November 1998

"News Media Makes Baloney From Sugar" (11/30/98) Nutrition News Focus looks at a study claiming sugar hastens the aging process.

Continuing junk science education credit: Royal Society of Medicine sponsors meeting on endocrine disrupters (11/30/98) Here's the Royal Society of Medicine's announcement for a meeting on "Environmental oestrogens and their significance for man and other species." The announcement says physicians attending the meeting can earn 4 "continuing medical education" (CME) credits. But for a meeting on endocrine disrupters, shouldn't the Royal Society really be awarding "continuing junk science education" credits?

"Snake Oil Bestsellers" (11/30/98) "The [publishing] industry doesn't seem to understand the long-term damage it does by prematurely hyping a condition and a 'cure' when it really hasn't scientifically established either." Click for the original critique of the Arnot book by the American Council on Science and Health.

"Many Torts Later, the Case Against Implants Collapses" (11/30/98) "A week from today the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael on the admission of expert testimony. This seemingly esoteric, technical issue carries great practical import, given the explosive spread of junk science in the courtroom."

"Useless to Appease Greenpeace Bully" (11/30/98) "[Mattel] admitted that [its] products were safe, but were being yanked because of bad PR, mostly stirred up by one of the most radical environmental groups, Greenpeace. Doing so, those firms may think they have satisfied their duty to their shareholders. But ultimately, caving in to terror tactics and junk science harms us all."

"Study Shows Hair Dyes Pose Scant Cancer Risk" (11/30/98) A good article on the new hair dye-cancer study -- until the end when the article suggests the FDA needs more regulatory authority.

Testicular abnormalities in the sons of farmers and gardeners (11/30/98) Niels E. Skakkebaek, the Danish researcher who brought us declining-sperm-count hysteria, is back with a study claiming undescended testicles and hypospadias (opening of the urethra in the wrong place) are associated with mothers who work in the farming and gardening professions. Skakkebaek hypothesizes that maternal pesticide exposures are to blame. But the reported statistical associations are very weak -- the greatest odds ratio is only 1.67 -- and they aren't based on any measured or estimated exposures to pesticides. Undescended testicles and hypospadias can be corrected with surgery. I'm not sure what the fix is for undescended statistical associations.

"Is It Safe to Drive SUVs?" (11/29/98) Is there anyone who can demonstrate that cars are safer than SUVs? I doubt it. The enviros are decidedly against SUVs because emission standards are less stringent and more raw materials are used in cars than SUVs. I'll take the safety, utility and comfort of an SUV any day over the anti-technology sanctimony of extreme environmentalists who, like Al Gore, think the internal combustion engine is the bane of our existence.

"'Politically Correct' Research" (11/29/98) A pithy letter-to-the-editor of Environmental Health Perspectives about the 1997 publication of the study by Swan et al. claiming sperm density in the U.S. was declining.

Hair dye given clean rinse (11/29/98) Researchers report in the American Journal of Public Health (December 1998) that hair color products are not associated with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A 1992 study had reported that women who had ever used a hair color product had a 50 percent higher risk of NHL. The new study has twice as many females NHL cases as the 1992 study. More details to come.

New fen-phen study: Small but revealing? (11/29/98) This new study casts more doubt on the FDA's dubious decision last year to force the diet drug combination "fen-phen" off the market.

"Stepping back from the carcinogen scare" (11/28/98) A great column by Joe Perkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

"Law won't specify action on 'gender benders'" (11/28/98) The new Canadian Environmental protetcion Act will define, but not require action on so-called endocrine disrupters.

"An extraordinary dirt may halt global warming" (11/28/98) A great way to breastfeed off taxpayers. After all, who else could be conned into researching whether dirt can change the weather?

"Weather-disaster cost in '98 hits $89 billion" (11/28/98) A report from the alarmist Worldwatch Institute and an insurance company attempts to blame the costs of weather-related losses on global warming. Insurance companies are jumping on the global warming bandwagon in hopes that taxpayers will pay off their liabilities. This is a good example of the meshing of political and financial agendas.

"Dioxins near lake termed a crisis" (11/28/98) "Activists are calling the discovery of dioxins around a magnesium plant west of the Great Salt Lake an environmental crisis potentially more serious than the one that forced the abandonment of Love Canal, N.Y., and Times Beach, Mo." But a Utah toxicologist says the risk to general public is very low.

"There's trouble in toyland, consumer groups say" (11/27/98) The Deseret News alarms consumers about phthalates in toys. But in addition to absence of any evidence that phthalate-containing toys have harmed anyone, this study reports that adverse effects observed in rodents are not relevant to humans. Click here for more info on phthalates. Let's enlighten the Deseret News.

Divide and Conquer: The EPA's winning strategy (11/27/98) One reason the EPA wins nearly every fight with industry, is the agency's ability to divide industry and fight smaller, winnable battles. In the EPA's "finer" moments...

"Researchers Attribute Global Warming to Humans, Not Nature" (11/27/98) Click here for Fred Singer's commentary on this study. Then send your comments to the Los Angeles Times.

"Cooking beef and cooking news reports" (11/27/98) From today's Washington Times, here's my letter about the study claiming to link well-done meat with breast cancer. A version of this letter also appears in today's Chicago Tribune.

A turkey on Thanksgiving? (11/26/98) How appropriate it was this morning to open up the Washington Post and find a letter-to-the-editor from Curtis Moore.

"Food Group Warns of Germ-Contaminated Turkeys" (11/26/98) The New York Times tries to scare Americans on Thanksgiving Day with this headline based on a scare generated by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. On Veterans Day, the Times lead editorial asked us to remember global warming, not veterans. I can't wait to see what the Times prints on Christmas Day.

Happy Thanksgiving! (11/25/98) Enjoy an extra helping of everything. For grins, send an e-mail to the "food police" at the Center for Science in the Public Interest or Dr. C. Everett Kook at Shape-Up America!, describing every deliciously indulgent detail.

"Be thankful? That golden turkey may give you cancer!" (11/25/98) Ruth Kava of the American Council on Science and Health writes today in Jewish World: "Each year, as we prepare for the holidays and their attendant feasting, we find ourselves awash in warnings about our food supply. From all sides we hear the voices of the pantry patrol --- panicky pundits who urge the parents of infants and small children to feed their kiddies exclusively on organically grown foods to prevent their ingesting deadly, cancer-causing pesticide residues. What most of us donít realize, however, is that pretty much all our food --- organically grown or not --- contains traces of naturally occurring animal carcinogens."

"The Week That Was November 16-22, 1998" (11/25/98) Dr. S. Fred Singer looks at two global warming studies: one very recent and one that is sure to be big news in Friday's papers.

"Playpens recalled, blamed for 8 deaths" (11/25/98) Millions of playpens are being recalled for 8 deaths spanning 16 years? Sounds like playpens are really pretty safe. The article says that six of the deaths were blamed on pacifiers with strings that the parents placed around the infants' necks. How about recalling the parents instead?

"States Probe Safety of Vinyl Toys: Firms Asked for Data on Levels of Lead, Cadmium, Additive" (11/25/98) The Greenpeace-inspired toy scare marches on.

"Does the Kyoto global warming treaty pose too high a cost for the U.S.? It sacrifices prosperity on false altar" (11/25/98) "In support of its agreeing to the treaty, the administration cited an analysis produced by five research laboratories at the Department of Energy that claimed economic benefits of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2010 would roughly equal the costs of the required energy cuts. Many analysts argued the "five-lab" study was critically flawed."

"Toxic home costs Orkin millions" (11/25/98) A Florida couple wins a $2 million jury verdict (mostly punitive damages) from Orkin because the company sprayed their house with the pesticide chlordane five years after it was banned. The verdict does not appear to be based on any sort of alleged health effects -- just the looming shadow of pesticide hysteria.

"'Mad Cow' Fear Prompts U.K. To Destroy Parts of Donated Blood" (11/25/98) "The latest concern isn't about British beef, but British blood. Some scientists now fear that the disease could be passed through transfusions of blood from people who once ate infected beef, and as a result harbor the infectious agent. The risk remains hypothetical. Scientists aren't sure whether the disease can be spread through blood at all."

