990s researching the potential hazards of cellphone use as head of the cellphone industry's Washington-based Wireless Technology Research project. His failure to produce any evidence of danger resulted in the industry shutting the project down. But Mr. Carlo hasn't given up. Instead, he founded a new organization and, aided by a superlawyer, has switched sides to crusade against the wireless industry that once funded his research. A good health scare, apparently, never dies from lack of evidence" (Steve Milloy in The National Post)

"Turning point for EPA?" - "The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ensures in many ways that our world is guarded and safe. Still, there is only so much one can do, once material priorities are being looked after. The problem is that running out of new significant risks makes it difficult to justify expanding budgets and appropriations for a perennially hungry bureaucracy. As a remedy, creative people at the EPA have long been tilting at improbable windmills searching for new risks, valiantly squired by friends in the advocacy fringes." (Gio Bata Gori in The Washington Times)

"Rifkin Strikes Out With Swiss Scientists" - From Science (June 23):

"Jeremy Rifkin, the tireless crusader against genetic engineering, sparred with hostile Swiss scientists at a public forum in Bern last week, where he was heckled by a Nobelist.

Rifkin, who heads the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, D.C., was the featured speaker at a government-sponsored forum titled "The Risks of Gene Technology: Phantom or Reality?" In his remarks, Rifkin described the potential dangers of gene splicing and cloning experiments and accused many researchers of losing their objectivity on the subject because of their ties to biotech companies. He also urged scientists to use information from genomics to 'create a sophisticated wellness approach' by, for instance, tailoring diets and drugs to 'genetic predisposition.'

The comments drew darts from numerous scientists in the audience. 'This is garbage!' shouted University of Zurich immunologist and Nobel laureate Rolf Zinkernagel during the talk. He and other prominent Swiss scientists got in more swipes during the question period, complaining that Rifkin was "playing on public fears" and could offer no hard evidence that gene splicing had caused harm. They also blasted the Swiss environment agency, BUWAL, for paying Rifkin to participate. Concluded Bern University biologist Beda Stadler: 'This is theater, not science.'"

"Not a pretty picture" - David Wojick summarizes comments made by representatives of the U.S.government and industry, among others, concerning the draft Climate Change Impacts on the United States: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change prepared under the auspices of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).

"Potentially hazardous asteroids mapped" - "The study estimates that an armada of asteroids, 900 strong, all a kilometer in diameter or larger, present a potential hazard to life on Earth. Some pass within a few moon distances of Earth every year. 'Sometime in the future, one of these objects could conceivably run into the Earth,' warns astronomy researcher William Bottke at Cornell University. 'One kilometer (about .6 of a mile) in size is thought to be a magic number, because it has been estimated that these asteroids are capable of wreaking global devastation if they hit the Earth.'" (Cornell University media release)

"EPA says House gutting clean air effort" - "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol Browner on Thursday blasted the House of Representatives for voting approval of what she termed 'anti-environmental, anti-public health' measures aimed at the agency's tighter clean air agenda." (Reuters) | Related material: Clean Air Trust media release

"EU states agree to cut smog and acid pollution" - "The 15 countries of the European Union agreed on Thursday to strengthen new limits on the amount of health-damaging air pollution their industries can emit -- going further than a 1999 pan-European agreement." (Reuters)

"EU says fine nations that don't cut greenhouse gas" - "European Union environment ministers said on Thursday that countries which fail to meet their international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions should be made to pay financial penalties." (Reuters)

"France calls for tougher EU rules on GM crops" - "France said on Thursday the European Union should continue to block the authorisation of new genetically modified (GM) crops even after new, stricter EU rules are in place, because the measures will not go far enough." (Reuters)

"GM traces found in maize seed in France -US firm" - "U.S. seed company Golden Harvest on Thursday said it had found traces of genetically modified (GM) material in maize seed it imported into France, but levels were so small as to pose no problem." (Reuters)

"Senator Bond Says OSHA's Math Behind Ergo Rule Doesn't Add Up " - "As new studies on the cost to implement OSHA's ergonomics proposal continue to chip away at the agency's credibility to forecast the rule's true impact on small business, Senator Christopher S. 'Kit' Bond asked the Office of Management and Budget to delay its final approval and to require a thorough re-calculation of the basic arithmetic used to support the ergo rule. " (Sen. Bond media release)

"Doctors Hold Wednesday News Conference Exposing EPA's 'Disregard for Children's Health'" - "News conference calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take immediate action to protect children from chemical exposures rather than delaying with endless cruel and inaccurate animal tests." (PCRM media release)

"City panel fights 'Frankenfoods' " - "Three members of San Francisco's Commission on the Environment on Tuesday agreed to push an ordinance that would, among other things, favor hiring food vendors who use only organic foods during city business or during events on city property." (San Francisco Examiner)

"Israel alarm over polluted water " - "Israel was near panic amid warnings from its health and environment ministries that much of its water is unfit for consumption and could become a carcinogenic brew." (The Times)

June 22, 2000

"Satellite image suggests water on Mars, scientists say " - "Scientists interpreting images from a spacecraft camera orbiting Mars have spotted v-shaped gullies and trenches that appear to have been carved by fast-flowing water, say experts familiar with a new study of the planet. While the finding by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft is tentative, experts said Wednesday that the presence of liquid water would profoundly improve the chances of life existing on Mars." (AP)

It must be budget time at NASA. And NASA apparently thinks we forgot about the "Mars rock" debacle. Check out:

"That'll be $2.20 a gallon" - A cartoon of the EPA gasoline stick-up. (Henry Payne in The Detroit News)

"Chicago to EPA: Grant the Waiver" - "While they're at it, they ought to subpoena the EPA. Ask the EPA if its insistence that gas prices would rise no more than 3 to 7 cents a gallon because of the new reformulated gas rules took into account rising crude prices, low inventories of ethanol-blended reformulated gas, supply interruptions because of broken pipelines and demand in Chicago that is straining the region to capacity." (Chicago Tribune editorial) | Related commentary: "It's the EPA's fault" (Jay Ambrose for Scripps Howard)

"'The Patriot" is Right" - "There is no academic study showing that waiting periods and background checks have reduced criminal access, or resulted in less crime or youth violence. " (John Lott in The New York Post)

"Dandelion wars" - "If penile and clitoral displacement doesn't scare people into letting their lawns go to weed, nothing will. Since one of the Caccia committee's star witnesses was Ms. Colborn, the world's leading proponent of the endocrine-disrupter theory/myth, it should be no surprise that endocrine disruption and penis scares are big Cacciathemes -- even though Ms. Colborn's most famous bits of evidence have a tendency to disappear under scrutiny or research." (Terry Corcoran in the National Post)

"Now the facts about 2,4-D" - "A recent U.S. government study concluded that should 2,4-D no longer be available, the cost to consumers, in the form of higher food prices, and to users (farmers) in the form of higher production costs, would total US$1.68-billion annually in the United States alone. An earlier 1998 study initiated by the Canadian government concluded that the loss of 2,4-D would cost Canadians a third of a billion dollars annually. " (Don Page in The National Post)

"House Votes To Restrict EPA Use of Smog Data" - "The House voted last night to block the Environmental Protection Agency from identifying regions with dangerously high smog levels, a move aimed at preventing federal regulators from enforcing tough new clean air rules." (Washington Post)

"Meet Ralph Nader, capitalist" - "There is, apparently, in Mr. Nader's mind, nothing good that businesses do. They have poisoned our atmosphere, laid waste to our forests and farmlands,taken over our kids' minds with ads and corporate logos, poisoned our bodies with unhealthy fast food, corrupted our political process and exported our jobs. Even pure bottled water is bad, he said recently, because it has driven the "contented classes" -- he people who need to be aroused to action over issues like clean water -- into apathy." (Donald Lambro in The Washington Times)

"GM mosquitoes to fight malaria" - "It could soon be possible to 'redesign' the mosquito so that it cannot carry malaria, say European researchers." (BBC) | Related coverage: MSNBC | Reuters

"Greens reject Howard's comments on GMOs " - "Tasmanian Greens MHA Peg Putt has branded the Prime Minister's comments on the prospect of a Tasmanian ban on growing genetically engineered crops as inflammatory." (ABC) | Related story: "PM defends GM expansion in Tasmania" (ABC)

"Class action against tobacco companies goes up in smoke" - "The High Court has rejected a bid to appeal against a Federal Court decision to strike out a class action against three tobacco companies." (ABC)

"Marijuana may be greater cancer risk than tobacco, research suggests" - "Smoking marijuana may be a greater cancer danger than smoking tobacco, a new study from the University of California at Los Angeles suggests." (CNN)

"Poisoned minds: Is your kid’s school being sprayed with pesticides?" - "A school is sprayed for weeds while classes are in session and has to be evacuated after students and staff are treated by paramedics. Another school reports dozens suffering from the effects of ant killer, and one staff member describes the odor as being 'like nothing he had experienced since tear gas in the military.'" (MSNBC)

Check out my Washington Times commentary, "Unwarranted warning."

"Suit Seeks Stronger Air Pollution Programs for Most of the Country; Controls on Industry Too Weak, Groups Charge " - "The Sierra Club and the New York Public Interest Research Group filed suit in federal court today in an attempt to force the Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen air pollution regulations in 35 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. The groups charge that the agency has illegally allowed the states to operate weak air pollution permit programs for more than six years, and that EPA must instead take over the permit programs in these states. " (Sierra Club media release)

"Conservation Group Names Four Candidates to 'Dirty Dozen'" - "Predicting that the environment will be a key issue for swing voters in the 2000 elections, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) today named four more congressional candidates to its "Dirty Dozen" list and targeted them for defeat. Through the Dirty Dozen campaigns, LCV exposes the poor environmental records of candidates for the U.S. House and Senate who are in highly competitive races, encouraging voters to cast their ballot against the environmental foe." (LCV media release)

"Apple a day packs antioxidant punch" - " The old adage 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away' may be more than an old wives tale. Cornell University researchers report that fresh apples may beat out high doses of vitamin C when it comes to antioxidant power, according to a report in the June 22nd issue of Nature." (Reuters) | Related coverage: The Independent

"More food safety tests needed to protect consumers" - "The US Department of Agriculture's food safety agency needs to expand laboratory tests and tighten other rules for meat and poultry plants to protect American consumers from food-borne disease, according to a US government investigation released on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Lawmaker introduces bill to regulate hazardous metals" - "Rep. Ron Klink formally introduced the Scrap Metal Act of 2000, a bill designed to protect consumers and steelworkers from 'hazards related to imported and domestic radioactively contaminated scrap metal.'" (Reuters)

"Schroeder wants to halt GM crop use until 2003" - "German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder called on agro-businesses on Wednesday not to grow genetically modified plants until 2003 so the government could investigate their effect on the environment." (Reuters)

"Traces of GM material found in French maize - paper" - "Traces of genetically modified (GM) material that is not approved for production in the European Union have turned up in maize being grown in France, French regional daily Sud-Ouest reported on Wednesday. The newspaper said tests performed by the government's anti-fraud squad showed that some seeds imported by a division of a U.S. company accidentally contained GM material." (Reuters)

"Illegal GM sugar beet said sown in Italy" - " Genetically modified sugar beet has been sown illegally in open fields in central Italy, a leading environmentalist group said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"A measure of GM paranoia in Britain" - "How deep and wide is anti-GM fervor over in Britain? Pretty deep, when activist groups can sieze on something like the following situation and make demands such as ripping out experiments. It's likely that the 'contamination' in the trial mentioned here is less than a half-percent GM content seed." (AgWeb.com)

"Now, French fear GM "contamination" in French cornfields" - "A French government body opened an enquiry Wednesday into the possibility that genetically-modified seeds may have been mixed with traditional crops planted in large areas of France." (AgWeb.com)

"UK leads EU race to reduce greenhouse gases" - "The UK alone, among five EU nations reviewed in a new report, is on target to meet its agreed reduction of greenhouse gases." (Ananova.com)

"Parody of animal rights site told to close" - "When animals rights activists in America tried to log on to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals site, they were directed to People Eating Tasty Animals." (Ananova.com)

