Ex-Spice Girl becomes the 'Joe Camel' of U.N. population control efforts (10/31/98) People reports (11/9) that Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger Spice, has joined the United Nations' population control efforts. The U.N. has selected Halliwell because it was "looking for a powerful figure who has the attention of the public, young people in particular." Halliwell's first task will be to promote a British essay competition about reproductive imperialism -- I mean, population control. In the end, though, Joe Camel is less harmful to human beings and their dignity. Even assuming for the sake of argument that Joe Camel is the siren the anti-smoking industry claims he is, the average smoker will still live to be more than 70 years of age. But how many won't experience even one moment of life thanks to reproductive imperialism touted by Ginger Spice?
Local Greenpeace raids Hong Kong's largest toy shop (10/31/98) As scientists attempt to humor wacko enviro hysteria about chemicals used in soft-plastic toys, Greenpeace terrorizes toy stores.
Gun control advocates pay National Institute of Medicine for pro-gun control report (10/31/98) The National Institute of Medicine just released a report titled "Reducing the Burden of Injury: Advancing Prevention and Treatment." Although benignly titled, the report advocates gun control measures. The report was funded in part by the left-leaning John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation which also funds anti-gun efforts such as HELP.
"Television and Music Video Exposure and Risk of Adolescent Alcohol Use" (10/31/98) I doubt that weak statistical associations based on self-reported data show that television/music video watching are "risk factors" for adolescent use of alcohol. I must admit, though, I could use a drink after learning that tax dollars were used to fund this nonsense.
"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" (10/31/98) A report by a Canadian consulting firm claims Agent Orange-related health probems occurred but acknowledges no scientific study shows this to be the case. Vietnam continues its efforts to shakedown the U.S.
NASA sponsors pow-wow on global warming (10/31/98) I wonder how much wampum NASA is paying Native Americans to smoke the global warming peacepipe.
Detroit News' investigative reporting KOs EPA environmental justice effort (10/30/98) "The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to drop its controversial civil rights investigation into a proposed $170-million steel mill near Flint today. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Flint's St. Francis Prayer Center, which alleged pollution from the plant would hurt nearby minorities, confirmed Thursday that the EPA is terminating the probe. The dispute surrounding the Select Steel mill had become the top test of the EPA's environmental justice policy. But The Detroit News found that the EPA didn't check the overwhelmingly white makeup of the surrounding neighborhoods' demographics before launching the investigation."
Conference report on data access (10/30/98) This is the House-Senate Conference report language [highlighted] on the smashing new law enabling public access to government-funded reseach data.
Senate colloquy on data access (10/30/98) This is the Senate discussion of the smashing new law enabling public access to government-funded reseach data.
Architect of a White House Green Machine Bids Farewell: Kathleen McGinty Reshaped Environmental Council and Proved Tough GOP Adversary in Budget Battles (10/30/98) So long to someone who once, in a public meeting, referred to the Republican congressional leadership as "pigs" -- a comment that was obviously edited out of the video and audio tapes of the conference.
Massachusetts court upholds junk science in tobacco case (10/30/98) Bloomberg News reports "The major U.S. cigarette companies lost an appeal of a Massachusetts court ruling that the state has the right to sue the industry for public money spent treating smokers' illnesses without showing that each smoker was harmed by the companies." This means statistics, rather than science, will be admitted as evidence.
Junk scientist sweats over new data access law (10/30/98) In an interview with the Daily Environment Report (10/30) about the new federal law mandating public access to data developed with federal funds, NYU junk scientist George Thurston said "It's the most insidious thing because it sounds like a good thing at first blush... Basically, special interests want the data so they can discredit the work." Absolutely, George!
Big win against junk science (10/30/98) Junk scientists who live off federal grants will no longer be able to hide their data from the public. Last week, President Clinton signed Public Law 105-277 to require the Office of Management and Budget to amend a rule (known as Circular A-110) "to require Federal awarding agencies to ensure that all data produced under an award will be made available to the public through the procedures established under the Freedom of Information Act." In one of the best examples of "secret science," EPA- funded researchers refused to make available for independent review data used to support EPA's new air quality standards -- the most expensive environmental regulations ever.