"Robin Hood in Reverse" (11/25/98) "A gullible public -- aided by a pliant press -- embraced the anti-smoking hysteria. Because the campaign succeeded, it will inspire assaults against other industries. We can't tell the target (whether alcohol or autos or fatty foods) or the tactics. But it's just a matter of time."

Harvard epidemiologist exposes EPA exploitation of childhood cancer (11/24/98) You and I would be embarrassed. But Carol Browner's EPA has no such shame.

Austrian researchers to scare European Commission about pesticide lindane (11/25/98) The Daily Telegraph reports "Fears of a link between breast cancer and the pesticide lindane are expected to grow this week when scientists deliver a report on its safety. Austrian researchers, who have reviewed the evidence on the chemical for the European Commission, are expected to call for its use to be banned or severely restricted."

"Canadians deserve more than toxic legacy" (11/24/98) The enviro-authors of this Ottawa Citizen op-ed oppose bill C-32, pending legislation to amend Canadian environmental law. I must admit I don't know precisely what the legislation would do -- except drive the enviros nuts. That alone is reason to be for it!

The return of the ice wagon: U.N. to coordinate global warming and ozone depletion programs (11/24/98) Speaking at the 10th annual conference of the parties to the Montreal Protocol, Klaus Topfer, director of the United Nations Environment Program, said that global warming and ozone depletion can no longer be treated as separate issues. What does this mean? The Montreal Protocol required the phasing out of chlorofluorocarbons, refrigerant chemicals alleged to be "ozone depleting compounds." CFCs have been replaced, at least temporarily, by hydrochlorofluorocarbons. But since HCFCs are also considered to be ozone depleters, hydrofluorocarbons were developed. But HFCs supposedly are greenhouse gases. And while there is a plan to phase out HCFCs, no plan exists to phase out HFCs -- until now, thanks to Greenpeace activism. Watch for the U.N. to mandate phasing out of HFCs, to be followed shortly by the return to your neighborhood of the good ol' ice wagon.

"Liquid candy nation" (11/24/98) That's how the New York Times bills today's Jane Brody-personal health column which slams sugar consumption. Like anything else, sugar is probably best consumed in moderation. But sugar hardly is the poison that the food police at the Center for Science in the Public Interest claim it is.

"No about-face: GM still opposes Kyoto treaty" (11/24/98) Last GM appeared to join the global warming bandwagon. The company says otherwise. Which way is the wind blowing?

"Nuclear energy key weapon in battling global warming" (11/24/98) That's what Barry Ganapol writes in this Arizona Republic column. Tell the Arizona Republic editors that nuclear energy is a great idea. But embracing junk science-fueled, global warming hysteria does not make it a better one.

"Food fight" (11/24/98) "Death makes headlines. And the more deaths you can attribute to something, the more headlines it makes."

"Quality of life index will test national happiness" (11/24/98) With any luck, this nonsense will stay on the other side of the Atlantic.

"Teachers Fight for Darwin's Place in U.S. Classrooms" (11/24/98) "Cissy Bennett, a high school biology teacher in Birmingham, Ala., has to use a textbook with a disclaimer in it. 'Evolution,' says the message from the Alabama State Board of Education, 'is a controversial theory some scientists present as scientific explanation for the origin of living things, such as plants, animals and humans. No one was present when life first appeared on earth. Therefore, any statement about life's origins should be considered as theory, not fact.'"

"Highways Are Safe at Any Speed" (11/24/98) "Remember when Congress abolished the federally mandated 55-mile-an-hour speed limit back in 1995 and various "safety experts" clucked that this would entail a dramatic rise in accident and fatality rates? Well, the facts are in."

"Greenhouse warming cools off: Temps Rise More Slowly, And Science Less Certain" (11/24/98) "The ink had barely dried on the Clinton administration's signature on the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse-gas emissions this month when Vice President Al Gore declared, "In the 11 months since Kyoto (was completed), the evidence of global warming has grown only stronger." Some scientists who study the climate aren't so sure... Even James Hansen - director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration who put the phrase 'global warming' on the map - has backed off."

"Warnings as ban on British beef is lifted" (11/24/98) "The worldwide ban on exports of British beef was lifted yesterday, ending a 32-month long saga which has cost the meat industry and the taxpayer £4.6bn."

"EPA takes on mercury" (11/23/98) Is the EPA preparing a proposal to ban the word "chemical" from the dictionary?

"Merry Christmas from junk science" (11/23/98) "Across Canada this week, toy retailers have been removing millions of dollars' worth of baby rattlers, teethers and soothers from store shelves. The voluntary mass product removal, which Health Canada refuses to acknowledge is a formal product ban, coincides with the latest Greenpeace toxic scare campaign. It also has all the earmarks of being another junk science adventure, one of many that is ravaging Health Canada and, over time, playing havoc with industry, the health care system and consumer welfare."

Participate in the National Assessment on Health and Climate Change Underway (11/23/98) Nineteen federal agencies are paying the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health to investigate the potential consequences of global warming on agriculture, coastal and marine resources, water, forestry, and human health. Tell Susan Bernard, project director of the health sector assessment, that you would like to participate in this waste of tax dollars.

"Pass the turkey, if you can get past food" (11/23/98) Stuff your turkey with junk science.

"Road rage threat exaggerated" (11/23/98) "Aggressive driving doesn't endanger the average driver any more today than it did 10 years ago, says a new study."

"Dingell calls our new global warming pact 'Ponzi scheme'" (11/23/98) "After 12 days of talks on global warming, negotiators for the United States proved at least one fact on a hotly debated topic: America not only knows how to produce gas, but how to take it. We sucked up enough fumes in the Buenos Aires bargaining that ended last week to make us woozy for years."

"New York Times slams Marie Curie" (11/23/98) This New York Times editorial says "A century has passed since [Marie Curie] first discovered that radioactivity was a property of atoms, and we are still adding up the balance sheet, still trying to weigh the lives saved or improved by the scientific exploration of radioactivity against the lives lost or inalterably worsened." The anti-nuclear editors at the Times think the atomic bombings of Japan should make us rethink the benefits of harnessing radiation. Aside from all the medical and nonmedical benefits of harnessing radiation, by making unnecessary full scale invasion of the Japanese mainland by U.S. troops, the atomic bombings saved many more lives than were lost. It's also quite possible that nuclear weapons and the doctrine of mutually assured destruction prevented the relatively peaceful Cold War from turning into World War III. Tell the Times' editors to stop radiating nonsense.

"Army's New Tack on Unseen Enemy" (11/23/98) The first of a two-part Washington Post series on Gulf Lore Syndrome.

"The $115 Million Question" (11/23/98) "Since the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, a small scientific industry has arisen around the subject of chronic illness among veterans."

"Ban on T-bone steaks to be lifted" (11/23/98) The U.K.'s ban on "beef on the bone" has turned out to be another red herring.

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease" (11/22/98) Mike Fumento writes in the American Spectator: "The federal government spends tax dollars disproportionately on a chosen few illnesses--notably AIDS and breast cancer--while underspending on bigger killers. It does so not on any medical criterion, but in response to the loudest cries of J'Accuse. Now activists are pitted against each other in an ongoing ordeal called "Disease Wars." Also check out Fumento's article in the current (December) issue of Reason. It's about the Environmental Working Group and human testing of pesticides.

"Toxic vinyl claims spark toy war as Christmas season nears" (11/21/98) "Toy makers are battling a drive to ban all vinyl toys for children under age 6, as the critical Christmas shopping season gets under way." How? By caving in to Greenpeace demands?

"Worrywarts have own calendar now" (11/21/98) Andrea Rouda writes in the Deseret News: "Genetically similar to my Aunt Pearl, I have, not surprisingly, devised a Calendar for Nervous Wrecks. Each month has its potential for disaster highlighted in bold type, bringing it to one's attention in plenty of time to plan accordingly..."

Spray Paint Pollutant Limits Eased (11/21/98) Southern California rightly chooses consumer choice over a trivial 0.5 percent reduction in VOC emissions.

Greenpeace Yells Fire in a Crowded Daycare Center (11/21/98) A Junk Science Home Page exclusive -- Mike Fumento on the Greenpeace plastic toy scare.