"3,500 Italians killed by air pollution each year" - "Air pollution is choking Italian cities to the point that respiratory illnesses are becoming of epidemic proportions claiming some 3,500 lives of people over 30, around ten a day, a report said Tuesday." (Oana-Xinhua)

June 21, 2000

"The Kyoto accord is dying, and it's a good thing, too" - "Maurice Strong, the man who orchestrated Kyoto, declared that we need US$1-a-litre gasoline to save us from the 'serious embarrassment' of not meeting our Kyoto commitments, which amount to slashing emissions by some 25% from 'business as usual' by 2010. In Mr. Strong's wonkish world, it's far more important to avoid red faces at international conflabs than to prevent personal hardships. Not so, however, for domestic politicians, who realize that higher energy prices are as likely to be as damaging to their political prospects as they are to their countries' economic ones. Canada has no plausible policy to meet its Kyoto commitments, and for that we should be profoundly grateful." (Peter Foster in the National Post)

"Climate science on the march" - "On April 28, 1975, the following Science article appeared in Newsweek magazine under the title 'The Cooling World.' It claimed abundant evidence existed for climate cooling and called for government action to avert famine, floods and droughts. " (National Post editorial)

"Capitalist activist" - "We're a little uncertain how to greet the news that Ralph Nader, the liberal activist and icon who's running for president on the Green Party ticket, is worth upward of $3.8 million, and that much of his wealth is in high-tech stocks, such as Cisco Systems." (San Francisco Examiner editorial)

"Santa Monica sues 7 oil companies, alleges water contamination" - "The city has filed suit against seven oil companies, seeking $200 million to clean municipal water wells allegedly contaminated by the chemical MTBE, added to gasoline to combat air pollution." (AP) | Related coverage: Reuters

"House Reverses Itself on a Suit Over Smoking" - "The battle is not yet over, Mr. Feehery said, and there will be other opportunities to prevent the transfer of money to the Justice Department for use in the lawsuit, which is seeking billions of dollars from the tobacco companies to cover federal health-care expenses related to tobacco. " (New York Times)

"GM trials suffer new setback" - "Government backed trials of genetically modified crops suffered another public relations blow last night as ministers revealed that supposedly GM-free crops at the only Scottish site in the programme are contaminated with GM material. " (The Guardian)

"25 ROTC cadets issued near double-dose of anthrax vaccine" - "Twenty-five ROTC cadets at an Army training camp were given nearly double the proper dose of the anthrax vaccine, Army officials said Monday." (AP)

"Child farmworkers in the U.S. labor under dangerous conditions, report says " - "Hundreds of thousands of children are working under dangerous conditions in U.S. agriculture, Human Rights Watch charged in a report issued Tuesday. The report, "Fingers to the Bone: United States Failure to Protect Child Farmworkers," charges that many young people ages 13 to 16 work 70 to 80 hours a week and risk pesticide poisoning, heat illness, injuries and lifelong disabilities. " (AP) | Related material: Human Rights Watch media release | Report

"GM eating habits study 'worthless'" - "Major retailers will be asked for information about the GM foods they sell to show up anyhealth trends which may be linked to them. The massive government research project, organised by the fledgling Food Standards Agency, will try to identify areas where a lot of GM foods are being bought." (BBC) | Related coverage: The Times

"Bad neighborhoods can cause depression " - "Neighborhoods are often thought merely to reflect the people who live in them, but a new study suggests that bad neighborhoods contribute to feelings of depression in residents." (Center for teh Advancement of Health media release)

"Faster German nuke phase out can sink Kyoto-expert" - "German nuclear power plant decomissioning could sink the Kyoto global warming protocol if pushed at too fast a speed, climate experts said at a conference in London on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Lobby group says Halifax anti-scent law stinks" - "You can smoke in many places in Halifax and the Canadian port city often has the tang of fish and salt water in the air, but you can't wear cologne or perfume, at least not in public. Now, an industry lobby group is saying that's not fair." (Reuters)

"Farmer Favors Altered Seeds" - "From his kitchen window, Ben Edmondson sees an expanse of flat acreage his family has cultivated since the late 1800s. He also sees how an international controversy over biotechnology has affected the way he runs his farm. Edmondson is a strong advocate of crops that have been genetically modified to resist drought, herbicides and common pests. If he had his way, the entire farm would be planted with such crops." (AP)

"Today's East Coast Climate Report No Happy Scenario" - "Warm winters and suffocating summers, droughts and water rationing punctuated by biblical downpours and flash flooding, electrical shortages and mosquito spraying, eventually maybe even a boat lane on the FDR Drive -- is this what the future holds in store for metropolitan New York, New Jersey and Connecticut?" (Daily University Science News)

"Rejected GM food dumped on the poor " - "Hundreds of thousands of tons of genetically modified food, rejected by European consumers, are being dispatched to the world's poorest people, The Independent on Sunday can reveal." (The Independent)

"Researchers seek mad cows" - "The Department of Primary Industries in Queensland is seeking nervous cows acting strangely. Department veterinary officer Janet Berry says the cows will be examined in a bid to prove Australia is free of the deadly mad cow disease." (ABC)

"Farmers given green light to use GM technology" - "The use of gene technology in farming, under stringent conditions, has been endorsed by a majority report of Federal Parliament's Standing Committee on Primary Industries." (ABC)

"Nuclear reactor causing safety concerns for Sydney residents" - "Concerns have been raised about the Commonwealth's proposal to build a new nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney's southern suburbs." (ABC)

"'Hippy' food industry now driven by profits" - "Kristen Lyons, a doctoral student at Central Queensland University, says organic agriculture has grown 10-fold in the past decade, due to consumer demand, making it a multimillion dollar industry. She says growing organic is no longer a 'hippy' endeavour, but a commercial industry mainly driven by non-environmental concerns." (ABC)

"Tobacco CEO Says Health Risk Likely" - "The third tobacco executive to testify in a landmark trial against the industry said he believes smoking carries significant health risks but denied marketing cigarettes to kids." (AP)

"Flame retardant chemical found in breast milk" - "Scientists studying pollution in the seas surrounding Japan say women with a diet high in fish can produce a flame retardant chemical in their breast milk" (Ananova.com)

"Consumers 'turning backs on greener lifestyles'" - "Britons appear to be dragging their feet when it comes to switching to a greener lifestyle, according to new consumer research." (Ananova.com)

"Australia, New Zealand expect to label 'GM' products by mid-2001" - "Australia and New Zealand could start labelling foods with genetically modified (GM) ingredients by mid-2001, a key food safety authority said on Monday." (Financial Express)

"Columbia University: Future Regional Climate Impacts Could be Catastrophic, Regional Task Force Needed to Confront Problem" - " In the worst-case scenario, a major hurricane will track across New York City at full force about 80 years from today, much like the one that wreaked havoc here back in 1938. But this time, with the storm surge riding atop on ocean already three feet higher even on a calm day, much of the region's ocean front property will end up as ocean bottom -- power out, all transportation shut down, precious real estate destroyed and, paradoxically, water everywhere but nary a drop to drink. Damage from one such storm could reach $250 billion or more, as much as a quarter of the area's total annual economy. And that doesn't begin to account for the toll on human lives. " (Columbia University media release)

"Modified food regulator gets sharp teeth" - "The first Federal statutory body authorised to approve the introduction of genetically modified organisms will have similar powers to the Federal Police." (Sydney Morning Herald)

June 20, 2000

"'Precaution' precludes innovation" - "We hereby officially declare this the beginning of our second annual Junk Science Week. Henry Miller and Gregory Conko launch our reports with an analysis of the impact of junk science on biotechology. By their account, the great promise of biotech in food development has already been greatly undermined by a global onslaught of scientific cant and regulatory barbarities." (National Post editorial)

"Judge biotech by the real risks" - "Biotechnology opponents don't criticize cross-breeding, selection, mutagenesis and other traditional forms of genetic modification. Their opposition, sometimes verging on the hysterical, is directed at one particular form of genetic modification -- gene-splicing (also known as recombinant DNA) -- a 30-year-old discovery that has been heralded as a signal advance for the future of medicine, agriculture, environmental protection and other applications." (Henry Miller and Greg Conko in the National Post)

"Justice will drop tobacco battle without outside funding, Reno says" - "The Justice Department will drop its multibillion-dollar lawsuit against the tobacco industry unless Congress changes legislation designed to keep other agencies from helping with the cost, Attorney General Janet Reno said Monday." (AP) Related story: "U.S. House votes to block tobacco suit funding" (Reuters) | Washington Post

"Curse of the Killer Crayons" - "Logically, we must now ban anything that carries any risk for children, including going to school or riding a tricycle. But it doesn't work that way. Instead, our society levates an alleged but false new risk over an old and proven risk. The reaffirmation of this thinking is a lot more important than crayon makers voluntarily switching over to a new binder in place of talc." (Michael Fumento at Fumento.com)

"More EPA Red Tape" - "Here's an odd notion: Somebody says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs a little more red tape - and the idea makes sense. " (New York Post editorial)

"Cleanliness Isn't Next to Healthfulness" - "Last week, because of the growing concern about the emergence of antibiotic-resistant germs, the American Medical Association urged the government to step up regulation of antibacterial soaps, lotions and other household products." (New York Times editorial)

"Radon study and science games" - "Once upon a time scientists, with few exceptions, could be relied upon to help staunch the never-ending flow of scares-of-the-week emanating from the media and advocacy groups. But more and more, they are becoming part of the problem. The pressure to publish a positive link between whatever is being scrutinized and disease has simply become too intense." (Michael Fumento in The Washington Times)

"Study finds laws do little to curb underage, binge drinking" - "A high percentage of college binge drinkers are white males under the legal drinking age of 21 who find cheap or free alcohol at fraternity parties or local bars, a Harvard School of Public Health study has found." (AP) | Related material: Robert Woods Johnson media release

"Court rules school can't include disclaimer to teaching of evolution" - "The Supreme Court refused to allow a public school district require that the teaching of evolution be accompanied by a disclaimer mentioning 'the biblical version of creation' and other teachings on life's origin. " (AP)

"Girls reach puberty at eight" - "One in six girls show early signs of puberty by the time they are eight-years-old, researchers have found." (BBC)

"India nuclear workers 'in danger'" - "A leading atomic energy expert in India claims workers at the country's nuclear power plants are being exposed to extremely high levels of radioactivity." (BBC)

"UK warned of climate disaster" - "The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution is calling for a 60% cut in emissions over the next half century." (BBC)

"Support seen for government tracking of environmental hazards" - "Nine in 10 Americans say the government should make it a priority to reduce diseases caused by the environment and would support a national program to track and treat them, a survey finds." (AP)

"Chicken found to be free of deadly West Nile virus" - "New York's health commissioner said Saturday a chicken thought to have the West Nile virus tested negative, bringing some relief to officials who had feared another outbreak of the deadly disease." (CNN)

"Brain Tumors Not Always Deadly " - "'You have a brain tumor.' These are some of the scariest words a person can hear. But understanding more about brain tumors can also lead to an understanding that a brain tumor diagnosis is not an automatic death sentence." (National Brain Tumor Foundation media release)

"Diet of U.S. poor short on vitamins" - "Americans may be worried that radiation, toxic chemicals and even cell telephones are causing cancer but in fact their poor diets are more likely to be the culprit, experts studying nutrition say." (Reuters)

"Doctors warn of bungee cord dangers" - "Bungee cords -- not the device that thrill-seekers use to jump off buildings, but the stretchable, rubberized devices that keep the car trunk closed when bringing the lawnmower in for repairs -- can snap back at speeds of 60 miles per hour, causing severe eye damage and other injuries, according to delegates at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association, who called this week for warning labels on the products." (MSNBC)

"Website Promotes Climate-Neutral Vacations; Planting Trees Online Helps Slow Global Warming " - "In the wake of a new federal report outlining the significant effects global warming will have in the United States, AMERICAN FORESTS is showing travelers how they can have "greener," more environmentally friendly summer vacations by planting trees to reduce carbon dioxide produced while on vacation." (American Forests media release)