EPA fires outspoken activist: Columbia University says environmentalist hasn't received master's degree as she claimed (10/29/98) I didn't know that Carol Browner's EPA had any standards of conduct.
ENN falls behind the endocrine disrupter learning curve (10/29/98) The Environmental News Network reports today "Even minuscule amounts of chemicals ubiquitous in the environment such as bisphenol A -- found in canned foods, dental sealants and food and beverage containers -- can cause abnormal prostate development, lowered sperm production, early onset of puberty in females and changes in the breast and pituitary glands in laboratory animals." This completely and inexcusably ignores the recent study on bisphenol-A contradicting this claim. Let's educate ENN. Click here to post a message to the bulletin board for this story. Click here to send an e-mail to the enn editor- in-chief.
Third grade girls wearing bras with double D-cups? (10/29/98) A Sierra Club activist claims she was told by a third grade teacher that "slim little girls in her classes wore bras with D and double D cup sizes." Supposedly the teacher wondered whether this was due to "the genetically engineered hormones, such as rBGH in dairy products, endocrine disrupting chemicals, or both."
"Scientists Fear Global Warming War" (10/29/98) This AP report seems to think Nature's advocacy on global warming is "unusual" -- and perhaps even that global warming is such a serious problem that Nature has departed from simply publishing bland scientific reports. But anyone that reads Nature knows the journal has been in the tank for global warming since before the Kyoto Protocol. When it comes to global warming, Nature is no better than Greenpeace et al.
"Developing nations said to impede pact; Called hindrance to emissions treaty" (10/29/98) Apparently, developing nations are not too willing to cut their own throats over global warming.
"Scientists: Get ready for global warming" (10/29/98) USA Today writes "Although some scientists dispute the accuracy of global warming forecasts, most expect the average temperature of the Earth to rise a few degrees by the end of the next century, with dire results." I'm not sure how USA Today figures that "most" scientists sign on to global warming hysteria. But last I checked, in the battle of petitions (as ridiculous a concept as that is), 17,000 scientists against the global warming theory versus 2,600 for it doesn't support the USA Today statement. Send your comments to USA Today. Bad reporting will continue unless we take action. Click here for Gary Long's letter to USA Today.
"State Health Proposal Could Shut Down Some Valley Water Wells" (10/29/98) California wants to lower acceptable levels of hexavalent chromium in drinking water to below-detect levels though no health problems (i.e., stomach cancers) have been associated with existing levels.
Science Advisory Board slams EPA environmental justice methods (10/29/98) The EPA's Science Advisory Board said the agency should follow "step-by-step" methods in determining whether state or local permit decisions have a "disproportionate impact" on minority communities. In its typically and necessarily understated fashion, the SAB (a quivering mass of cowardice and sycophancy whose members hold their positions at the whim of EPA) pointed out that the EPA should: (1) look at actual measured emissions; (2) identify relevant exposure pathways; (3) prioritize emission of concern; (4) compare sources by census blocks; (5) determine the risk to all populations before conducting a disproportionate impact analysis. Implicit in these recommendations is that the EPA currently doesn't do any of them -- a fact recently spotlighted in a series of articles on EPA's environmental justice efforts by David Mastio in the Detroit News. Bet on the EPA to ignore the SAB's recommendations. After all, who's afraid of jello?
Japan to launch major study of sperm counts (10/29/98) Nature reports (10/29) the Japanese ministry of Health and Welfare, in the spirit of endocrine disrupter hysteria, will collect semen samples from 1,500 men from all over Japan. Researchers also hope to determine whether certain types of food have any effect on sperm levels. From clothes to music -- and now even to nutty social phenomena -- the Japanese really love American culture.