"CS spray too toxic to use" (11/21/98) Would criminals rather be lead-poisoned?

"[U.K.] beef ban to stay until next year" (11/21/98) What fun it must be to be part of the EU!

"Tinned tomatoes in health alert" (11/21/98) Was a recall really necessary?

"Phthalate Scare is Fear-Based, Not Fact-Based, Says Consumer Alert" (11/21/98) Here's the Consumer Alert media release about Greenpeace's junk science-fueled scare about rubber duckies.

"The number of scientists refuting global warming is growing" (11/21/98) "It's encouraging to see those in the media beginning to take note of the many attempts by U.S. scientists to voice their opposition to the U.N. Global Climate Treaty..."

"Eco-terrorists defy society" (11/21/98) "But like activists and crusaders of other stripes - labor unions come immediately to mind - [environmentalists] don't know when to moderate their passions and demands."

"NASA's Hansen Recants on Warming" (11/20/98) "Renowned climate modeler James Hansen, whose summer 1988 congressional testimony helped kick off the climate change debate, now says climate models don't work."

"Citing Possible Dangers, Groups Seek Ban on Vinyl Toys" (11/20/98) Rubber duckie phobia moves to the Consumer Product Safety Commission -- and CPSC Commissioner Ann Brown loves to press the "panic" button.

"Bit by bit, Americans are giving up their freedom: Nation's lifestyle police target the food you eat" (11/20/98) Another great column by the Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby.

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease" (11/22/98) Mike Fumento writes in the American Spectator: "The federal government spends tax dollars disproportionately on a chosen few illnesses--notably AIDS and breast cancer--while underspending on bigger killers. It does so not on any medical criterion, but in response to the loudest cries of J'Accuse. Now activists are pitted against each other in an ongoing ordeal called "Disease Wars." Also check out Fumento's article in the current (December) issue of Reason. It's about the Environmental Working Group and human testing of pesticides.

"Toxic vinyl claims spark toy war as Christmas season nears" (11/21/98) "Toy makers are battling a drive to ban all vinyl toys for children under age 6, as the critical Christmas shopping season gets under way." How? By caving in to Greenpeace demands?

"Worrywarts have own calendar now" (11/21/98) Andrea Rouda writes in the Deseret News: "Genetically similar to my Aunt Pearl, I have, not surprisingly, devised a Calendar for Nervous Wrecks. Each month has its potential for disaster highlighted in bold type, bringing it to one's attention in plenty of time to plan accordingly..."

Spray Paint Pollutant Limits Eased (11/21/98) Southern California rightly chooses consumer choice over a trivial 0.5 percent reduction in VOC emissions.

Greenpeace Yells Fire in a Crowded Daycare Center (11/21/98) A Junk Science Home Page exclusive -- Mike Fumento on the Greenpeace plastic toy scare.

"CS spray too toxic to use" (11/21/98) Would criminals rather be lead-poisoned?

"[U.K.] beef ban to stay until next year" (11/21/98) What fun it must be to be part of the EU!

"Tinned tomatoes in health alert" (11/21/98) Was a recall really necessary?

"Phthalate Scare is Fear-Based, Not Fact-Based, Says Consumer Alert" (11/21/98) Here's the Consumer Alert media release about Greenpeace's junk science-fueled scare about rubber duckies.

"The number of scientists refuting global warming is growing" (11/21/98) "It's encouraging to see those in the media beginning to take note of the many attempts by U.S. scientists to voice their opposition to the U.N. Global Climate Treaty..."

"Eco-terrorists defy society" (11/21/98) "But like activists and crusaders of other stripes - labor unions come immediately to mind - [environmentalists] don't know when to moderate their passions and demands."

"NASA's Hansen Recants on Warming" (11/20/98) "Renowned climate modeler James Hansen, whose summer 1988 congressional testimony helped kick off the climate change debate, now says climate models don't work."

"Citing Possible Dangers, Groups Seek Ban on Vinyl Toys" (11/20/98) Rubber duckie phobia moves to the Consumer Product Safety Commission -- and CPSC Commissioner Ann Brown loves to press the "panic" button.

"Bit by bit, Americans are giving up their freedom: Nation's lifestyle police target the food you eat" (11/20/98) Another great column by the Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby.

Smoking to kill one-third of Chinese men? (11/19/98) That's the claim of this study in this week's British Medical Journal (11/21). This estimate appears to be based on the simple observation that smokers had 19 percent higher mortality than nonsmokers. But no adjustment was made for other mortality risk factors -- and mortality is a complex event. As Marcia Angell, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, recently stated: "Although some claim that every year 300,000 deaths in the United States are caused by obesity, that figure is by no means well established. Not only is it derived from weak or incomplete data, but it is also called into question by the methodologic difficulties of determining which of many factors contribute to premature death." In the case of smoking, smokers typically exhibit many risk factors that may lead to higher mortality, including less physical activity, poorer diet, higher alcohol consumption, more depression. This study apparently accounted for none of these.

"Reducing radon levels" (11/19/98) This letter in the British Medical Journal says "We now have direct evidence that residential exposure to radon in the United Kingdom causes lung cancer. [citation omitted] This removes one large hurdle on the route to effective preventive action." The so-called "direct evidence" is a June 1998 study in the British Journal of Cancer that, at best, identified a weak statistical association between home radon levels and lung cancer -- there was no measurement of the necessary element of "exposure." Ask the BMJ editors whether this constitutes "direct evidence."

"'Let them drink milk,' says UN" (11/19/98) An article guaranteed to drive the leader of the Anti-Dairy Coalition, Bob "the Not Milkman" Cohen, absolutely nuts. On a personal note, I had the pleasure of meeting the "Not Milkman" this week at the annual convention of the American Public Health Association. Bob gets an "A" for enthusiasm -- but I'm still waiting on the science.

USA Today debunks itself? (11/19/98) Click here for today's USA Today report of a new survey claiming the rape rate has doubled. Click here for today's USA Today report that "rape statistics are not crystal clear." Thanks to Curtis Cameron for the find.

Quote of the day (11/19/98) Writing about the Dallas Environmental Health Commission's "kid-glove" treatment of an anti-smoking group's use of the EPA secondhand smoke risk assessment, Mark Stuertz writes: "But such findings, while pointed out to the commission, drew no scrutiny for Fresh Air, which shows you how aerodynamically sound junk science is in the world of lawmaking." [Emphasis added]

Mothers for Natural Law: "Is Biotech's Bounty Risking Your Family's Health?" (11/19/98) The transcendental turkeys at Mothers for Natural Law try their hand at a Thanksgiving Day-themed biotech scare.

"EU to turn up heat over climate change: Vow to pressure US over climate control" (11/19/98) For the EU, global warming is a way to undercut U.S. competitiveness; it has nothing to do with the EU's concern for the environent.

"Science Panel Seeks to Calm Concerns About Well-Cooked Meats" (11/19/98) "Consumers should use caution when interpreting a new study on the possible hazards of eating well-cooked meats, say scientists from the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH)."

Rising sea levels from global warming? (11/19/98) Shame on the Los Angeles Times for pinning rising sea levels on the dreaded global warming. As this recent letter-to-the-editor of the Washington Post points out, sea levels have been rising in warm and cool periods. It's the geology, stupid?

"Alert on 'gender-bender' chemicals" (11/19/98) The Ottowa Citizen does its best to scare, not inform. Submit your comments to the editor.

"Will suing gunmakers endanger lives?" (11/19/98) John Lott opines in the Chicago Tribune: "Once legitimate products get assailed because they have a well-known downside, it's hard to see where the process stops. We must not lose sight of the ultimate question: Does allowing citizens to own guns on net save lives? The evidence strongly indicates that it does."

Chain smoking rats? (11/19/98) A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (11/18) reports that injecting rats with the chemical N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a compound found in cigarette smoke, provides a possible molecular pathway linking smoking to kidney cancer. You be the judge. First, the rats were protein-deprived for 3-5 days prior to injection with NDMA. The reason? To reduce the rats' liver capacity to metabolize NDMA, resulting in increased delivery of NDMA to the kidneys. Then the rats were injected with 30 milligrams (thousandths of a gram) of NDMA per kilogram of bodyweight. But the amount of NDMA from a cigarette is only 10 - 40 nanograms (billionths of a gram). So a half-pound, protein-starved rat would have to smoke about 250,000 cigarettes in one day to get the same dose of NDMA as in this experiment.