"Chemical killed five workers since 1980" - "A chemical used in the production of herbicides can be fatal to workers if even a small amount gets on their skin, according to officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. In the last 20 years, at least five workers have died after being exposed to the heated form of the chemical." (Reuters)

"Triglycerides linked to heart attack risk" - "Researchers have shown that in families with a disorder that raises levels of fats in the blood, people with elevated triglycerides are at increased risk of having a heart attack--even when their cholesterol levels are normal." (Reuters)

"Gene-modified crops seen as safe as other foods: OECD" - "Genetically modified (GM) crops that have already been approved for human consumption are as safe as other foods, according to two OECD reports published on the Internet this week." (Reuters)

"EU to ban high-risk cattle tissues" - "A majority of European Union farm ministers on Monday supported proposals to ban from the food chain cattle tissues thought to carry mad cow disease." (Reuters)

"Diesel rule puts oil industry under black cloud" - "The U.S. oil industry locked horns with environmental regulators Monday over a new proposal to make diesel, a notoriously dirty truck fuel, burn cleaner. " (Reuters)

"German Greens told coalition depends on nukes vote" - "Germany's Greens could destroy their coalition with the ruling Social Democrats if they reject last week's deal to phase out nuclear power by 2020, the ecologist party's parliamentary leader said on Monday." (Reuters)

"MP calls for pause in rush to expand GM industry " - "A federal parliamentary inquiry has backed the continued expansion of the genetic engineering industry in Australia." (ABC) | Related coverage: Sydney Morning Herald

"Britain cooling during global warming" - "Hopes of basking in Mediterranean sunshine as global warming changes Britain's climate may be premature, according to new research. The reality is that the weather in Britain and the rest of north-west Europe is likely to get colder during the next 100 years." (Ananova.com)

"Age journalist tries hatchet job on GM crops" - "The Australian media, particularly the press, has a well-established record of selective reporting. For example, Rupert Murdoch’s Australian mischievously reported on the disgraceful Pusztai affair (where GM potatoes were allegedly killing rats) without telling readers that the experiments were deeply flawed. Instead, Jamie Walker (the reporter) used the shoddy data to smear GM technology. It is now clear that telling the truth is not a priority at The Age or Rupert Murdoch’s Australian. But demonising technology -- especially when developed by large companies -- is." (Aaron Oakley at NewAustralian.com)

"Parents and babies in pesticide plea to PM" - "Parents and babies led by the Marchioness of Worcester will present a hamper of pesticide-free fruit and BabyOrganix products to Number 10 Downing Street on Monday." (Ananova.com)

"New York State to Require Pesticide Warning Flags" - "New York state, under a legislative agreement reached on Monday, would become the first in the nation to require homeowners to post warning flags to alert their neighbors when they use pesticides on their lawns." (Reuters)

"Albany's Latest Smokescreen" - "The ban-the-butts crowd smiled broadly in Albany last week as the Legislature adopted a bill outlawing the sale of all cigarettes in New York save for those that "self-extinguish" - whatever that means. Gov. Pataki has promised to sign the measure, which will take effect in 2003." (New York Post editorial)

June 18, 2000

"Nader: The Little Guy's Multimillionaire" - "After 35 years of bashing big business, rumpled Ralph Nader is worth at least $3.8 million and is heavily invested in technology stocks." (Washington Post)

"Losing Ground Against Microbes" - "Antimicrobials all over the world need more controls... Developed nations must also improve their vaccination rates and drastically reduce antibiotic usage. The easiest place to start is to greatly reduce the use of antibiotics to fatten animals. The Food and Drug Administration is tightening the use of some antibiotics in animals, but it needs to go further. Patient education is also critical. Doctors, who should know better, need to resist demands for antibiotics from patients with colds. The new antimicrobial soaps and cleaners made for household use also contribute to drug resistance by killing only weak bacteria." (New York Times editorial)

"Global warming may be delayed by increase in ocean silica" - "Increases in ocean silica may be removing large amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide, delaying the onset of global warming. In the June issue of Paleoceanography, Boston College Geologist Kevin Harrison writes that ocean silica levels also could solve the puzzle of why atmospheric CO2 decreased by 30% during glacial times." (Boston College media release)

"UI study finds evidence of multiple symptoms, but no 'Gulf War syndrome'" - "In a study involving nearly 3,700 Gulf War-era veterans, University of Iowa researchers did not find evidence of a 'Gulf War syndrome' attributed to military service in the Persian Gulf from 1990-1991. The study is published in the June 15 issue ofthe American Journal of Medicine. " (University of Iowa media release)

June 17, 2000

"Spring Broke Record As Nation's Warmest" - "This spring was the warmest on record for the United States, nearly half a degree warmer than spring 1910, the previous record-holder. The official meteorological spring--March through May--averaged 55.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the United States, the National Climatic Data Center reported. The agency also noted that the United States experienced the warmest January-to-May period in 106 years of record-keeping, a report sure to stir the debate over the potential threat of global warming." (AP)

"Montgomery Smoking Ban Overruled" - "A judge has struck down a Montgomery County ban on smoking in bars and restaurants that was the most stringent anti-smoking law in the mid-Atlantic region, handing a major victory to a tobacco industry that viewed the measure as a threatening precedent." (Washington Post)

June 16, 2000

"We're Not Executing the Innocent" - "On Monday avowed opponents of the death penalty caught the attention of Al Gore among others when they released a report purporting to demonstrate that the nation's capital punishment system is "collapsing under the weight of its own mistakes." Contrary to the headlines written by some gullible editors, however, the report proves nothing of the sort." (Paul G. Cassell in The Wall Street Journal)

"Reformulated Environment" - "It'll be intriguing to see if Al Gore can make it through the summer without getting tagged with at least some of the blame for high gasoline prices. Much of the price rise has to do with the federally mandated introduction of something called "reformulated gasoline." It's an arcane subject most people don't know much about. But Mr. Gore does, and the re-election team is working hard to make sure responsibility for these high prices gets off-loaded on the usual suspects." (Wall Street Journal editorial) | Other commentary: "Gas price scapegoating" (Ben Lieberman in The Washington Times) | "Blame regulators for high gas prices" (Eric Peters in The Detroit News)

"EU tobacco ban could be dropped" - "The tobacco industry has won an important victory at the European Court of Justice which could see the scrapping of legislation banning cigarette advertising." (BBC) | The Guardian

"Knowing what's going on; Stressing environment leads to distressing people " - "Is it a coincidence that Maine, with its disproportionately high cancer rates also has a high concentration of paper industry mills?" (Bill Williamson in The Kennebec Journal)

"Putting a price on clean air" - "The market in cleaner air is joining oil futures and pork bellies as a scarce commodity ripe for speculation." (BBC)

"AMA votes to support tracking of medical errors" - "The American Medical Association's House of Delegates voted Thursday to support a reporting system for medical errors, but would not commit to supporting either a mandatory or voluntary system." (CNN)

"New York chicken tests positive forest Nile virus" - "One of 96 sentinel chickens intended to detect West Nile virus has tested positive for the mosquito-borne disease, New York authorities announced Thursday." (CNN)

"Report cites playground dangers" - "A report released Thursday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the Consumer Federation of America says hard playground surfaces, equipment that is too high, openings that can entrap children, and swings that are too close together pose serious threats at a majority of the nation’s public playgrounds." (MSNBC) | Other coverage: Reuters

"EPA Pesticide Ban Leaves Consumers Looking for an Alternative " - "Citing human safety concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently banned Dursban(R) (chlorpyrifos), a pesticide commonly used in various parasite control products. Consumers looking for an alternative for parasite control for their pets should talk to their veterinarian about recently approved medicine, which is not a pesticide. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved Revolution(R) (selamectin), a medicine that protects cats and dogs against common internal and external parasites." (Pfizer media release)

"Radiation not linked to later cancer" - "Women with breast cancer who choose to have breast-conserving surgery followed by radiation rather than having their breast removed do not have a higher risk of developing cancer again years later, according to the results of a new study." (Reuters)

"Bond Calls For Withdrawal Of Ergo Rule After OSHA Ignores 10 Million Employees In Analysis" - "In a letter to OSHA head Charles Jeffress, Sen. Christopher S. "Kit" Bond renewed his call for the withdrawal of OSHA's proposed regulation on ergonomics after the agency admitted that as many as 10 million employees from state and local government, the United States Postal Service, and the railroad industry were not included in the original economic analysis." (Senate Committee on Small Business media release)

"Dead Zone Action Plan Targets Polluted Runoff, Wetland Loss" - "A White House plan to reduce the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico would boost funding for buffers and restore 5 million acres of lost wetlands to intercept polluted runoff from farms and city streets. " (American Rivers media release)

"Environmental groups decry global warming negotiations" - " U.S. environmental activist groups on Thursday criticized the negotiating stance taken by the Clinton administration at talks in Bonn, Germany, for settling an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for causing global warming." (Reuters)

"Calif oil industry, air regulators grapple over diesel" - "Southern California's smog-fighters are taking aim at diesel fuel, saying emissions from diesel-burning vehicles are too toxic, leaving oil companies and local officials fuming about the costs of replacing it with natural gas or cleaner burning gasoline." (Reuters)

"Global labour body hails WTO asbestos ruling" - "A global labour union body on Thursday hailed an interim finding at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that a French ban on asbestos and products containing it does not violate trading rules." (Reuters)

"EU says countries must decide themselves on nuclear" - "The European Commission said on Thursday it had no influence over European Union countries' energy policy decisions, adding it had no comment on Germany's decision to phase out nuclear power." (Reuters) | "French nuclear reactor shuts down in minor incident" (Reuters)

"Don't like the weather? Blame the Man on the Moon" - "New data from a satellite scanning the oceans support a theory that lunar tides may be having a major - but largely unrecognized- influence on global climate." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Swans may be culled to stop salmonella threat" - "Conservationists called yesterday for officials in Dover to reconsider a decision that may lead to a cull of the town's swans. A flock of the birds, which are protected by Royal Charter, has expanded so dramatically that the council believes they are a health risk." (The Independent)

"GM trial farm 'had serious crop disease'" - "The credibility of the government backed programme of GM trials was at risk last night when it emerged that a farm involved in the programme had suffered a serious crop disease which required special quarantine measures." (The Guardian)

"Sainsbury's ticked off for misleading organic food claims " - "Sainsbury's, Britain's second biggest supermarket chain, has been taken to task by the Advertising Standards Authority over its claims for organic food, just a month after the biggest supermarket, Tesco, was similarly criticised." (The Independent)

"GM seed purity rule rejected as unsafe" - "A Government plan to allow seeds labelled as conventional to contain up to 1 per cent of GM seed has been rejected by its wildlife advisers as 'totally unacceptable on food safety and environmental grounds', it emerged last night." (The Times)

"Group of 1,200 scientists endorse biotech crops at annual meeting" - "By unanimous vote at this week's annual meeting of The Society for In Vitro Biology - an organization of roughly 1,200 scientists - the group endorsed the commercialization of genetically engineered crops." (AgWeb.com)

"Research indicates global warming could impact songbird populations" - "As the United States government prepares to release a report predicting widespread climate changes due to global warming, a new study at Dartmouth College and Tulane University suggests that such climate changes could influence the number of songbirds populating the nation's woodlands and parks." (Dartmouth College media release) | CNN

"Morocco to host international conference on climate changes" - "The Moroccan city of Marrakesh will play host next year to the ministerial conference of parties to the United Nations conventions on climate changes." (ArabicNews.com)

"Will global warming open Northwest Passage?" - "In a centuries-old explorers' dream come true, global warming within a few decades will have melted enough of the ice clogging the Northwest Passage for cargo ships to steam through Canada's Arctic archipelago between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, at least for part of the year." (CNN)

"Loitering insecticide" - "An insecticide banned since 1988 is still hanging about, say scientists at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station." (Globe and Mail)

"Temperature variation in Kalingchok, Nepal (1729-1978) using Himalayan silver fir trees as proxy data" - "For more than a decade, scientists, politicians and environmentalists have been concerned about the potential social, economic, and political impacts of a warmer global atmosphere. During this same period, researchers have investigated historic sea-surface and terrestrial temperature records to identify whether a global warming "signal" is present. Indeed, a warming of approximately 0.5°C appears in the global near-surface air temperature record. This well-publicized fact may be somewhat deceptive, however. The four-hundred-year span from 1450 to 1850 represents the Little Ice Age, a period of unusually cool temperatures in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Late-20th Century warming trends identified by many investigators simply may represent a return of our climate to pre-Little Ice Age temperatures." (Greening Earth Society)

"U.S. gets a new crop of extremists" - "The FBI calls them "special interest terrorists" and you’ve heard of a few -- animal rights and anti-abortion extremists, in particular. But there’s a relatively new subgroup that’s doing more and more damage: saboteurs opposed to genetic engineering of plants, produce and animals. A review by MSNBC.com found that 2000 is on track to be a record year for violence by these biotech extremists." (MSNBC)

"Activists call for limits on coal plant emissions" - "Noting that dry cleaners are regulated for mercury emissions while electrical utilities get a free ride, more than 30 environmental groups Tuesday urged the federal government to impose limits on coal-fired power plants." (Chicago Sun-Times)

June 15, 2000

"Blue Planet Prize Goes to WWF Scientist for Work on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals" - "World Wildlife Fund Senior Scientist Dr. Theo Colborn has been awarded one of the most prestigious international environmental awards, 'The Blue Planet Prize,' for her groundbreaking work to uncover the insidious nature of prenatal exposure to man-made chemicals in wildlife and humans. " (WWF media release)

What about me? Shouldn't I get a frickin' prize for Our Swollen Future?