NIEHS: The dead face no cancer risk (10/29/98) Tomorrow the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences will peer review rodent cancer studies of five substances and the strength of any carcinogenic activity as interpreted by the National Toxicology Program. One of the substances to be reviewed is glutaraldehyde which is used in embalming fluid. The studies to be reviewed indicated there were no carcinogenic effects of glutaraldehyde in either sex of rats or mice. Glutaraldehyde has been used for years. If there was an actual cancer risk -- observable from higher cancer rates among morticians, for example -- wouldn't we have noticed by now? If glutaraldehyde is an example of a priority for the National Toxicology Program, perhaps it's time for us to do to NTP what it has been doing to rodents for years -- sacrifice.
NRC report to downplay endocrine disrupters as health threat: Enviro pouting to delay report until 1999 (10/28/98) Nature reports (10/29) that the National Research Council report on endocrine disruptors will probably be delayed until 1999 because of a "split" in views among the review committee about the level of health risk endocrine disrupters pose. Apparently, the "environmentally inclined" committee members, including Frederick vom Saal and Ana Soto, are so frustrated that they have submitted their own alternative executive summary which may appear as a minority report attached as an appendix. Translation: the report comes up with the wrong answer for the alarmists. The full text of the Nature news article is at www.nature.com but you need a subscription to view it online.
"Save Methyl Bromide" (10/27/98) CEI's Ben Lieberman on methyl bromide.
"Dirty air may cause cancers" (10/27/98) A comical conclusion given that no exposure data was used in this study and available science still does not show that dioxins and PCBs cause cancer in humans.
So long, farewell, auf wiedersen, good-bye..." (10/28/98) The Environmental Working Group has withdrawn from two White House panels studying pesticide use. The letter is signed by EWG president, Kenneth A. Cook. A couple of years ago, Cook and I were on a panel sponsored by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the National Association of Science Writers. Cook ranted against pesticides, but offered no data to support his position. My guess is that these panels won't miss him or EWG.
"High Lead Levels Found at Grade School" (10/28/98) Although the school was built in 1938 and painted with lead-based paint, the real target of this exercise is nearby industrial facilities.
Sen. Lieberman, enviros say Congress shouldn't legislate on environmental issues (10/28/98) Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) joined environmental groups in criticizing the 105th Congress for attaching environmental provisions to pending bills. Lieberman and the Natural Resources Defense Council called for the adoption of measures that would prevent members of Congress from attaching extraneous measures to budget bills. [Source: Daily Environment Report, 10/28.] It seems what's good for the goose, though, is not good for the gander. The enviros have used this process many times in prior Democrat-controlled Congresses to enact environmental provisions they favor. But why allow Congress to legislate on the environment at all? Why have a constitutional government? Let's just empower EPA administrator Carol Browner to issue environmental fiats at whim.
Fight biotechnology hysteria (10/27/98) Click here for an atrocious anti-biotechnology article published in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine. Click here for a Monsanto Company-sponsored letter signed by world leaders who recognize the value of biotechnology. Then tell the potato-heads at the New York Times Magazine that Luddism went out with the 19th century.
"Disease lobbies" (10/27/98) Daniel Greenberg questions the increase in NIH's budget -- a great op-ed until the end when his solution becomes Son of NIH. Let's get the federal government out of medical research -- too much money spent for too little progress.
"Glenn's reward" (10/27/98) Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) says he's going into space for the sake of science -- he must mean political science.
CO2 a pollutant? (10/27/98) EPA claims it has authortity to regulate carbon dioxide. A legal analysis from the National Mining Association says EPA does not have the authority to regulate CO2 because such authority is not expressly stated in the Clean Air Act and Congress did not intend for EPA to regulate CO2. What's EPA's response? According to the Daily Environment Report (10/27), EPA said "Our position is that we have general authority to regulate air pollutants, and carbon dioxide is an air pollutant." Carbon dioxide is an air pollutant? So by EPA logic, humans and plants pollute simply by respiring.
"Global warming is real: In surprise move, automaker says problem calls for quick corporate, political solution" (10/27/98) "General Motors Corp., in a surprising turnabout, today plans to concede global warming represents a real danger that major corporations and political leaders must quickly resolve." GM announced a major recall of cars today." Perhaps this decision should be recalled as well.