"The power of one study" (11/19/98) Nutrition News Focus does selenium.

U.S. and global warming (11/19/98) A letter to the editor of the San Jose Mercury about this editorial.

Well-Done Meat and Breast Cancer: An undercooked study (11/18/98) These researchers ought to be grilled.

"An ill-considered treaty" (11/18/98) "This [global warming] treaty, instead of being signed by the United States, ought to be buried somewhere."

Singer/Seitz reply to scurrilous op-ed (11/18/98) Here's a letter from Fred Singer and Fred Seitz in response to a recent oped in the International Herald Tribune.

Health Canada chooses Greenpeace over science (11/18/98) The Canadian health agency signs onto plastic toy hysteria.

"Cut emissions; Drive a truck" (11/18/98) "What could be more counterproductive to the health and safety of Americans than keeping them out of cleaner, safer trucks? Ms. Browner need never know, but consumers may find out the hard way."

"Bigger SUVs ahead?" (11/18/98) Eric Peters writes in the Washington Times: "I love 60s-era "muscle cars" because of their audacious styling and huge engines -- features that, ironically, make today's sport-utility vehicles so compelling to many buyers. But while spiraling insurance rates and OPEC killed off the big V-8 maulers, government regulations are encouraging automakers to build ever larger, more profligate SUVs."

True cost of gasoline between $5.14 and $15.14 per gallon? (11/18/98) That's what the International Center for Technology Assessment claims in its new report "The Real Price of Gasoline: Report No. 3, An analysis of the hidden costs consumers pay to fuel their automobiles." The report claims the cost of tailpipe emissions may exceed $600 billion annually. You can call 202-547-9359 for a copy of the report. Let me know what you think. A publishable analysis is worth a FREE Junk Science Home Page coffee mug!

"CBS Agrees to Pay $9.5 Million to Settle Claim Over PCBs" (11/18/98) This Los Angeles Times article erroneously states PCBs are cancer-causing and DDT caused bird egg shell-thinning. As to PCBs, even the EPA acknowledges PCBs have not been demonstrated to cause cancer in humans. As to DDT, San Jose State University entomologist J. Gordon Edwards says "It has been demonstrated repeatedly in caged experiments that DDT, DDD and DDE do not cause serious shell-thinning even at levels many hundreds of times greater than wild birds would ever accumulate... Field observations have not incriminated DDT or its residues either." [References available on request.] Tell the Los Angeles Times that before its next story on DDT, Times' writers should spend some time with Edwards.

"F.T.C. Guidelines Restrict Ad Claims for Supplements" (11/18/98) About Federal Trade Commission rules this article says "But advertisers cannot, by picking and choosing among studies, present only those that back their claims. The guidelines say the advertisements must reflect 'the totality of the evidence.'" So how do we get the FTC rules to apply to the EPA, FDA, OSHA, environmentalists, etc.?

"Lukewarm treaty" (11/18/98) "It's a treaty so flawed that only one nation -- Fiji -- has ratified it nearly a year after it was drafted."

"S.U.V.s and sulfur" (11/18/98) In this letter-to-the-editor of the New York Times, NYU junk scientist George Thurston says "the added refining costs of removing sulfur from fuels were much less than the monetary valuation of the health benefits associated with the resulting cleaner air." Aside from the junk science linking ambient air pollution with mortality, what George left out was that these health benefits are largely based on valuing the lives of the elderly at $5 million each -- an extremely high valuation that would never fly in any U.S. courtroom.

"Well-done meat may boost breast cancer risk" (11/18/98) So claims new research in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (11/18). But the accompanying editorial says "[The] inability to connect a direct measurement of exposure to risk weakens any assertions regarding causality that may be drawn from these data. Pending more conclusive research, public awareness should be aimed at the known risks associated with undercooking meats, which include serious illness and even death in susceptible persons."

"Public rejects genetically modified food" (11/18/98) So says private research done for Monsanto Company by Stan Greenberg, opinion pollster to Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.

"Greenpeace is wrong:" Press release indicates chemical industry not totally spineless (11/17/98) A much needed improvement after last week's embarrassing Chemical and Engineering News editorial by the head of the Chemical Manufacturers Association.

Smoked milk? (11/17/98) A letter in the New England Journal of Medicine (11/19) reports children may be more likely to take up smoking if they acquired a taste for tobacco smoke from breastfeeding.

"Global Warming Bootleggers" (11/17/98) "Bootlegging doesn't have much to do with global warming. But the politics of bootlegging may have quite a bit to do with the politics of global warming. And Southern laws banning liquor sales have something in common with the Kyoto treaty on climate change."

"Silicone implant settlement moves forward" (11/17/98) In case you missed the ews last week, here's the Chemical and Engineering News summary.

"Europe may phase out hormone disrupting chemicals" (11/17/98) Scroll down these stories to read about the European Parliament voting to ban chemicals not yet identified.

"The Week That Was November 9-15, 1998" (11/17/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy project.

"Study Urges Phasing Out Gas Additive Environment: MTBE has dubious value in reducing air pollution and has tainted ground water, researchers say" (11/17/98) The days of MTBE appear to be numbered.

"Global Warming: Watch the Glaciers" (11/17/98) The Washington Post's Joby Warrick is caught with his facts down.

"Animal testing banned -- for the victims the change is only cosmetic" (11/17/98) U.K. companies holding licenses to test cosmetics on animals have given them up. No new licenses will be issued.

"Campaigners step up calls for ban on animal tests" (11/17/98) But animal research has been used to develop vaccines against diseases such as smallpox, polio, mumps and measles.

"Toys R Us to remove toys containing chemical that causes liver damage in animals" (11/16/98) Following Mattel's lead, Toys "R" Us appeases enviro attack groups.

"Israel planning 'ethnic' bomb as Saddam caves in" (11/16/98) I still can't believe this isn't a joke, but the London Times reports (11/15) that "Israel is working on a biological weapon that would harm Arabs but not Jews, according to Israeli military and western intelligence sources... In developing their 'ethno-bomb', Israeli scientists are trying to exploit medical advances by identifying distinctive genes carried by some Arabs, then create a genetically modified bacterium or virus."

"Panel of Scientists Rejects Dr. Bob Arnot's Best Selling Breast Cancer Prevention Book as 'Misleading, Unscientific and Speculative'" (11/16/98) Here's the press release and the report from the American Council on Science and Health.

"Other nations will not sacrifice if the world's richest doesn't" (11/16/98) Today's San Jose Mercury, the paper that broke the "story" about the CIA peddling drugs in the ghetto, peddles global warming foolishness. Make it a little warmer for the Mercury's editors.

"Penn Scientists Find No Link Between Dental Procedures and Heart Valve Infection" (11/16/98) "For the past 40 years, anecdotal information has suggested a link between dental procedures and the onset of endocarditis, a potentially deadly inflammation of the heart's lining and/or valves caused by bacterial infection..."

"Warming treaty threatens Michigan" (11/16/98) From today's Detroit News.

"Toys in Trouble?" (11/16/98) ABC's 20/20 television show runs a Greenpeace-inspired scare piece about chemicals in toys. I guess 20/20 learned nothing from its own reporter John Stossel and his reports titled "Are we scaring ourselves to death" and "Junk science." Update: A source reports the mother interviewed was selected for the show because she is a friend of the 20/20 producer, not because she is actually afraid of chemicals. Further, the father (not featured) was a chemistry major, so he's unlikely to be "afraid" of chemicals.

Brill's Content on Secondhand Smoke (11/15/98) The December-January Brill's Content features an outstanding article on secondhand smoke titled "Warning: Secondhand Smoke May Not Kill You."

"Plutonium From Bombs May Be Used in Reactors" (11/15/98) And the anti-nuke nuts are up in arms. This article says "Plutonium is uniquely dangerous because a speck of it can cause cancer if it is inhaled and a few pounds can create a nuclear explosion capable of destroying a city." Click here for some perspective on plutonium.

"Paternity Hype Visits Monticello" (11/15/98) A sharp op-ed from David Murray of the Statistical Assessment Service.