"Survival rate challenged as a measure of cancer success" - "The five-year survival rate - the standard measurement of success for a cancer treatments - may be misleading because people are being diagnosed earlier and therefore living longer with detected cancer before they die, a study says." (AP) | MSNBC | Study abstract

"Strengthening Science at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Research Management and Peer Review Practices" - "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's chief science officer should serve at the level of deputy administrator, overseeing scientific performance throughout the agency, says a new National Research Council report. The agency also should take steps to recruit world-renowned scientists and strengthen its peer-review procedures." (NAS) | New York Times

Yet another report about corrupted science at the EPA. Wake me when Congress does something about it.

"The cost of cleaner gas" - "What EPA really should be doing is something it claims the law forbids it to do: Calculate whether the benefits gained from the cleaner air produced by the latest gasoline specifications outweigh the costs imposed on the motoring public. Congress will have to force the agency to do this. It should have done so long ago." (Boston Herald editorial) | "EPA gouges consumers" (Washington Times editorial) | "Illinois Seeks the Suspension of New EPA Gasoline Rules" (Washington Post)

"Corporate sponsorship does not taint university research" - "Corporations do potentially benefit from technologies developed in university laboratories, but so does the public as new life-saving drugs, cancer treatments and nutritionally enhanced crops journey from the laboratory to the marketplace. Everyone wins with such balanced public-private collaborations. MU is not Monsanto University, it is Missouri's university." (Jack Burn in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Government raising standards for school meat" - "The Agriculture Department is planning new safety standards for the ground beef it buys for the nation's schools after a judge barred the agency from shutting down its biggest supplier." (AP)

This has nothing to do with raising food safety standards. This is retribution for Supreme Beef's "audacity" in challenging (successfully) the Clinton Administration shutdown of the company's plant.

"Germany announces gradual closure of nuclear plants" - "The German government and energy companies have reached an agreement for the gradual closing down of the country's 19 nuclear power stations over 32 years, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announced early Thursday." (AFP) | Other coverage: Reuters | ABC

"AMA recommends evaluation of anti-bacterial products" - "The AMA's Council on Scientific Affairs said the FDA should expedite regulation of antimicrobial agents in such consumer products as hand lotions, soaps and body washes... The group warned that while the use of antimicrobial products does not necessarily contribute to drug resistance, 'such use may be a potential source of antibiotic resistant organisms' that are not killed by standard medical treatments. The AMA stopped short of discouraging the use of these products after the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association expressed concern that it would alarm the public." (CNN)

"Scientists issue telomerase caution" - "The enzyme telomerase has received a great deal of attention since 1998 when researchers showed that expressing this enzyme in human tissue culture cells significantly extended the life-span of the cells. Telomerase expression was immediately recognized as a useful strategy for growing the large number of cells required for cell-based therapeutic procedures. Now, however, scientists report that using telomerase to extend the life-span of human tissue culture cells is associated with activation of the c-myc oncogene and thus may present some level of cancer risk if the cells are intended for therapeutic use in humans... Altered expression of the c-myc oncogene is observed in approximately 70,000 fatal cancers per year in the United States. Therefore, the new study indicates that the use of telomerase expression to extend the life-span of cultured cells for therapeutic purposes must be approached with caution." (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory media release) | Reuters

Despite this research being in its infancy, it's never to early for envious Government scientists to crap all over it with their hysterical speculation.

"Taxpayer Watchdog Group Trashes Proposed National Organic Foods Program in Letter to USDA" - "In comments filed this week with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) condemned the organic food industry's attempt to create an entire new federal subsidy for organic farming." (CAGW media release)

"Urine contributes to fish gender determination" - "Researchers in Japan believe human urine may be causing fish in a Tokyo river to increasingly be born female." (ABC)

"Iceland makes big switch to organic veg " - "The supermarket chain Iceland yesterday raised the stakes in the store wars by announcing it is to switch its entire own brand frozen vegetable range to organic - at no extra cost to the consumer." (The Guardian)

"Chill out;Environmental campaigners target Olympic sponsor" - "Environmental campaigners dressed in mock Coca-Cola cans held a demonstration Wednesday outside the Australian headquarters of the Olympic sponsor. Environmental watchdog Greenpeace has targeted the American company in an ongoing campaign against the use of ozone-depleting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as refrigerants." (FoxSports.com)

"Greenpeace might cross the GMO disparagement line soon" - "At some point, anti-GMO activists are taking a real legal risk if they disparage a product and destroy its sales without evidence of their claims against it." (AgWeb.com)

"USDA organic labeling plan may mislead -food firms" - "U.S. food companies said on Wednesday that a proposed nationwide labeling standard could mislead consumers to believe organic foods are safer, healthier and more environmentally friendly than conventional food products." (Reuters)

"Increased cervical cancer risk in "DES daughters"" - "Women face an increased risk of cervical cancer if their mothers during pregnancy took the world's first synthetic female hormone, Dutch researchers report in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine." (Reuters)

This is only a letter in the NEJM. Only 85 cases were examined in a study with questionable data quality.

"A stiff drink with your cigarette may influence lung cancer" - "In findings that suggest regular drinking may influence lung cancer risk in smokers, researchers have discovered that people with lung cancer who are drinkers are more likely to have a specific type of gene mutation in their tumor cells compared with lung cancer patients who are nondrinkers." (Reuters)

"Children of Chernobyl are well adjusted" - "Children born just before or shortly after the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in the former Soviet Union seem to be as emotionally healthy as other children the same age. Their mothers, however, show far more anxiety, according to results of a study." (Reuters)

"Cow's milk may increase child's risk of type 1 diabetes" - "Consuming large quantities of cow's milk during childhood may increase the risk of developing type 1 diabetes in children who are already genetically susceptible to the disorder, results of a study suggest." (Reuters)

"Can a deadly spider replace chemical pesticides?" - "Viruses given a gene for a toxin from one of the world's deadliest spiders could replace chemical pesticides, say researchers in the US. They plan to carry out field trials, although there are fears about the wisdom of releasing such viruses." (New Scientist media release) | New Scientist article

"1,000 die from stair falls" - "The Government campaign advises people to take care on the stairs by holding handrails and by not trying to carry too much up stairs at any one time." (BBC)

"Tobacco industry under attack" - "The tobacco industry is under fire from all sides with calls for tougher regulation in the UK and Europe." (BBC)

"Executive says cigarette prices would rise to cover damage award" - "The head of the nation's largest tobacco company told a jury Tuesday that cigarette prices will have to rise to cover the cost of any damage award to smokers who were harmed by its products." (AP)

"Heredity, not age, main culprit in development of cataracts" - "Heredity plays a far larger role in the development of cataracts than widely blamed lifestyle factors such as smoking, according to a study." (AP)

June 14, 2000

Draft EPA dioxin report released for scientific review and public comment - "Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released draft chapters of its reassessment of the health risks from dioxin for scientific and public review as part of a process designed to complete the reassessment by the end of the year. The process will include review by an independent peer review panel in July and review by EPA's Scientific Advisory Board planned for October." (EPA media release) | Draft dioxin documents

"Chernobyl 'not so deadly'" - "The nuclear explosion at the Chernobyl power plant has had no major effect on public health, despite fears that it would lead to a massive number of cancers." (BBC) | "Differing numbers on Chernobyl disaster" (Letters in The Washington Times)

"Biotech Crops: Rely on the Science" - "Opponents of biotech foods harbor visions of genetically modified crops escaping into the environment, creating "superweeds" that could have an advantage over other vegetation. This will not happen for a logical reason. The plants that researchers want to improve through biotechnology are crops that are well understood--corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, canola, etc. Plant breeders have been working with these crops for centuries, looking for other plants that might contribute desirable traits to the crops' genetic makeup and using techniques such as mutagenesis and wide-crosses to introduce these traits." (Martina McGloughlin in The Washington Post)

"GM crops 'may contaminate others'" - "Any food could be contaminated with genetically-modified material - even if it is labelled GM-free, the government has said." (BBC) | Other coverage: The Independent | The Guardian | The Times

"Warming Earth, Heated Rhetoric" - "Greenhouse action seems increasingly important, and the chances for it seem increasingly favorable, whether under the Kyoto treaty or through some new agreement. Political overselling of the kind found in the federal global warming study isn't necessary; consensus science and economics are more than enough." (New York Times)

"Great Lakes signal great shift in seasonal changes" - "Scrutinizing a 139-year record, a climatologist has discovered a dramatic shift in the seasonal changes in water levels on the Great Lakes. The finding, reported at a recent meeting of the International Association of Great Lakes Research by climatologist John Lenters, is further evidence that the effects of global warming on natural systems could be far-reaching." (CNN)

"USGS releases World Petroleum Assessment 2000;Global reserve growth nearly equals undiscovered resources" - " Overall there is a 20 percent increase in undiscovered oil and a slight decrease in undiscovered natural gas. The big news is that potential additions to reserves from reserve growth are nearly as large as the estimated undiscovered resource volumes." (USGS media release)

Paul Erhlich... wrong again.