"Global Thermometer Imperiled by Dispute" (10/27/98) "A $40 million research program has proved that sound can be used to measure the temperature of the world's oceans and detect long-term climate change, scientists say. But the project has spent so much money meeting demands by environmental groups that its leaders expect to have to end the program a year from now."
"Just the facts? On global warming, we need more" (10/27/98) Newsday ends this basically correct editorial with a non sequitur.
"Ohio churches issue global warming statement" (10/27/98) "An environmental organization founded Monday urges religious groups in Ohio to address global warming from a religious perspective."
Pesticides and children living on farms: New NRDC report is much ado about nothing (10/26/98) The latest report from the enviros about pesticides and kids is yet more evidence that current pesticide use is safe. It consists of ominous but vague, unsubstantiated and meaningless claims --e.g., "All children are disproportionately exposed to pesticides... Fetuses, infants and children are particularly susceptible to pesticides... Pesticides can have numerous serious health effects... Children living in farm areas or whose parents work in agriculture are exposed to pesticides to a greater degree..." The children of farm workers have been living on farms for generations. If they were suffering ill-effects, I'm sure NRDC would have better data to use than these weak claims. NRDC should be ashamed: distorting facts will not improve the quality of life for these children.
"Coming Clean On Germ-Free Household Product Claims" (10/26/98) Similar to the controversy over the gasoline additive MTBE, there is probably no need for so-called "anti-bacterial" cleaners, but the evidence also is thin that they will cause harm.
"California Plans Science Standards" (10/26/98) More on the controversy over hands-on versus textbook science education.
Profiting from regulation (10/26/98) The Institute for Clean Air Companies expects the market for air pollution control technologies to grow from $1.5 billion in 1998 to about $2.33 billion in 2001. Increase in demand is expected to be largest for technologies designed to control nitrogen oxides (NOx) -- the subject of the most recent EPA rulemaking which clamped down on Midwestern power plants that were allegedly contributing to smog in the Northeast states. [Source: Daily Environment Report, 10/26.] For a copy of ICAC's report "Market Forecast," contact ICAC at 202-457-0911. Maybe investing in this industry will offset the higher costs passed on to us from the EPA's regulation.
Tobacco BBS or just Tobacco BS? (10/25/98) October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the anti-tobacco industry is exploiting this good cause with the alleged smoking-breast cancer link. In particular, the Tobacco BBS spotlights a November 1996 press release from University of Buffalo researchers claiming to have identified an increased breast cancer risk in post-menopausal smokers who have the "NAT2-slow" genotype. But the Tobacco BBS should wake and smell the coffee -- two subsequent studies, one published in 1997 and the other published in 1998, failed to find an increase in breast cancer risk among post-menopausal women with the NAT2-genotype.
Ozone depletion update (10/25/98) Fred Singer of the Science and Environmental Policy Project informed me last week that the latest scientific assessment of the ozone hole by the World Meteorological Organization reports that although stratospheric levels of chlorine continue to rise due to developing nations' use of freon and other so-called "ozone depleting compounds," the ozone hole of Antarctica has not increased and there has been no observed increase in solar ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth. The WMO did not comment on whether the reason the ozone hole has stabilized is because the vacuum between Al Gore's ears has been sucking up atmospheric chlorine.
"Complaint over Sunday Telegraph article on passive smoking is rejected" (10/25/98) The [U.K.] Press Complaints Commission has rejected a complaint by Ash, the anti-smoking group, against The Sunday Telegraph over an article on the links between passive smoking and lung cancer."
World Wildlife Fund poll claims nearly 80 percent of Americans support the global warming treaty (10/25/98) My comments? See if you can figure out what I'm thinking: BiaS; World WildLIfE FunD; and gLobAl warMing trEaty.
"Sierra Club Ads in Political Races Offer a Case Study of 'Issue Advocacy'" (10/25/98) The Sierra Club works to elect its candidates. What are you doing?