"160 Nations Endorse Pact on Global Warming Compliance" (11/15/98) The Fred Singer-quote at the end of this Washington Post article sums up pretty well the global warming situation.

Global Warming Sweepstakes Winner! (11/15/98) Congratulations to Troy Locke of Westbrook, Maine, the winner of $1,000.00 in the Global Warming Sweepstakes. By some twist of fate, last year's winner also was from Maine -- a place that could use some global warming.

Global warming treaty working already (11/14/98) Al Gore was right. Signing the Kyoto Protocol has already been a success. The National Climactic Data Center reported yesterday that, with an average worldwide temperature of 58.14 degrees Fahrenheit, last month fell short of the all-time heat record for October of 58.15 degrees Fahrenheit set in 1997. Thanks, Al.

"Plastic in Toys Linked to Cancer Agent" (11/14/98) What a surprise -- plastic toys contain chemicals! The question is: "Has any one been harmed?" The answer is: "Not that anyone has noticed over the last 40 years!" Greenpeace and the National Environmental Trust have been doing everything they can to fuel chemophobia and hormone hysteria -- with utter disregard for science. Ask the Los Angeles Times to explain the difference between the studies by Greenpeace and the National Environmental Trust, and the medieval "trial by ordeal."

Kyoto Mania (11/14/98) "It's been said that a socialist thrown out of the window will come back in through the door as an environmentalist. Kyoto treaty supporters confirm that notion."

60 Minutes responds to the Junkman (11/13/98) And they still don't get it. Click here for my original article. Click here for my letter to 60 Minutes. Click here for 60 Minutes' response. Click here for my response to 60 Minutes. Click here for the abstract to the CDC study.

The Week That Was November 2 - 8, 1998 (11/13/98) Better late than never; the weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.

Nutrition News Focus: Pesticides on Fruits and Vegetables (11/13/98) The daily report from Nutrition News Focus.

"World coral reefs killed off by global warming" (11/13/98) To the extent warmer sea temperatures are involved, this article neglects to mention El Nino.

"Because of vinyl" (11/13/98) "The Oct. 15 letter by Rick Hind of Greenpeace mischaracterized the vinyl industry."

"Crackdown on S.F. Bay Polluters Ordered" (11/13/98) "U.S. says water is contaminated by toxic chemicals, including dioxins. State regulators disagree on findings."

"Chemical Element of Vinyl Toys Causes Liver Damage in Lab Rats" (11/13/98) "[But over the last 15 years], scientists have learned that the process that causes the liver damage occurs in mice and rats, but not humans."

"U.S. Signs Global-Warming Treaty" (11/12/98) "The signing, however, is expected to add fuel to the congressional debate over global warming."

U.S. to sign global warming treaty today (11/12/98) The Clinton Administration announced the U.S. will sign the Kyoto Protocol today at 3:00 pm. in New York. The signing means little (other than the Clinton Administration has little use for science) because the treaty still needs to be ratified by the Senate -- an unlikely occurrence right now.

Risk Posed By Fen-Phen Still Unclear (11/12/98) "The largest and most extensive study into the effects of the drugs found no serious damage to the heart valve in nearly 1,000 patients who took the drugs."

"Vulnerability to compulsive gambling is partly inherited" (11/12/98) What?! Perhaps there is some genetic component to agressive or risk-taking behavior. But how can genetics steer one toward gambling as opposed to, say, rock climbing?

Highlights from the Endocrine/Estrogen Letter (11/12/98) Endocrine disrupters have a new advocate in Congress. The NRC presses to complete its report. A new study reports natural estrogens have greater potential for endocrine disruption than synthetic chemicals.

Novel Cancer Approach Stumbles As Others Fail to Repeat Successes (11/12/98) "A number of experts say they haven't been able to verify Dr. Folkman's findings: that an agent called endostatin can cause large tumors in mice to shrink and lie dormant, and that this plus a second agent called angiostatin can make such tumors vanish."

A Newspaper Invents A Nuclear Health Scare (11/12/98) Mike Fumento writes about the Nashville Tennessean's series first spotlighted on this page several months ago.

Despite lack of science, EC seeks to ban animal feed antibiotics (11/12/98) The Financial Times reports today "The European Commission will today seek to ban the use of several antibiotics used in animal feed because of concerns that overuse could build up bacterial resistance in humans. A ban on four of the eight antibiotics used in animal feed could halt drugs sales worth about Ecu700m ($819m) a year. The move is likely to provoke strong opposition from farmers as well as from main drugs suppliers to the animal market, such as Rhône-Poulenc and Pfizer. Franz Fischler, European Union farm commissioner, has also asked scientists to review the use of the remaining four antibiotics, raising the possibility that they too will be banned. The recommendation is controversial because scientists have yet to prove that use of the four antibiotics in feedstuffs is increasing human resistance to medicines."

Cellular telephone case rejected (11/12/98) "A [U.K.] scientist has lost a test case which he hoped would force manufacturers and retailers to put health warnings on mobile phones."

"Gridlock on global warming" (11/11/98) As if that were a bad thing. But this Los Angeles Times editorial does say that Hurricane Mitch " one of the many environmental upheavals that scientists relate to global warming..." Ask the Times editors if they can name one scientist who can link Hurricane Mitch to the dreaded global warming. Click here for a letter from George Taylor, president of the American Association of State Climatologists.

"Nuts and Oats - Better Than Twigs and Rocks" (11/11/98) "A classic example of the news media reading more into research results than is actually there comes from this week's American Heart Association meeting in Dallas, Texas."

"Congress Closes The Case Of The Missing Data" (11/11/98) "Why did Congress need to write a law that lets citizens see the data from research they funded in the first place? Critics of the Environmental Protection Agency wondered the same thing."

Marin County moves toward the Middle Ages (11/11/98) The San Francisco Chronicle reports that "The chemical arsenal used by Marin County workers against rats, roaches and other pests will be drastically reduced under a sweeping new law tentatively approved yesterday by county supervisors." In the 14th century, before the advent of synthetic pesticides, cancer wasn't a big worry. Thanks to bubonic plague and other pest-borne illnesses. Europeans didn't live long enough to get cancer.

Argentina offers to cut greenhouse gas emissions (11/11/98) The Associated Press reports that Argentinian President Carlos Menem offered to be the first developing nation to cut back voluntarily on greenhouse gas emissions. If Menem is serious -- and there's good reason to think he's just politicking -- this action would stunt Argentinian development. Is it time for another good old-fashioned Latin American coup?

EPA aims at new case in Genesee (11/11/98) "Michigan is not finished with the Environmental Protection Agency's 'environmental justice' policy just yet."

"Emission talks anger Dingell" (11/11/98) "Michigan Democrat berates White House for failing to consult on warming treaty."

New EPA Skulldugery on Environmental Justice (11/11/98) EPA deep-sixes contrary opinion on environmental justice. Let me know if something similar has ever happened to you. All responses kept confidential.

Carbon Dioxide: Earth's Organic Fertilizer (11/11/98) This CEI press release from Buenos Aires reports: "U.S. lead global warming negotiator Stu Eizenstat misled the press at a November 10 press briefing. He announced that the "science is settled," parroting Vice President Al Gore's favorite non-truth, and went as far as to refuse to answer a reporter's question about the science."

"Remember global warming?" (11/11/98) On a day when we should remember those who have fought for our freedoms, the lead New York Times editorial asks us to remember global warming. But I was comforted that the Times is so insecure about the science underpinning global warming, it felt compelled to write "Despite well-financed efforts by some industry groups to minimize the warming threat, the scientific consensus -- that the unchecked burning of fossil fuels could someday cause great damage to the environment -- remains intact." Sure it does. Tell the New York Times that Veterans Day is for remembering veterans, not junk science.

Gun Control Advocates Purvey Deadly Myths (11/11/98) John R. Lott, Jr. writes in the Wall Street Journal: "We must not lose sight of the ultimate question: Does allowing citizens to own guns on net save lives? The evidence strongly indicates that it does."

Can American Progress Outrun Junk Science? (11/10/98) An essay from Dan Popeo, chairman of the Washington Legal Foundation.