"Gas Prices: Government, Cure Thyself " - "Government regulation has not been as efficient. Fuels reformulated with ethanol, which are popular with the powerful farming lobby and which the EPA would like to require nationwide, cost 5 to 10 cents more per gallon, though they can actually increase some chemical emissions that produce smog." (Detroit News editorial)

"Smog From Huge Ontario Power Plant Hurting People in Upstate New York" - "The Canadian government must ratchet down pollution from North America's largest coal-fired power plant in Nanticoke, Ontario, Great Lakes United will say at a news conference on Wednesday, June 14. The plant, located 63 miles directly upwind from Buffalo, is contaminating the air in upstate New York." (Great Lakes United media release)

"Ergonomics and economics" - "In Washington, D.C., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is putting the finishing touches on the most costly and intrusive regulation in its history. The agency's "ergonomics" rule would require businesses to slow the pace of production, hire more workers, increase rest periods and redesign workstations or even entire operations. OSHA held hearings on the proposed rule in May and says it will finalize the rule this year." (Eugene Scalia for Scripps Howard)

"Musculoskeletal injuries and disorders cost billions" - "Musculoskeletal conditions in the United States cause major disability and will siphon money from the US economy to the tune of $254 billion this year, according to Dorothy Rice, the former director of the National Center for Health Statistics." (Reuters)

"Benefits key to gene-modified foods' acceptance - USDA" - "New types of genetically modified (GM) foods will win popular acceptance when consumers see more of their direct benefits, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials said after a wide-ranging trip in Asia." (Reuters)

"Three herds killed as France reports new BSE cases" - "Three herds totalling 425 cattle were destroyed in France after the discovery of two new cases of mad cow disease, the farm ministry said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Keys canal water may be hazardous to health, study finds" - "Swimming or fishing in some Keys canals could be hazardous to your health: A study by a former University of South Florida researcher, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, shows at least one Keys canal contains live infectious viruses linked to human waste." (Miami Herald)

"Costs and Benefits of a Subtype-Specific Surveillance System for Identifying Escherichia coli O157:H7 Outbreaks" - "We assessed the societal costs and benefits of a subtype-specific surveillance system for identifying outbreak-associated Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections. Using data from Colorado, we estimated that if it averted five cases annually, the system would recover all its costs." (Emerging and Infectious Diseases)

"Malaria and Global Warming in Perspective?" - "To the Editor: I read with great interest the article "From Shakespeare to Defoe: malaria in England in the Little Ice Age" (1). Unfortunately, the article is not as balanced as a presentation last year by Paul Reiter, which clearly illustrated that, although climate is important in the transmission of malaria, the influence of other factors (e.g., access to medical care and improved housing) is likely to be of more importance in Europe." (Emergin and Infectious Diseases) | Paul Reiter's response

"Mediterranean Sea level falling since 1960" - "Tide gauge data suggest that global sea level has risen by approximately 10-25 cm during the past century. Analyzing data from tide gauges and mean monthly sea level data in the Mediterranean, the Back Sea, and the northeastern Atlantic, Tsimplis and Baker [1731] report that in the Mediterranean, sea level rose at rates between 1.2 and 1.5 mm/year until 1960, after which the rates fell to 1.3 mm/year. In contrast, in the Black Sea and in the Atlantic, sea levels rose both before and after 1960, with the Black Sea post-1960 rates remaining mostly unaltered and the Atlantic rate of increase showing a slight reduction since 1960. The authors suggest that the Mediterranean trends are associated with temperature and salinity changes in the deep waters of the Western and Eastern Mediterranean." (Geophysical Research Letters)

"US to ban insecticide amidst health fears " - "Mariann LLoyd-Smith from National Toxics Network says Australia should quickly follow the US to introduce bans." (ABC)

"Radioactive dust no threat to visitors" - "It has been claimed that dust on the Gunlom Falls Road and from other old uranium mine sites in Kakadu National Park poses little radiation risk to the public." (ABC)

"Restrictions on animal tests 'harm UK science'" - "Britain is in danger of being left behind in the advancement of medical science because of its strict policy on the use ofanimals in experiments." (The Independent)

"Green call on food logo" - "Green campaigners are calling for farmers to follow tougher environmental standards before being allowed to use a new food logo on their produce." (The Times)

June 13, 2000

"Kids at Risk: Chemicals in the environment come under scrutiny as the number of childhood learning problems soars" - The cover story for the June 19 issue of U.S. News and World Report.

"3 Crayon Firms Agree To Remake Products" - "The nation's top three crayon manufacturers have agreed to reformulate their product to eliminate an ingredient that may contain asbestos or asbestos-like fibers, after Consumer Product Safety Commission tests found small amounts of the cancer-causing material in some crayons." (Washington Post) | CPSC media release

"Pests more harmful than pesticide" - "The Environmental Protection Agency is about to put another notch on its gun, having shot down most residential uses of Dursban, one of the country's most important and proven insecticides. The hornets, wasps, ticks and ants should be pleased about this, but I fail to see how the action will help protect children, which is what pesticide opponents have been promising." (William O. Robertson in The Seattle Times)

"WHO issues new alarm over drug-resistant infections" - "The World Health Organization on Monday warned that increasingly drug-resistant infections in rich and developing nations alike are threatening to make once-treatable diseases incurable." (AP) | Related coverage: BBC | CNN | MSNBC | Reuters | Washington Post

Some are too quick to blame resistance on antibiotic use in farm animals.

"New push to study cell phone safety" - "The question has been out there almost as long as cell phones themselves: Do they pose a health risk, specifically of brain tumors? Acknowledging that science is not certain, the Food and Drug Administration and the cell phone industry have created their first formal partnership aimed at settling the issue once and for all." (MSNBC) | Related info: FDA media release |CRADA

"Ergonomics designed by OSHA" - "No matter which formula is used, the OSHA costs seem greatly understated and benefits at least somewhat overstated. But worse, OSHA has decided to impose a series of far-reaching and expensive regulations to "solve" a problem that will be partially solved by existing industry momentum. In any case, it will likely not be solved by their prescription of forms, reports and management training -- in a 'one-size-fits-all' process -- despite their claims of 'flexibility.'" (Richard J. Mahoney in The Washington Times)

"Salute and Take the Anthrax Vaccine" - "Some 450,000 active-duty soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have started receiving the shots, and there have been 600 reports of adverse reactions. That is not an unusual rate for a vaccine, but this vaccine has been controversial. Some 300 people have been punished for refusing to take it. Some soldiers question its safety and the competence of its manufacturer, as well as the military's general credibility on health issues." (Chicago Tribune editorial)

"Physicians Group Urges Clinton to Pursue Dioxin Elimination" - "On the eve of the U.S. EPA's release of a reassessment of dioxin, more than 100 prominent physicians, public health professional and scientists have appealed to President Clinton and Vice President Gore "to develop a Plan of Action, which should include national and international commitments to the long-term goal of the virtual elimination" of the dangerous chemical." (PSR media release)

What should Ben & Jerry's do?

"Britain accused of undermining scientific research" - "More than 100 British scientists, including five winners of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, accused the government on Tuesday of undermining science with restrictive regulations on animal research." (Reuters)

"US organic farm groups support federal organic proposal" - "Many organic farmers and groups support the government's proposed labeling standard, which bowed to public demand banning biotechnology and irradiation procedures on foods sold as 'organic,' the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Scientists predict US winners, losers in global warming" - "A sharp rise in temperatures over the coming century will mean benefits for some U.S. states while other areas cope with economic losses, according to a report released Monday by a group of government, academic and private industry scientists." (Reuters) | Report

"Global Warming: Predicting apocalypse from a straw-man argument" - "Well, it's finally on the Web for everyone to see.... the famous government appraisal of what would happen to crops, society and all of North America if the average global temperature rises 5 to 10 degrees in the next 100 years. " (Pro Farmer)

"Investors Group Wants 'Science-Based' Rules On GM Food" - "A group of American investors wants member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to develop "science-based" regulations to be used in evaluating the safety of genetically modified (GM) food products." (Business World)

"Studies Vouch For Safety Of Biotech Corn" - "A study to be published next week online in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry says the composition of Roundup Ready corn is safe and has the same nutritional content as conventional corn. The peer-reviewed study was conducted by Monsanto Co. along with Covance Early Development Services of Madison, Wis., and Colorado Quality Research of Wellington, Colo." (Progressive Farmer)

"Consumers Favor Biotech Over Chemicals" - "Research sponsored by the Philip Morris company and the Farm Bureau suggests that there are several differences between how farmers and consumers perceive biotechnology, chemical use, and other critical farming practices." (Agrinews)

"Smokers' children run meningitis risk" - "Parents who smoke are putting their children at a greater risk of developing meningitis, scientists havediscovered." (The Independent)

"Research backs Charles: GM crops don't deliver" - "The study at the University of Nebraska has found that GM soya actually produces less food than conventional crops, handing a timely weapon to the Prince of Wales in his argument with his sister and father." (The Independent)

"Study Finds Link Between Periodontitis and Heart Disease " - "OraPharma, Inc., a company in the emerging field of oral care medicine, announced that data implicating periodontitis as a risk factor for heart transplant patients, based on a study the Company sponsored, were presented over the weekend at the European Federation of Periodontology's (EFP) annual meeting." (OPHM media release)

June 12, 2000

"EPA's way of pulling the pesticide plug" - "The EPA's action against Dursban is primarily an exercise in convenient ethics coupled with the arbitrariness of safety factors to fulfill the intellectually and morally bankrupt anti-pesticide agenda. Anyone for ethic cleansing at the EPA?" (Steve Milloy in The Washington Times)

The burden of EPA's action will be borne by Chicago's 300,000 asthmatics, including many inner city schoolchildren who suffer at a rate twice the national average. Dursban controls many insects, including cockroaches whose feces are a major asthma trigger. (Steve Milloy in The Chicago Sun-Times)

"War Against Cancer Won't Be Won Soon" - "In choosing cancer as his enemy, Mr. Gore displays the moral cowardice typical of modern politicians, for who will defend cancer as a good thing? Here is hubris without the possibility of nemesis. Mr. Gore's attitude to cancer is approximately the same as President Hoover's to sin -- he is against it." (Theodore Dalrymple in The Wall Street Journal)

"Drastic Climate Changes Forecast" - "Global warming in the 21st century will likely cause drastic changes in the climate of the United States, including potentially severe droughts, increased risk of flood, mass migrations of species, substantial shifts in agriculture and widespread erosion of coastal zones, a new federal report says." (The Washington Post) | Other coverage: New York Times

Check out "Global Warming Study Filled With Junk Science, Political Biases."

"Bt Corn Variety Study Shows No Adverse Effect On Black Swallowtail Caterpillars " - "The study -- published online Tuesday (June 6) by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science -- differs sharply from a May 1999 Nature report in which Cornell University researchers, citing laboratory tests, reported that genetically modified Bt corn slowed the growth and led to early deaths of Monarch caterpillars." (Science Daily)

"From laughing hyenas to crying for the stupidity of it all" - "In Britain, child advocates are trying to ban musical chairs because it encourages aggressive behavior." (Kathleen Parker in The Orlando Sentinel)

"Action on superbugs" - "Doctors have been told they must cut down on the use of unnecessary antibiotics as a way to tackle the growing problem of drug-resistant 'superbugs'." (BBC)

"Shock tactics in smoking battle" - "Euro MPs are set to back new shock tactics on smoking this week - including plans to put pictures of rotting teeth on cigarette packets." (BBC)

June 11, 2000

"Virus carried by mosquitoes detected in birds near New York" - "Concerns that the recent hot weather could allow the mosquito-borne West Nile virus to spread once again in the area around New York increased with the discovery of three birds killed by the disease, The New York Times reported Saturday." (AP) | Other coverage: Reuters

Sure hope New York doesn't need any malathion this summer.

"Electrical appliances not linked to breast cancer risk" - "Despite health concerns about the electromagnetic fields given off by household appliances, a study of more than 1,200 women found no evidence that electric blankets and other electrical gadgets increase the risk of breast cancer." (Reuters)

"US consumers unaware of genetically altered food" - "Only 43% of people in the US know that some of the food they are purchasing in their local grocery store is genetically modified, according to a new survey. Indeed, nearly one if four people incorrectly believe that such food is not being sold in the US." (Reuters)

"EPA’s control model begins to collapse" - "The environmental establishment has gone on red alert at news that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments about whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be required to apply a cost-benefit test to its regulations. Heaven forbid that the EPA has to show that the public is actually getting something for the money it is forced to spend." (Tom Bray in The Detroit News)

"The EPA and Indiana" - "If you had $300 million to spend on cleaning up the environment, your first step would be to figure out how to get the most bang for the buck. Unless you're the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency." (Indianapolis Star-New editorial)

"Keep freeze on CAFE" - "Rising gasoline prices are giving environmental activists in Washington an excuse to revive their efforts to force Americans into tiny, unsafe and underpowered cars." (Indianapolis Star-New editorial)

"South Pole shedding corresponds with warm weather, study says" - "A new study shows that parts of the Antarctic ice sheet were unstable and underwent massive shedding in the past during periods of unusually warm temperatures, fueling the theory that polar ice changes may be tied to climate." (AP)

"Global Warming: House Still Blind " - "Emerson and Knollenberg deny any ambitions beyond blocking the Kyoto treaty, which would require the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But the result of their measures is to distract Congress from identifying and considering reforms that make economic as well as environmental sense in the face of global warming." (Los Angeles Times editorial)

"Report: Warming will reshape U.S.; 'National assessment' by scientists also has its critics" - "Alpine meadows will disappear, along with many coastal wetlands and barrier islands. Cities will be hotter and more humid. Ski runs will be scarcer, the demand for air conditioners will increase and scientists will have to combat a likely resurgence in insect-borne diseases such as malaria. This is part of a new weather forecast for the late 21st century that sees average U.S. temperatures 5 degrees to 10 degrees warmer than today." (MSNBC)

June 9, 2000

"Government bans common garden pesticide as risk to children" - "The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday banned one of the most common pesticides for use in gardens and homes, saying it poses a health risk to children." (AP) Other coverage and related material: New York Times | CNN | MSNBC | Reuters | American Lung Association media release | Carol Browner's remarks | Chlorpyrifos documents

Check out "Junk Ethics Sinks Sound Science" in today's New York Post.