"Picking on GE... or protecting public?" (10/25/98) Elizabeth Whelan writes: "A number of EPA officials I have spoken with have argued that we have more to fear from EPA fearmongering than from PCBs buried in river sediment..."
"Safe Food: Don't Let Science Get in the Way" (10/25/98) An unabashedly anti-science, anti-technology op-ed in the Washington Post. Ask the Post whether we are better off relying on science and its limitations, or Luddites and their limitations.
Kyoto Protocol to become year 2000 election issue, say Clinton aides (10/25/98) The Washington Times reports this morning that aides say President Clinton does not plan to submit the global warming treaty to the Senate in the next two years. Instead, the treaty's fate will be left in the hands of likely Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore who will use it as a campaign platform. The hope is Republican presidential candidates will reconsider their opposition to the treaty once they find out how popular efforts to curb global warming are. Sounds like a good strategy to me. Bet on ill-prepared and timid Republican candidates, backed by spineless staffers, to cave in the face of hot air from Gore.
Large icebergs not new (10/25/98) Faithful reader Paul Jensen finds evidence casting doubt that the Delaware-sized iceberg that broke free from Antarctica last week is linked with manmade emissions of greenhouse gases.
When can odds ratios mislead? (10/25/98) In a recent Trash Talk posting, Pete Petrakis pointed out that relative risks and odds ratios were not equivalent. Here's an article from the British Medical Journal (October 23, 1998) explaining the difference.
The Week That Was October 12-18, 1998 (10/25/98) Better late than never, here's the weekly update from the Science & Environmental Policy Project.
A little shaky: Pesticides and Parkinson's disease (10/24/98) Researchers report in The Lancet (October 24) that, in a study of almost 200 elderly individuals, those claiming exposure to pesticides were 2.3 times as likely to suffer from the neurological disorder known as Parkinson's disease. But the study is small, pesticide exposure is based on recall only -- no verification --, cases were not carefully matched to controls and no other competing risk factors were considered, such as other degenerative diseases, drugs or other toxins.
Breast cancer genes hyped? (10/24/98) In 1994 and 1995, researchers estimated that carriers of germline mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes had an 80-90 percent chance of developing breast cancer by age 70. Some women who had these mutations and family histories of breast cancer opted for prophylactic mastectomies in hopes of avoiding breast cancer. Researchers now report in The Lancet (October 24) that, in a study of 575 breast cancer patients in Iceland, "the mean risk of breast cancer in carriers of mutation in BRCA2 is lower than previously suggested" -- 37 percent versus 80-90 percent. Although this risk figure is not the only factor in deciding whether to undergo prophylactic mastectomy, this study may change some women's calculations -- especially since prophylactic mastectomy is no guarantee of avoiding breast cancer.
"Iceberg Bigger Than Delaware Breaks Off Antarctica" (10/16/98) Contrary to the global warming implication made in the Washington Post article, this Los Angeles Times article from 1987 when the last large iceberg broke reports "The [Antarctic] ice shelf itself is moving out to sea, pushed by two glaciers on the mainland, and as the tides and the waves and the movement continues, those chunks break off and float out to sea."
So who needs Kyoto anyway? (10/16/98) Researchers report in Science that "North America sops up a whopping 1.7 petagrams of carbon a year--enough to suck up every ton of carbon discharged annually by fossil fuel burning in Canada and the United States."
Epidemiologist's funds axed after politically incorrect report on California smoking (10/16/98) Nature reports today that John Pierce, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Diego, who has conducted three surveys on smoking for the California Department of Health Services, has had his $4.85 million contract abruptly terminated after a dispute over his findings. Pierce's report concluded that California's tobacco control program was ineffective. Pierce claims state health department officials asked him to change his methodologies -- changes that would have created a continuing downward trend in smoking rates. What would fabler Aesop say about this situation? "There is no honor among thieves."
Lancet lances the facts on the IARC secondhand smoke study (10/16/98) You know what to do. Click here to tell The Lancet what it should do. Don't forget to include your name, address and phone number. Let me know of any responses.