Study links heart attacks to weather (11/10/98) When will Al Gore link heart attacks to global warming?

Study links heart attacks to weather (11/10/98) When will Al Gore link heart attacks to global warming?

FDA Modernization After One Year: Drug Approval is Still Too Slow (11/10/98) "The Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997, signed into law one year ago this Wednesday, is under attack. Spurred by the withdrawal of two new medicines this summer, critics say the reforms force FDA to make dangerously rushed judgements when evaluating applications for new drug approvals. But the evidence, including a poll of neurologists just released by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, shows just the opposite. Contrary to the opinions of skeptics, the Modernization Act did not go nearly far enough."

Are religious groups more interested in global warming than the coal industry? (11/10/98) David Wojick reports that the National Council of Churches has more representatives at the Buenos Aires global warming conference than the U.S. coal industry -- curious since a goal of the conference is to eliminate the coal industry. But Wojick says not to worry. Coal will still be in the ground long after we've sucked out all the oil and gas.

Rumors swirl that U.S. may sign global warming treaty tomorrow (11/10/98) Sources say Under Secretary of State Stuart Eizenstat is expected to sign the Kyoto Protocol tomorrow in Buenos Aires. There is a possibility that Vice President Al Gore could go to Buenos Aires tomorrow. But Sen Robert Byrd (D-WV) has warned President Clinton against signing the treaty now.

Aircraft pollution worsening global warming threat (11/10/98) "A worldwide effort to fight the threat of global warming is being undermined by increasing pollution from aircraft, experts said yesterday."

Pesticides and children: NRC puts cart ahead of horse (11/10/98) A new National Research Council report titled "Protecting Youth at Work: Health Safety and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States" says "there is relatively little information on the effects on children... of exposure to pesticides and whether they should stay out of sprayed fields longer than adults." The report says the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health should study whether pesticide standards take into account risks to children. But hold on. What are these supposed risks to children? Have any health effects -- short of accidental poisoning -- been identified? How can NIOSH evaluate the standards without first identifying whether there's a problem? I find it hard to believe this problem would have gone unnoticed for more than 50 years of pesticide use. [Source: Daily Environment Report, 11/10]

Another Kind Of Medicine (11/10/98) Daniel Greenberg writes in the Washington Post: "The need to study alternative medicine is beyond dispute. But NIH, a stronghold of medical orthodoxy, has amply demonstrated over six years that it's not the place to do it. The new center would be better off as an independent agency, safely insulated from the tender care of the elite skeptics at the National Institutes of Health."

American Association for the Advancement of Secret Science? (11/10/98) Should this be the new name of publisher of Science magazine?

Ben Dover: Patron saint of the chemical industry? (11/10/98) This Chemical and Engineering News editorial by the CEO of the Chemical Manufacturers Association describes what EPA is doing to the U.S. chemical industry. It reminded me of what the mountain man did to Ned Beatty's character in the movie Deliverance.

Chemical and Engineering News beats Science for balance in reporting on data access legislation (11/10/98) Click here for the C&EN article. Click here for the Science article.

New rule forces release of taxpayer-funded studies (11/10/98) "When your tax dollars pay for a scientific study, should you be allowed to see the results? Of course you should. And now you can, because of a little-publicized provision in the 1999 budget law."

U.S. EPA'S plan to cut nitrogen-oxide emissions absurd (11/9/98) The director of the Ohio-EPA tees off on the U.S. EPA.

"Cancer Link To Hormones Questioned; UC Berkeley newsletter challenges alarming report" (11/9/98) "But now the conclusion has been challenged by Berkeley researchers with a mission to protect the public from the terrifying dragons of misinformation about health."

"Brookhaven National Lab: Science Under Siege; Seeking a Source For Cancer From Nowhere" (11/9/98) "Researchers don't know what, if anything, could be causing the elevated rates."

"Breast Implant Settlement Detailed" (11/9/98) "Women who claim their Dow Corning Corp. silicone breast implants caused diseases could get between $12,000 and $300,000 each, under a proposed $3.2 billion settlement filed today," though "Several studies have found little solid evidence that implants cause diseases throughout the body."

"Greening of the Board Rooms" (11/9/98) The enviros are trying to convince American corporations that the tide has turned and they may as well hop on the global warming bandwagon.

"Funding the lobby of global warming" (11/9/98) "Thanks to Congress' miscue, [the global warming pushers] now have considerable financial backing to bolster last year's Kyoto Protocol on climate change."

EPA decides against Internet posting chemical accident impact data (11/9/98) In a November 5 letter to members of Congress, the EPA has decided against posting on the Internet estimates of how accidental chemical releases could harm local citizens. The proposed posting was criticized as making it easier for terrorists to identify prime bombing targets. Undeterred from this pointless and dangerous effort, EPA still plans to disseminate the data to the public. The agency plans on convening a federal advisory committee to discuss options. [Source: Daily Environment Report, 11/9.]

Hawaiian food irradiation facility survives election (11/9/98) A proposed food irradiation facility on Hawaii survived last week's election by 473 votes out of 50,000 cast. When operational, the facility will treat tropical fruits for fruit flies. Anti-nuclear forces succeeded in placing on the ballot an initiative that would have prohibited commercial irradiation facilities. Facility proponents hope it will increase the number of crops exported. [Source: Daily Environment Report, 11/9.]

IARC says MTBE unclassifiable as carcinogen (11/9/98) The Daily Environment Report reports the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) as "not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans." This finding comes during controversy over MTBE -- a gasoline additive selected by EPA in the early 1990s to reduce motor vehicle emissions of carbon monoxide. While MTBE probably is not carcinogenic to humans under ordinary exposure conditions, the IARC action is further evidence that IARC is an EPA puppet. When the EPA couldn't get its own Science Advisory Board to sign-off on dioxin as a human carcinogen, IARC came to the agency's rescue. In the midst of the MTBE controversy, IARC again comes to the agency's need. But the toxicology of MTBE is not dissimilar to the toxicology for many other substances that EPA considers to be carcinogenic. But where is IARC on these substances?

"How Impotence Became A Weapon Against Smoking" (11/9/98) Coincidently timed with the 60 Minutes report on smoking and impotence, this Wall Street Journal article makes the same mistake as 60 Minutes -- touting an impotent 1994 CDC study. Tell the Wall Street Journal that its news stories should be based on facts, not anti-tobacco industry propaganda.

Smoking and impotence: 60 Minutes dupes us again? (11/8/98) Tonight's 60 Minutes program featured the claim that smoking causes impotence. A claim was even made on the program that secondhand smoke caused impotence. Here are a couple things you should know.

Blind to science: Canadians may issue rule to protect eyes from cellular telephones (11/8/98) Health Canada has drafted a standard that would limit exposure to the eyes from cellular telephones. The draft standard is based on a series of experiments by Henry Kues at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab. Kues claims to have observed damage to the corneas of monkeys after exposure to radiofrequency and microwave radiation (RF/MW). Kues claims that pulsed signals in conjunction with anti-glaucoma drugs magnified the effect. But Kues claims are in doubt since his study has never been replicated despite at least two efforts to do so. According to David Bell of the manufacturers' group Electro-Federation Canada: "I think Health Canada is now somewhat uncomfortable with this eye standard -- not because there's no scientific data whatsoever that support it, but because the extreme economic impact it would have." [Source: Microwave News, Sep/Oct 98.]

International trade in the 21st century: Toyotas for junk science? (11/8/98) Last June on behalf of the struggling EMF-scare industry, the National Institute of Environmental Sciences issued a draft report in hopes of resurrecting the issue of health effects from electromagnetic fields -- an issue though to have been pronounced dead by the National Research Council in 1996. Even the U.S. Department of Energy voluntarily shut down its fruitless EMF research program effective September 30, 1998. Microwave News reports that the NIEHS effort has stirred public concern in Japan. Activists are using the report to fight transmission lines and substations. Funny how the Japanese are more than willing to accept American junk science -- but not American cars. The quote of the moment comes from Professor Hiraku Takebe of Kinki University who disagrees with the conclusions of the NIEHS report: "There were to many epidemiologists on the committee." How true. Modern day epidemiology has become nothing short of formalized superstition.