"Long Island mosquitoes may carry malaria" - "So you think malaria is a disease of Africa, Asia, or Central America? Well, think again because homegrown malaria appears to be a reality in Suffolk County, New York. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, two cases of locally-acquired malaria occurred last summer in Suffolk County." (Reuters)

"Mobile-Phone Firms, FDA to Study Effect of Phones on Health of Callers" - "The government and cellular-phone companies are joining forces to research whether wireless phones are dangerous to users' health." (Wall Street Journal) | Related info: FDA media release |CRADA

"House blocks workplace ergonomics rules" - "In a defeat for labor unions, the House voted Thursday to block federal rules to prevent some of the 1.8 million workplace injuries occurring each year." (AP)

"Taxpayer Watchdog Group Blasts 'Nutty Professors' " - "John Frydenlund, director of the Center for International Food and Agriculture Policy at Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), ridiculed the idea of a national fat tax on soft drinks and snack foods. The tax was proposed by Profs. Michael Jacobson and Kelly Brownell in the June issue of American Journal of Public Health." (CAGW media release)

"Putting the brakes on CAFE standards" - "Sam Kazman is right in pointing out that proponents of tougher corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards regularly dodge the safety issue ('Death by caution,' Op-Ed, June 6)." (Bonner Cohen in The Washington Times)

"Empirical assessment of effect of publication bias on meta-analyses" - "Publication or related biases were common within the sample of meta-analyses assessed. In most cases these biases did not affect the conclusions. Nevertheless, researchers should check routinely whether conclusions of systematic reviews are robust to possible non-random selection mechanisms." (BMJ)

"Widespread alert on seeds contaminated with GM" - "British farmers were facing a fresh scare over genetically modified crops last night after the Government admitted seed imports from nine countries should be classed as 'contaminated' with GM products." (The Independent)

"Israel pollutes the Mediterranean" - "The International 'Greenpeace" Organization for fighting pollution has said that the Israeli chemical industries spread along the coast of the Mediterranean cause great and large scale pollution in the waters of the Mediterranean and harm the plantation." (ArabicNews.com)

"Contamination fears lead to calls to axe GM trials" - "Friends of the Earth has called for the latest round of GM farm scale trials to be scrapped following the Government's decision to review separation distances between GM and non-GM crops." (ANANOVA)

"Nobel Laureate Hails GMO Technology" - "A Nobel Prize laureate, Dr Norman E. Borlaugh, has defended the utilisation of Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs to boost food production in the world." (PANA)

"Insecticide dispenser units may cause illness" - "No one wants to see flying insects in restaurants or other locations where food is handled so devices have been developed to automatically spray insecticide in these types of areas. But in a report released Thursday, government health officials said that pesticide-associated illnesses have been traced back to these automatic units." (Reuters)

"US teens continue to take health risks" - "Like most report cards turning up in homes across the country this month, a federal survey of US teens has both good news and bad news for parents. The good news: fewer teens are carrying a weapon, while more are wearing seat belts, bike helmets and using condoms. The bad news: many teens still engage in risky activities, such as drinking and driving, unprotected sex, using illicit drugs or eating unhealthy diets that lead to obesity." (Reuters) | Related material: "Tobacco-Free Kids Statement on 1999 Youth Risk Behavior Survey"

"New approach to antibiotic resistance: Rearchers create a new type of antibiotics effective against many bacteria " - "Bacteria, which create the proteins they need to survive, are constantly evolving and mutating in ways that circumvent the activity of antibiotics. To get around this problem, the researchers found a way to bind the antibiotic to the bacteria's protein-making machinery (called ribonucleic acid, or RNA). This prevents the formation of proteins that allow the bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics, according to Chi-Huey Wong, lead author for research team at the Scripps Research Institute in California." (American Chemical Society media release)

"Stanford study supports novel rainforest protection plan" - "'Save the Rainforest' could become more than a slogan if a bold, new conservation plan is adopted by the UN this summer, according to a Stanford study in the June 9 issue of Science magazine. Under the plan, rich countries could help poor, tropical nations protect their rainforests in exchange for 'carbon credits' designed to reduce global warming." (Stanford University media release)

"UF research shows Antarctic ice sheet was unstable in past warming periods" - "A research team led by University of Florida geologists is the first to find evidence that parts of the Antarctic ice sheet have undergone episodes of massive instability that appear to correspond with periods of unusually warm temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere during the last ice age." (University of Florida media release)

"Green charcoal gives butterflies a lift" - "Conservationists in the United Kingdom say home-produced charcoal can save tropical rainforests, and also help woodland species at home." (BBC)

"Vegan diet 'cuts prostate cancer risk'" - "A vegan diet might lower the risk of developing prostate cancer, say researchers." (BBC)

June 8, 2000

"Killing bugs will get harder; Dursban ban: Home use of pesticide cut off by EPA; stores may sell their inventories" - "Dursban, the nation's most popular home and garden insecticide, will be banned for nearly all residential use because of safety concerns, and new restrictions will be imposed on its agricultural use, the Environmental Protection Agency will announce today." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Check out:

"Asbestos shouldn't be in crayons, but poses almost no risk, researchers say " - "With the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) expected to release its report on asbestos in crayons by early next week, scientists say the substance shouldn't be used in crayons - but also that the chance of contracting a disease from it is very remote." (Seattle Times)

"Row over breast cancer diet claim" - "A claim that a dairy-free diet can prevent breast cancer has been disputed by a leading charity." (BBC) | Other coverage: The Independent

"Pesticides residues seen too high in children's food" - "Favorite children's foods like apples and grapes have high levels of toxic residues from pesticides, Consumers Union, a nonprofit advocacy group, said on Tuesday, urging the US government to do more to ban the use of dangerous chemicals." (Reuters)

"EPA to Announce Judgment on Pesticide Frequently Used on Produce " - "Procter & Gamble has recently introduced the nationally available produce wash, Fit(r) Fruit and Vegetable Wash(r) which is 98 percent more effective than water at removing pesticides from produce." (P&G media release)

"Clean Air Trust Names U.S. Supreme Court the Clean Air 'Villain of the Month'" - "The Trust named the High Court for its recent decision to accept a petition by industry groups that want to subject national clean air standards to a prospective cost-benefit test." (Clean Air Trust media release)

"GM firm sues Canadian farmer" - "US biotechnology company Monsanto has taken a Canadian farmer to court, accusing him of illegally growing its genetically-modified (GM) crop." (BBC)

"Biotech holds worldwide promises, but hindered by concerns in UK, says leading scientist in field" - "Based on history, one could have legitimatelypredicted that the United Kingdom would be among the world's leaders in developing biotechnology today. Instead, the U.K. is known worldwide as the nation most responsible for impeding introduction of this technology." (AgWeb.com)

"Seed firm claims Whitehall said 'not to worry' over GM scare " - "Senior civil servants from two Whitehall ministries told the company that faces huge compensation payments to farmers for destroying crops contaminated with genetically modified seeds that the initial scare was 'not serious', it was revealed last night." (The Guardian)

"LCVEF: Environment Will Be Top-Tier Issue In 2000 Elections " - "Conservationists predict that voters will make the environment a top-tier voting issue in the 2000 elections. To make that claim a reality, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCVEF) will launch a $613,000 'Vote Environment" advertising program in the Sacramento media market.' (LCVEF media release)

"Princess Anne distances herself from royal GM row" - "Britain's Princess Anne distanced herself from heated debate in the royal family about genetically modified foods by saying the jury is still out on the issue." (Reuters) | Other coverage The Times | The Independent

"SPD renew pact with Greens in key German state" - "German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) and the ecologist Greens agreed on Wednesday to renew their centre-left coalition in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia." (Reuters)

"Calif. teachers' retirement fund drops tobacco stocks" - "The California State Teachers Retirement System decided Wednesday to drop the majority of its tobacco stocks from its investment portfolio, representing holdings of more than $237 million." (Reuters)

"Nutrition experts urge schools to ban junk food" - "Accusing US schools of 'putting profit over nutrition,' five leading medical associations and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a challenge to schools Wednesday, calling for a ban on junk food in school cafeterias and vending machines. Instead, schools are urged to teach a life lesson by promoting healthy foods and physical activity." (Reuters)

"Passionate activist can be thorn even to environmentalists" - "He's been called this generation's John Muir or Henry David Thoreau. As an uncompromising champion of the environment, David Brower has, in fact, become one of the most influential people in the modern history of the environmental movement." (AP)

"R.J. Reynolds Tobacco won't change policy on magazine ads" - "R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. will maintain its advertising policy and won't follow Philip Morris USA in reducing cigarette ads in magazines with large youth readerships." (AP)

"U.S. to continue to aid Ukraine after Chernobyl closes" - "The United States will continue to provide financial aid to Ukraine after the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is closed, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine said Wednesday." (AP)

"Tobacco companies are 'cash cows,' professor testifies " - "Tobacco companies are 'cash cows' that pride themselves on their ability to generate money, a finance expert testified Wednesday in a landmark case that seeks punitive damages from the industry." (AP)

June 7, 2000

"Earth and the Unbalanced" - Check out this new web site!

"U.S. Rejects Pesticide Tests on Humans" - "The Clinton administration has decided to sidestep a major political and ethical quagmire by rejecting the use of human experiments in setting regulatory limits for pesticides." (Washington Post)

Find out why the EPA is foregoing human testing at this time. Note Washington Post dope Joby Warrick completely omitted the Dursban connection.

"Butterflies survive next to GM corn" - "Scientists have shown how one common species of butterfly can live quite happily next to corn genetically modified to kill insect pests." (BBC)

"Protest group sabotages grass research facility" - "A group calling itself the Anarchist Golfing Association has claimed responsibility for the destruction of experiments on genetically altered grass being developed for use on putting greens." (AP) | Other coverage: Reuters

"Firm to fund breast implant removal" - "The makers of soya-filled breast implants say they will pay for women to have them removed after a government health warning." (BBC) | Other coverage: Reuters

"Vietnam Flashback; Does Agent Orange cause diabetes?" - "Beyond diabetes rates, the Air Force study looked at the other 'Agent Orange-associated diseases,' including nine different cancers, for which groups like the American Legion had lobbied to get compensation. What did it find? "Ranch Hand enlisted ground crew, the occupation with the highest dioxin levels and, presumably, the highest herbicide exposure, exhibited a decreased prevalence" of cancer. The Ranch Hands got cancer about 21 percent less often than the comparison group of Vietnam vets who sprayed no herbicide at all. Like the 47 percent increase in diabetes, that decrease is statistically insignificant. But if you want to follow the lead of those media types and politicians who tossed statistical significance to the four winds in the case of diabetes, you can conclude that Agent Orange and dioxin exposure reduce cancer risks." (Michael Fumento in Reason)

"Russian Greens up in arms after state body axed" - "The Russian arm of environmental group Greenpeace said on Tuesday it planned to hold an emergency meeting of other ecological groups next week to protest against the scrapping of a special state environment protection body." (Reuters)

"Prince Philip wades into GM food debate" - "Genetically modified food is no different than breeding racehorses, according to Prince Philip. With that comment, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II waded into the debate over GMOs Tuesday." (CBC)

"Shareholders get to put bio-engineered foods to vote Issue qualifies to appear on proxies of Coke, Pepsi, Philip Morris, Quaker Oats" - "Shareholder proposals designed to force food, restaurant and seed companies to abandon genetic engineering have won modest backing so far, clearing a key hurdle in four of seven cases." (USA Today)

"Greenpeace launches anti-GMO Web site" - "As part of their June newsletter, Greenpeace announced the launch of their True Foods Web site, designed at providing warnings on the use of genetically modified foods." (AgWeb.com)

"Hangovers far from harmless" - "The Vikings referred to it as the uneasiness that follows debauchery, while the ancient Greeks simply called it "pain." Whichever best describes the jangle of headache, nausea and diarrhea known as the common hangover, researchers on Monday said its biggest sufferers are light-to-moderate drinkers who pose a definite risk to themselves and enormous costs for society." (Reuters)

"Antioxidants may not reduce heart risk in smokers" - "Antioxidants are unlikely to do much to help smokers avoid cardiac disease, new study findings suggest." (Reuters)

"Canada to impose tougher ozone emission standards" - "Canada's federal and provincial governments agreed to robust guidelines for ozone emissions on Tuesday that will force Ontario, the country's industrial heartland, to reduce emissions by aboutpercent by 2010, roughly to levels prevalent in the 1950s." (Reuters)

"French farmers confident on GM seed compensation" - "French oilseed producers said on Tuesday they were confident they would be fully compensated after the government ordered the destruction of rapeseed crops with traces of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)." (Reuters)

"Marketers slam U.S. EPA on green gasoline rules" - "Gasoline marketers urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday to reconsider its 'flawed' decision not to grant leniency on green gasoline requirements in supply-starved Illinois and Milwaukee." (Reuters)

"Analysis: The Chernobyl legacy" - "[BBC] Environment correspondent Alex Kirby examines whether the threat of nuclear disaster is over now that Chernobyl is about to close." (BBC)

"Cigarette firms could raise $157 billion, professor testifies" - "The domestic operations of the nation's five biggest cigarette makers have a "strikingly rosy" future, a financial expert testified Tuesday before a jury that is weighing the amount of damages to tobacco industry owes to sick smokers. " (AP)

"Scientists expose "junk science" behind genetically modified corn approvals" - "A scientific report released by Greenpeace exposes the 'junk science' behind the approvals of genetically modified crops." (Greenpeace Canada) | Toronto Star

June 6, 2000

"USDA Seeks Comments On Organic Food" - "These days e-mail is possibly the best and the fastest mode to communicate one's views even to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which currently is said to be inviting views from all across the world on organic food. And what could be more interesting than even winning $1,000 for your comments? The best place to submit comments to the USDA rule-making is through Junkscience.com's "organic" is just marketing sweepstakes." (The Financial Express)

"Bt corn variety found to be safe to Illinois butterfly" - "A Bt corn variety grown widely in East Central Illinois in 1999 had no adverse effect on black swallowtail caterpillars that thrive in weeds alongside cornfields, according to both field and laboratory studies at the University of Illinois." (U. Illinois media release) | New York Times

Last year, the New York Times reported the Cornell University study on GM corn and Monarch butterflies as a front-page story ("Altered Corn May Imperil Butterfly, Researchers Say," 5/20/99). The new study on GM corn and swallowtails is featured much less prominently -- section D, page 2 ("Type of Biotech Corn Found to be Safe to a Butterfly Species," 6/6/00).

Check out my related Washington Times commentary, "Dressing up the butterflies".

"The Senate's Pests: Bill to Shield Kids Ignores Problem of Vermin and Bugs" - "Whenever you hear that the House or Senate has approved something unanimously, your antennae should twitch. It is probably 'feel good' legislation. But 'feel good' and 'do good' are often worlds apart, as this year's unanimous Senate vote on the School Environmental Protection Act shows." (Michael Fumnto in Investor's Business Daily)

"When 'facts' go unchecked" - "Just the facts. That's what people want to know about the weather and the climate, and what they are getting, judging from recent media stories about U.S. temperatures from January through April, isn't even close to what they want." (Pat Michaels in The Washington Times)

"Court refuses to dismiss lawsuits against Three Mile Island plant owners " - "The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to free the Three Mile Island nuclear plant's owners from lawsuits filed by nearly 2,000 people who say their health problems stem from the nation's worst nuclear accident in 1979." (AP)

"Designer shades 'no safer'" - "Designer sunglasses may be the height of fashion - but they offer no more protection from the sun than cheap alternatives costing £1 a pair." (BBC)

"Proposed food label changes for trans fats could reduce heart disease deaths, save money" - "Deaths from heart attacks could be reduced as a result of a government plan to change food labels to reflect the amount of trans fatty acids in processed foods, according to a study presented here today at an American Heart Association dietary conference on fatty acids." (American Heart Association media release)

Check out my related Chicago Sun-Times commentary, "FDA label rule lacks scientific basis ".

"Biodiversity may reduce Lyme disease " - "It's well-known that biodiversity makes ecosystems healthier. But new research shows that biodiversity may make people healthier too. People are less likely to get Lyme disease if they live in areas with a greater diversity of small mammals, according to the June issue of Conservation Biology." (Society for Conservation Biology media release)

"New York Cancer Maps Get Mixed Response" - "An ambitious effort to map cancer clusters and post them on a consumer-friendly Web site has gotten under way in New York State. The response so far has been mixed, a state official said here Monday." (Reuters)

Check out my related New York Post commentary, "The Cancer Cluster Lie".

"The Cancer Prevention Coalition and Public Citizen Charge Congress With Proposing Deceptive Labeling of Irradiated Food, Besides Ignoring Its Risks To Health and the Environment" - "Caving in to industry interests, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have introduced legislation to exempt irradiated food from being labeled 'irradiated' in favor of 'electronically pasteurized.'" (Cancer Prevention Coalition media release)

"Bid to ban pesticides on lawns takes root" - "A proposal submitted in the House of Commons by the environment committee calls for a nationwide ban on "cosmetic" pesticides in residential lawns, like those that make the grass look greener or exterminate the dandelions. The committee says lawn pesticides should be regulated the same way as tobacco, lead, and asbestos." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Anti-meat billboard rises near Seattle" - "An animal rights group is continuing to claim that eating meat can cause sexual impotence, this time on a billboard that was rejected in 13 states before being erected on the outskirts of Seattle." (Reuters)

"Round one starts in farmer's GM fight with Monsanto" - "A Canadian farmer went toe to toe with agribusiness giant Monsanto Co. in court on Monday as arguments started in a case that questions the environmental safety of growing genetically modified organisms." (Reuters)

"UK butterflies ravaged by climate change" - "It has taken 10,000 volunteers, 1.6 million recorded sightings and five years of painstaking research, but the biggest census ever of British butterflies has finally been completed." (The Independent)

"New fears over soya oil breast implants " - "A new warning about the safety of breast implants filled with soya oil is to be issued by the Department of Health today." (The Independent)

"Mobile masts on churches plan " - "They were built to make worshippers feel closer to God. But now church spires are to bring ordinary mortals together... on mobile phones. " (The Independent)

"GM body will voice consumer concerns" - "The Government made a fresh attempt to calm public fears over GM crops and foods yesterday when it unveiled a new independent body that will give advice to ministers on the technology." (The Independent)

"White House Fact Sheet on Protecting Environment and Combating Global Warming " - "President Clinton and President Putin today announced a new commitment between the United States and the Russian Federation to strengthen joint efforts to combat global climate change." (White House media release)

"Two herds killed as France reports new BSE case" - "Two herds totalling 83 heads of cattle were destroyed in France after the discovery of a new case of mad cow disease, the farm ministry said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Conflicting HRT studies frighten women" - "Women are getting so much conflicting evidence about the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that they are being frightened into unnecessarily dropping the therapy or not taking it at all, women's health experts said here Sunday." (Reuters)

"Russia closing Cherynobyl power plant" - "The Chernobyl nuclear power plant, scene of the world's worst nuclear accident, will close forever Dec. 15, President Leonid Kuchma said Monday. He and President Clinton toasted the announcement with champagne." (AP) | Other coverage: Reuters | White House fact sheet

"Seat belts riskier than boosters for children 4-8, study says " - "Strapping young children into seat belts instead of booster seats in the car significantly increases their risk of death and serious injury, a study shows." (AP)

"Suspend GM Crops For 5 Years - Scientists " - "In a letter to delegates at the fifth Conference of Parties (COP5) on the Convention on Biological Diversity at Gigiri, Nairobi, some 310 scientists from both the developed and developing countries demanded a moratorium on the use of GMOs and LMOs. They said they were concerned about the dangers these products posed for biodiversity, food safety, human and animal health. " (Africa News Online)

"GM doubts force British farmer to destroy rape crop" - "A British farmer said on Monday he would destroy a crop of oilseed rape which may contain genetically-modified (GM) plants not approved for sale in Europe." (Reuters)

June 5, 2000

"Radon study wrongly fuels cancer scare" - "Sorry, but the only significant thing about this study and its appearance in such a prestigious and peer-reviewed medical journal is that it answers a question posed by the title of a recent editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine: 'Is Academic Science for Sale?' You’d better believe it." (Michael Fumento in The Detroit News)

"In War Over PCB's in Hudson, the E.P.A. Nears Its Rubicon" - "A generation-long tug of war between environmental officials and the General Electric Company over what, if anything, to do about the Hudson River's last big chemical stain is almost over." (New York Times)

Check out Michael Fumento's The Hudson River: Roiling the Water (Forbes; July 26, 1999)

"Guess What You Had for Breakfast this Morning?" - Here's a full-page ad in The New York Times from the Center for Health Environment and Justice on dioxin.

I can't worry about what was in my breakfast just yet. I'm still worried about what was in last night's Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

"Japan 'the most healthy country'" - "People who live in Japan can expect to remain in good health longer than anybody else in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)." (BBC)

"Air pollution may trigger sudden deaths; Rise in particles alters heart rate, studies find " - "Even moderate air pollution routinely found in many U.S. cities may trigger sudden deaths by changing heart rhythms in people with existing cardiac problems, according to extensive new scientific research." (Houston Chronicle)

"Clean Air and the Court" - "How to maintain progress at acceptable cost is a judgment for the political branches to make; current law allows them to make it. The EPA is not the untethered entity that the appeals court majority described. The politicians lack no opportunity to control its course. The courts have been tempted here to play a part in a debate from which they should abstain." (Washington Post editorial)

"Is that fireplace a respiratory danger?" - "Logs blazing in the fireplace on a cold winter night are the very symbol of romance or domestic tranquillity. Too bad they're no good for the air." (San Jose Mercury News)

"Message from UN Secretary General Annan on World Environment Day" - "Our quest for a healthy environment is a never-ending process. It should be an integral part of our way of life. The theme for this year's World Environment Day -- 2000-The Environment Millennium - Time to Act ?is a timely reminder of our role in the ecosystem." (Earth Times)

"India using biotech to improve food security" - "India is among several major economies making major investments in human and financial resources in the field of biotechnology with twin aims of improving food security and reducing poverty." (Times of India)

"Princess defends GM foods" - "The Princess Royal has spoken out in favour of genetically modified (GM) foods - putting herself at odds with the views of the Prince of Wales." (BBC)

"Once-deadly glass harmonica returns as instrument of healing" - "Fearful German officials banned it, making the glass harmonica perhaps the only musical instrument to be outlawed as a health threat. But now, after decades of disuse, the instrument is coming back to life with a reputation for healing. " (AP)

"British power station makes juice from mad cow remains" - "Cattle slaughtered during Britain's mad cow crisis are finding new life - as a source of electricity." (AP)

"Celebrate the Heat Day" - "Monday, June 5th, will mark the second annual 'Celebrate the Heat Day', sponsored by The National Anxiety Center, headquartered in Maplewood, NJ. 'After years of being told how horrid it will be when global warming occurs,' said founder, Alan Caruba, 'we want to help sooth the fears generated by this huge hoax.'"