Clinton Administration designs anti-nuclear computer simulation for Greenpeace (11/7/98) Greenpeace announced a computer simulation shows that plumes from a French nuclear reprocessing plant drift over the U.K. The computer simulation was designed by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"Public may have been misled on beef threat" (11/7/98) "A former Chief Medical Officer confessed yesterday that he might have misled the public over the safety of beef at the height of the "mad cow" epidemic."

EPA proposes to regulate pesticides on the basis of biological, rather than adverse effect (11/7/98) EPA wants to regulate pesticides on the basis of sub-clinical changes in blood chemistry -- changes that are neither harmful nor noticeable without chemical analysis. This would allow EPA to essentially regulate out-of-existence pesticides that act on the central nervous systems of insects. Here's the Federal Register notice that contains instructions for getting more info. The proposal is open for pubic comment -- so get your pens and pencils ready.

"Wallpaper poisons Mozart experts" (11/7/98) How do they know it's not the Mozart, rather than the PCBs? After all, decades of scientific research still have not shown that PCBs cause cancer in humans. I'm not aware of similar research on Mozart!

"The price of global warming remedies" (11/7/98) "It hardly makes sense for the United States to move full speed ahead with Draconian cuts in greenhouse gas emissions when, as Mullis notes, there is no scientific proof that human activity is overheating the planet; when, as Ridenour reports, more than half the growth in greenhouse gas emissions will come from developing countries (exempted from the global warming treaty); and when, as Stavins, estimates, full compliance with the Kyoto Protocol will drive up domestic energy prices and suck $200 billion a year out of the economy.

"Smog casts a pall over sex life of birds" (11/7/98) First, it would seem that the theory that pollution reduces plummage-brightness among birds could readily be tested under controlled conditions -- not done here. Second, this study did not report whether birds nearer the pollution source are, in fact, experiencing reproductive problems.

"Buenos Aires: Global Warming; A debate for all seasons" (11/6/98) Philip Stott on global warming.

"Forms of Government explained using cows" (11/6/98) A little fun -- and learning -- submitted by Anne Fennell.

"Jefferson's brother might have fathered a child by his slave, historian says" (11/6/98) "Don't assume Thomas Jefferson fathered a child by his slave, says an amateur historian who assisted a genetic study about Jefferson that made headlines this week."

"Indifference toward global warming" (11/6/98) Jay Ambrose of Scripps Howard writes: "It's apparently the case that most Americans care not one iota about the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which is what the White House wants, but there's another much-hyped issue the public cares about even less, which is not what the White House wants."

"Pentagon: 2 reports show no link to Gulf War Illness" (11/6/98) "The Pentagon said Thursday there was little likelihood that heavy smoke from more than 600 oil well fires set by Iraqi forces in the 1991 Gulf War caused long-term health problems for U.S. troops in and near Kuwait."

"Where you live could influence whether you smoke" (11/6/98) CDC says Utah, where Mormonism is big, has the lowest smoking rate. Sounds like it's how you live that may influence whether you smoke rather than where you live.

Anti-smoking industry goes below the belt (again): 60 Minutes to report that smoking causes impotence (11/6/98) According to the Drudge Report, "the chairman of the American Medical Association tells CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday that smoking causes impotence! Mike Wallace will report that smokers are twice as likely to become impotent than non-smokers, according to broadcast sources."

"An ear bashing for the movie industry" (11/6/98) "Cinema fans may damage their hearing by watching action-packed movies with loud soundtracks, experts have warned." If years of rock-n-roll haven't noticeably damaged my hearing already, somehow I doubt that a two-hour movie will.

"State to Hold Sport Utilities to Same Smog Rules as Cars Pollution" (11/6/98) The enviro attack on sport utility vehicles gains ground.

Clinton Administration links Hurricane Mitch to global warming (11/6/98) At yesterday's White House press briefing on Hurricane Mitch, J. Brian Atwood, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development and the President's Special Coordinator for Foreign Disasters, said "[Hurricane Mitch] is perhaps what is becoming a typical disaster in today's world of El Ninos and global climate change..." By the way, who's the President's Special Coordinator for Domestic Disasters... like the manipulation and distortion of science in global warming debacle?

"Look who's thawing on global warming" (11/6/98) Business Week writer John Carey naively thinks that the corporations jumping on the global warming bandwagon really believe manmade global warming is happening. Actually, sucking up to Al Gore accrues to their political and, ultimately, financial benefit.

"Resolution of peanut allergy" (11/5/98) A professor child health writes in the British Medical Journal: "In my experience, however, it is remarkable how 'definite' food allergy can evaporate once it is exposed to the test of a proper food challenge."

"Odds ratios should be avoided when events are common" (11/5/98) "A news item stated that 'a review article written by authors with affiliations to the tobacco industry is 88 times more likely to conclude that passive smoking is not harmful than if the review was written by authors with no connection to the tobacco industry.'"

"Putting the risk of breast cancer in perspective" (11/5/98) This article in the British Medical Journal concludes: "The statistic that 1 in 12 women will develop breast cancer is thus correct only for women who have escaped a number of equally serious but more likely threats to life at an earlier age. For most women the lifetime risk of dying of breast cancer is only 1 in 26; the other 25 women will die of something else. Life table analyses show that the incidence of breast cancer and mortality from the disease are much lower among younger women and these risks should be understood in the context of other serious threats to life."

Mike Fumento in Forbes (11/5/98) My good friend Mike Fumento has an article on endocrine disrupter hysteria titled "Truth disrupters" in the November 16 issue of Forbes. Check it out at the newsstand. It's not available online.

Where will Lynn Goldman land? (11/5/98) Democrat Gray Davis will be the next Governor of California. Rumor has it that he may appoint Lynn Goldman, outgoing EPA assistant administrator for toxics and pesticides, as head of the state of California EPA (Cal-EPA).

Concerned Parents Demand Removal Of Arsenic From Periodic Table Of Elements (11/5/98) GRAND RAPIDS, MI--Citing the threat posed to their children's safety, a Grand Rapids-area parents group is calling for the removal of arsenic from the periodic table of elements. "Our schoolchildren, some as young as the fourth grade, are being exposed to this deadly element in their science classes," said Tricia Montcalm, president of the Grand Rapids Parents Association. "We insist that this poison be removed from the periodic table and replaced with a safe, non-toxic element." To date, the group has raised over $4,500 for the development of a replacement element, "Nickelodeum," a springy, child-safe play foam with an atomic number of 33. [Source:The Onion.]

EPA sued over smog rule (11/5/98) Electricity Daily reports (11/5) the Midwest Ozone Group has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals (D.C. Circuit) to overturn the EPA's recent rules on ozone transport. The rules, issued last month, are premised on the notion that nitrogen oxide emissions from by Midwestern power plants contribute to Northeastern smog -- even though the EPA's own advisory panel, the Ozone Transport Assessment Group, concluded there was no science that showed this happened to a significant extent. MOG claims the EPA ignored MOG's input to the rulemaking. David Flannery, MOG's lawyer, said "It is apparent that we need an objective third party to review the agency's actions, which are blatantly arbitrary and capricious and which do not advance the intent and purpose of the Clean Air Act."

"GES science advisor Balling analyzes U.S. temperature trends: None are significant" (11/5/98) "In a special report released today, Greening Earth Society science advisor Robert C. Balling, Jr., analyzes trends in United States "degree days" between 1950 and 1995 to see if they contain evidence of "global warming."

Enviros ask Browner for Goldman clone (11/5/98) Lynn Goldman, EPA assistant administrator for toxics and pesticides, is leaving EPA. The enviros are worried Goldman's replacement may not be as extreme. Here's a draft letter from enviro groups to Browner requesting Goldman's successor be a clone. How about Dolly the sheep? Dolly would be as smart and probably more honest.

"Scientists don't agree on global warming" (11/5/98) A column by the Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby.

Meatheads at the Los Angeles Times (11/5/98) The Journal of the National Cancer Institute reports (11/4) a new study on dietary patterns and prostate cancer mortality. Click here for Los Angeles Times coverage. Click here for my letter to the editor. Click here to send your comments to the Times.

"The week that was October 26 - November 1, 1998" (11/5/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.