June 4, 2000

"Curbing Regulatory Excess" - "The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should take cost into account in setting air quality standards . The economic burden and marginal benefit of many regulations make this assue of great importance. But establishing such a regulatory policy is the province of Congress, not the court." (Detroit News editorial)

"Pure Water, Pure Dikat" - "The one thing that the federal Environmental Protection Agency does well is telling other people how to spend money. Their own money, that is." (New York Post editorial)

"Modified Foods Put Companies in a Quandary" - "Despite recent actions taken by companies like Frito-Lay and Gerber Products to ban certain genetically altered foods, none of these companies is actually abandoning biotechnology." (New York Times)

"Living in the Shadow of Chernobyl's Reactors" - "Fourteen years after the disaster that killed 28 people outright with high radiation doses and touched off an epidemic of cancers among children who lived nearby, Ukraine will close the last operating reactor at Chernobyl." (New York Times)

June 3, 2000

"Junk food tax could fund health campaigns" - "Putting a small tax on soft drinks, candy, and other snack foods nationwide could raise over $1 billion a year for health promotion campaigns, without significantly affecting the price or sales of these items, US researchers suggest." (Reuters)

"The renegade captain of spaceship Earth" - "Maurice Strong invites amateur psychology. He admits to being governed by 'an urgent, overwhelming anxiety for the future of the planet.' How could one not trace this back to the shy child, wondering of other children whether "they needed as much as I did the sense of orderliness and purpose that seemed so lacking in adult life." Within Maurice Strong perhaps lies the world's most prominent wounded inner child, who has projected onto the entire globe his need for security, but for whose tortured vision the world would have to pay a terrible price." (Peter Foster in The National Post)

"You want fries with that?" - "The fact is, the American public has been bombarded with so many confusing messages for so long ('Saccharin may cause cancer; no it doesn't.') that it largely tunes out food stories. They're all part of the dull roar in the background of our lives, which makes changing attitudes very difficult." (Boston Herald editorial)

"USDA launches food safety effort stressing thermometers" - "In an effort to help limit the number of Americans who become sick each year from foodborne pathogens like Listeria, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a campaign to increase consumer use of thermometers when cooking meat, poultry and egg products." (Reuters)

"US 'dumped' GM food in Orissa" - "An Indian environmental activist accuses the US Government of dumping genetically-engineered food on victims of last year's cyclone." (BBC)

"BSE carcasses burned for electricity" - "A power station in Lincolnshire has begun producing electricity from the remains of cattle slaughtered in the wake of the BSE crisis." (BBC)

"The perils of medical quackery" - "The swindlers and pseudotherapists are all too willing to make a killing -- literally -- off the reckless, desperate, lazy and blind. Magic, they know, is a lot easier to sell and swallow than the bitter tonic of personal responsibility." (Michelle Malkin at Townhall.com)

"US Tobacco industry asks judge to dismiss suit" - "A tobacco industry attorney asked a federal judge on Friday to dismiss the US Justice Department's lawsuit seeking to recover billions of dollars spent by the federal government on smoking-related illnesses." (Reuters)

June 2, 2000

"EPA 'Ethics,' Not Science, Sink Pesticide" - The Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to restrict over-the-counter sales of insecticide Dursban, also known as chlorpyrifos. Oddly enough, this EPA action is not being driven so much by junk science as junk ethics. The EPA refuses to use scientific data that would obviate the need for action against Dursban because the data are allegedly "unethical."

"WWF helping to flush money down Toronto sewers" - "What does the World Wildlife Fund Canada know about sewers? Now is the time for Toronto residents to be asking themselves that question." (Steve Milloy in The National Post)

"Gore pledges to lead fight against cancer " - "Al Gore crawled on the floor with a toddler and spoke of the anguish of watching his own son near death as he commiserated Thursday with cancer patients and promised to lead a war on the disease." (AP)

Don't miss "A Child's Tragedy: A Parent's Character."

"'No fertility crisis' despite sperm decline" - "In spite of the falling quality of British sperm, couples' overall fertility has increased since the 1960s, say scientists." (BBC)

"CDC expands campaign against overuse of antibiotics" - "In an effort to fight drug-resistant bacteria, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding its campaign to reduce the number of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions." (CNN)

"Group petitions for recall of dietary guidelines" - "The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has filed a petition to recall the U.S. Dietary Guidelines issued Saturday, saying they need to emphasize vegetables and fruits more." (CNN)

"Hormone therapy found to boost risk of breast cancer" - "Use of a hormone-replacement therapy with estrogen and progestin can more than double the risk of a form of breast cancer, researchers reported today in the journal Cancer." (CNN)

"Sand may have contributed to Gulf War syndrome" - "Gulf War syndrome may in part be the result of Al Eskan disease, an immune system disorder caused by inhalation of the fine, dusty sand common in the Arabian peninsula, according to a report in the May issue of Military Medicine." (Reuters)

"Stop trying too hard to kill bacteria, expert says" - "Americans have to lose their illogical fear of bacteria and stop trying to kill them all if the problem of drug-resistant 'superbugs' is to be licked, an expert said on Thursday. " (Reuters)

"IFIC Survey Finds Brighter Consumer Outlook on Food Biotechnology " - "Consumer attitudes regarding food biotechnology are increasingly positive after a slight dip last fall. This is according to the latest International Food Information Council (IFIC) survey of U.S. consumers, conducted May 5-9, by Wirthlin Worldwide." (IFIC media release)

"Brazil moves to ban tobacco ads, hike taxes" - "Brazil sent a bill to Congress on Wednesday proposing that Latin America's biggest country ban all tobacco advertising and sports sponsorship and hike cigarette taxes in a bid to prevent kids from getting hooked on smoking." (Reuters)

June 1, 2000

"EPA Increases Risk Estimate Of a Pesticide" - "The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that one of the most commonly used pesticides, a compound sold as Dursban and found in dozens of home-and-garden products, may be more dangerous to people than previously thought, according to sources familiar with the decision." (Washington Post)

"Coverage by the News Media of the Benefits and Risks of Medications" - "News-media stories about medications may include inadequate or incomplete information about the benefits, risks, and costs of the drugs as well as the financial ties between study groups or experts and pharmaceutical manufacturers." (New England Journal of Medicine) | Editorial | Media release

"The cost of EPA 'benefits'" - " Should cost considerations be taken into account when a government agency issues regulations? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its allies in the environmental advocacy movement think not. If it costs the economy -- more precisely, the American people -- millions or even billions of dollars to address a risk that might be no more than hypothetical, well, 'the children' are worth it." (Washington Times editorial)

"Cleaner, deadlier air" - "EPA doesn't have to consider costs like those, according to its interpretation of the law; it's free to use imaginary science to protect imaginary beneficiaries, including those who eat dirt 245 days a year. Arguments before the high court should be a good opportunity for Justice Breyer and others to concentrate the agency's mind on the real costs of its regulations to real people." (Ken Smith in the Washington Times)

"Antarctic environment and global climate: Studies of ancient Antarctic environment aid understanding of global climate change " - "Learning how Antarctica has responded to changes in the past is a key to understanding the global climate changes that concern us today, explains University of Michigan doctoral candidate Leah Joseph. Using novel techniques to investigate Antarctica's ancient environment, Joseph and colleagues have raised new questions about the critical link between global climate and ocean circulation. They presented part of their work at the spring meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) today." (AGU media release)

"Canada E. Coli Claims 7th Victim" - "An E. coli outbreak in a Canadian farming town has claimed the lives of two more patients, bringing the death toll to seven. Hundreds more have been infected." (AP)

"The Push to Ban Tobacco Ads" - "The World Health Organization launched a global campaign against the tobacco industry today, accusing the companies of systematically spreading death almost unchallenged." (ABCNews.com) | WHO media release

"Mass. May Force Cigarette Tests" - "Stepping up its battle with the tobacco industry, the state Department of Public Health is planning to force cigarette makers to test smokers' urine to show how much nicotine gets into their bodies." (AP)

"Fire raises concerns of toxic waste" - "More than two weeks after a hellish New Mexico wildfire burned 400 homes and closed the Los Alamos National Laboratory, concern is mounting over whether erosion caused by the fire will unleash toxic and radiological contaminants into the Rio Grande." (Chicago Sun-Times)

"White House Fact Sheet: U.S.-EU Cooperation on Biotechnology " - "The U.S. and the EU today agreed to establish a Consultative Forum to review and assess the benefits and risks of biotechnology and prepare a report on these issues for the December 2000 U.S.-EU Summit. " (White House media release)

"New Science Shows Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtles Even Closer to Extinction Than Thought" - "Pacific leatherback sea turtles are down to only a few thousand individuals, according to today's edition of the scientific journal Nature." (Center for Marine Conservation media release)

"Environmental Protection Agency Agrees to Write Anti-Smog Cleanup Plans" - "Today the Environmental Protection Agency agreed to write cleanup plans to control ozone, the primary component of smog, in several major metropolitan areas. In a settlement filed today in federal court in Washington, D.C. in a suit by environmental groups, EPA would be required to prepare the plans by no later than June 2002, unless states prepare adequate plans before then. " (Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund media release)

"Environmentalists 'Flunk' Governments During Meeting With Clinton, Prodi" - "In a meeting today with European Commission President Romano Prodi and U.S. President Bill Clinton, environmental groups from the European Union and the United States sharply criticized their governments for lack of progress in addressing critical environmental issues." (Defenders of Wildlife media release)

"Tofu Desserts Help Prevent Cancer, Says Research Institute " - "How ironic that an activist organization chose the May 30-31 "National Nutrition Summit" to throw a pie at Dan Glickman, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) doesn't know how the home-made tofu pie might have tasted. But the Washington, D.C. charity -- the largest one devoted to the links between cancer and nutrition -- does know that foods made with soy products can be useful tools in fighting chronic diseases - as long as they're eaten, not thrown." (AICR media release)

"Older drivers more dangerous on left turns" - "Older drivers are twice as likely as younger drivers to have a motor vehicle accident when making a left-hand turn, according to US researchers." (Reuters)

"Preliminary opinion of the Scientific Steering Committee on the geographical risk of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy - 25 May 2000" - From the European Commission.

"Will litigation become part of public health arsenal in Canada's war against smoking? " - "Mammoth US legal settlements against the tobacco industry, such as a recent $6.9-million award in Florida that opens the door to a $300-billion payout for 500 000 smokers, are good news for Canada antismoking advocates. Why? Because the US lawsuits have pried loose some 39 million pages of internal tobacco company documents (www.cctc.ca/ncth/guildford) that are essential to a Canadian class-action suit and suits brought individually. As a result, the law may eventually become as big a weapon in the public health war against smoking in Canada as it is in the US." (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

"Shocking, graphic cigarette packages are a deterrent: study " - "A University of Guelph study on cigarette packages has concluded that strong emotional statements on packages, such as "Smoking causes mouth cancer," along with pictures of rotting gums and blackened teeth, are huge deterrents to both smokers and nonsmokers. " (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

"New medical journal editor promises to reduce conflict of interest" - "The newly appointed editor of the New England Journal of Medicine is pledging to divest any interest he has in pharmaceutical companies in an effort to avoid conflicts of interest." (AP)

"Japanese concerned uranium casings left by U.S." - "Japanese officials on Wednesday said they were concerned that depleted-uranium ammunition casings disposed by the U.S. military as scrap iron were emitting radioactivity that could harm humans." (AP)

"Commission to expose pollution from dams--magazine" - "Hydroelectric power plants are not as environmentally friendly as they appear and release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than coal-fired power stations, New Scientist magazine said on Wednesday." (New Scientist)

"Sacred trust" - " Rachel Carson eloquently reminded us that we don't know how to make a single blade of grass." (Prince Charles in The Globe and Mail)

"GM-contaminated rape sown here" - "The Department of Agriculture has admitted it planted oilseed rape only to discover it was accidentally contaminated by a genetically-modified variety of the crop developed in Canada, but not approved for EU markets." (Irish Times)

"Chairman Smith a Pleasant Surprise" - "For many environmentalists, it was a nightmare scenario: Pro-conservation Sen. John Chafee had died, replaced by pro-business Sen. Bob Smith as chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee." (AP)

"100 countries demand urgent action on environment" - "More than 100 countries warned Wednesday that the earth's natural resources were being depleted at an alarming rate and called for urgent and concerted international action to counter the trend." (AFP)