"Environment or health" (11/4/98) This great letter-to-the-editor of Chemical and Engineering News asks: "It was my impression that the E in EPA stood for environmental; how did it get transformed into H for health?"

"Reports Citing Anti-Theft Systems Should Not Alarm Heart Patients" (11/4/98) A case study and correspondence to the New England Journal of Medicine have prompted this media release by the largest manufacturer of electronic anti-shoplifting systems.

"Mothers near landfills risk malformed babies" (11/4/98) This is the headline for an article by the Environment News Service about a study published in The Lancet (August 8). The study result was a weak statistical association (relative risk = 1.33) based on no exposure data and no consideration of confounding factors.

"A Drug That Needs Further Testing" (11/4/98) Avrum Bluming, a medical oncologist at USC, opines in the Los Angeles Times: "Although the latest study on tamoxifen is promising, it is too soon to base federal policy on it."

"Hot Air and Climate Change" (11/4/98) The Christian Science Monitor editorializes while there is no proof that industrial emissions are causing global warming, prudence requires reducing emissions. Ask the Monitor why prudence doesn't require waiting until the science shows what, if anything, is happening.

China rebuffs Argentina's call for voluntary emissions cuts (11/4/98) At the Buenos Aires global warming conference, Argentina called on developing nations to make voluntary emissions cuts part of the formal global warming treaty structure. But China and other developing countries have refused, reports the Daily Environment Report (11/4). They say the "problem" is global. But so far the "solution" remains local -- primarily resting with the U.S.

New EIA report on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (11/4/98) A new report from the Energy Information Administration reports that U.S> greenhouse gas emissions for 1997 were 10 percent higher than 1990 levels. Under the Kyoto Protocol, the U.S> is supposed to cut emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels. The report is available at

"Global Warming Studies Are a Model of Confusion" (11/4/98) From Bruce Berkowitz in the Wall Street Journal: "Some colleagues and I recently ran a few tests using the data to see what patterns might appear. The results: Even allowing for lagging and cumulative effects, it is hard--really hard--to find any correlation between global temperature changes and fluctuations in energy consumption and industrial activity. The well-known relationships between solar cycles and temperature are easy to pick out, but once you control for them, any effect of energy consumption and industry disappears in the background noise."

Agent Orange accusations (11/3/98) A San Diego Union Tribune article claims that research on Agent Orange was "manipulated to downplay the health problems of Vietnam veterans." Click here for comments from Mike Gough, former chairman of the Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee that oversaw the Agent Orange study.

More secondhand smoke trickery (Updated 11/3/98) One of the 12 studies that made up the recent IARC study on secondhand smoke has been published in Epidemiology (November 1998) as a standalone study. But trickery abounds. The IARC study, recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (10/7), reported for the "Germany 1" study no increase in risk for lung cancer (relative risk = 0.88, 95% C.I. 0.40 - 1.95). The standalone Germany 1 study reports a statistically significant relative risk of 2.09 (95% C.I. 1.02 - 4.28). Why the difference in reports of the same study? The IARC result is based on "ever" exposure whereas the Germany 1 standalone result represents only a "high exposure" group -- conveniently selected for its statistically significant association. But the corresponding "high exposure" group in the IARC study only reports a statistically insignificant result (relative risk = 2.32, 95% C.I. 0.83 - 6.43).

EPA may have to go before the pests do (11/3/98) In this new report about insect resistance to insecticides in Emerging Infectious Diseases (October-December 1998), CDC researchers write "Although alternatives to vector control with insecticides are available, drug resistance (e.g., malaria) or vaccine cost and availability (e.g., Japanese encephalitis) make vector control and important option. Shrinking availability of insecticides as a result of resistance is exacerbated by removal from the market of insecticides no longer registered for public health use; the cost to keep certain compounds on the market is higher than can be recouped from such use. In addition, insecticide use is also monitored and restricted by regulatory agencies." As discussed on this page previously, EPA has banned many useful pesticides (e.g., DDT) based on junk science science. Pest control would undoubtedly be enhanced by the availability of a full and varied arsenal.

CPSC: The trivial regulator? (11/3/98) Right before Halloween, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission announced the recall of certain Halloween costumes that supposedly did not meet federal flammability standards. Although no injuries or incidents had been reported, CPSC recalled the costumes "to prevent the possibility of injury." But if CPSC's mission is to eliminate all injuries to kids, shouldn't CPSC also recall bicycles, monkey bars, sidewalks, and all the other accidents-waiting-to-happen. Why not just recall Halloween itself? Certainly it's inviting injury to have children walk around in clumsy costumes, at night, on streets filled with cars, knocking on strangers' door asking for candy? Why doesn't CPSC simply mandate that we place children in plastic-padded bubbles? Do consumer products have to be absolutely, or just reasonably safe?

"Children's teeth may suffer from bottled water boom" (11/3/98) Except the September 1998 issue of Pediatric Dentistry reported nearly 70 percent of children from high socioeconomic-status families whose parents had college degrees and lived in communities that fluoridated the water supply showed signs of fluorosis, the overingestion of fluoride that can discolor permanent teeth. And aren't children from high socioeconomic-status families more likely to consume bottled water? Most of the children in the study were using fluoridated toothpaste and drinking fluoridated water. In some cases they were also taking fluoride supplements. [Source: Orlando Sentinel, 9/22]

"Cancer cluster still baffles farming community" (11/3/98) "But after looking at local water, blood transfusions, jobs and other points of possible cancer exposure, scientists failed to pinpoint a source. Farm pesticides were ruled out after investigators couldn't determine whether all of the victims had contact with the chemicals."

"Developing Nations Urged to Help Battle Global Warming" (11/3/98) "An international conference on climate change opened here Monday with a debate over a proposal by the host nation, Argentina, challenging fellow developing nations to adopt voluntary limits on emissions of the gases that cause global warming."

"Amazon forest 'will be dead in 50 years'" (11/2/98) "The British government yesterday predicted the death of the Amazon rainforest in 50 years' time - and a resultant surge in global warming." Watch for a confirmation from the Psychic Network's Dionne Warwick.

"Buying Votes in Argentina" (11/2/98) "How long before the [Clinton] administration buys up the support of just about everyone, so that the United States Senate no longer can argue, as the ads say, that '[the Kyoto Protocol] isn't global?'"

Climate of Bias:Washington Post's Issue Forum on Global Warming (11/2/98) The Washington Post publishes a six-page advertisement for Al Gore and fellow global whiners. Make sure you send your comments to the editor of the section.

Millions of gallons of fuel to be burned for global warming conference (11/2/98) New research from the National Center for Public Policy Research.

"California elections: Propositions 4 and 6; Animal cruelty measures play to emotional issues (11/2/98) The enviros are divided on the use of traps.

"A few good men" (11/2/98) Mike Gough's letter-to-the-editor of Scientific American published in the November issue.

Gough to the Los Angeles Times on dioxin (11/2/98) Here's what Mike Gough submitted to the Times on its recent article titled "Vietnam Study Finds Dioxin in Food Chain Asia: Agent Orange defoliant used by U.S. in war has created environmental and health problems, firm report"

The Week That Was October 19-25, 1998" (11/1/98) The weekly update from the Science and Environmental Policy Project.

Likely victor in Illinois congressional race to introduce bill to codify Greenpeace scare(11/1/98) The Chicago Tribune reports today that Democrat Jan Schakowsky, the likely replacement for retiring Rep. Sidney Bates (D-Ill.), is planning a post-election press conference to announce her support for legislation requiring labels on plastic baby pacifiers and teething rings that contain chemicals known as phthalates -- a scare launched by Greenpeace. There is no reason to think such a bill would not be enacted by yet another cowardly Republican Congress. Illinois voters should pull the lever for the opponent of Schakowsky, a former program director for Illinois Public Action.

"Clean Air or Jobs: What a Choice; The EPA is pitting physical health against economic well-being in depressed areas" (11/1/98) An excellent op-ed from today's Los Angeles Times written by Arthur Fletcher, Chairman of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

"U.S. Dubious of Global Warming Pact" (11/1/98) It looks like the global warming issue will only fare as well as Al Gore's Presidential bid.

Study reports no effects on offspring from silicone breast implants (11/1/98) From the November 1998 issue of Pediatrics.

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