New German government to stop nuclear power (10/16/98) The Washington Times reports that Germany's Social democrats and Green Party have agreed on a plan to shut nuclear power plants. The good news is no agreement has yet been reached on the Greens' demand that heavy "ecology taxes" be placed on gasoline and other fuels. Let's keep this nuttiness offshore. Al Lewis ("Grandpa" from the hit TV show Munsters) is running for governor in New York as the Green Party candidate. While Lewis helped make the Munsters a great show, I'm afraid the Green Party would bring truly scary times to the U.S.
MTBE edges toward Prop 65 listing (10/16/98) The controversial fuel additive MTBE has entered the "scientific review phase" of a proposal to list it as cancer-causing under California's Proposition 65. Required by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 to select a fuel additive to reduce carbon monoxide emissions, EPA picked MTBE. Introduction of MTBE caused fuel prices to increase, prompting a backlash, including claims of health effects. Thanks to the activist groups Oxy-Busters (with ties to Archer Daniels Midland, manufacturer of MTBE-rival ethanol) and a disgruntled former employee of MTBE manufacturer Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) who publishes his own scientific journal often attacking MTBE, the safety of MTBE has been put in doubt. MTBE was required without a scientific basis. Now, it's being attacked without a scientific basis. It should be the poster child for junk science.
"Environmental policy must take into account public opinion" (10/16/98) Don't the western demoncracies already do this? Isn't that why we have elections? Is "public opinion" a euphemism for "environmental activist opinion?"
"Use of calcium channel blockers and risk of suicide" (10/16/98) Letters-to-the-editor of the British Medical Journal criticizing a study claiming that blood pressure medication can lead to suicide.
"The EPA's 'Least Wanted' list" (10/15/98) "If the Environmental Protection Agency were an automobile dealer, it would have had to file for bankruptcy protection long ago."
Where's the beef?: Meat consumption and colon cancer (10/15/98) A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology (October 15, 1998) reports "both red meat intake and white meat intake as important dietary risk factors for colon cancer..." One problem in this small study is the associations clearly are the product of data dredging. No statistically significant associations were reported for red meat intake and cancer, or white meat intake and cancer. But when subsets of red meat intake and white meat intake were massaged, statistically significant, albeit weak, associations tumbled out. Those who consumed red meat more than once per week and only occasional white meat had a reported 90 percent increase in colon cancer. Those who consumed white meat more than once per week and only occasional red meat had a reported 229 percent increase in colon cancer. Why the dredging? The study was conducted by researchers at Loma Linda University, affiliated with the (vegetarian) Seventh Day Adventist Church. Adventists like to think their lower colon cancer rates are due to vegetarianism. But meat-eating Mormons also have low colon cancer rates. I'd bet the groups' colon cancer rates have something to do with their general lifestyle, including no smoking or drinking, not meat consumption.
Agent Orange: Still nothing after all these years (10/15/98) A follow-up to assess the mortality of veterans who participated in the aerial spraying of herbicides in Vietnam (Operation Ranch Hand) reports no increases or no statistically significant increases for death from any and all causes. The study was conducted by the researchers at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Brooks AFB, TX. [Source: American Journal of Epidemiology 1998;148:786-792 (October 15, 1998)]
"Global warming lucency" (10/15/98) Fred Singer writes: "It's time to review some facts [about climate] that need to be more widely known."
"Global Warming Treaty Threatens National Security" (10/15/98) "What does a treaty proposed to prevent human-caused global warming have to do with the U.S. military? More than you think."
"The Week That Was October 5-11, 1998" (10/15/98) The weekly update from the Science & Environmental Policy Project.
Breast cancer chic? (10/14/98) Breast cancer scares are becoming quite the rage among the glitterati. First, it was Geri Halliwell (a.k.a. Ginger Spice of Spice Girls fame) who thought she had breast cancer at age 18. Her self-diagnosis was wrong. But that hasn't stopped her from publicizing her "breast cancer scare." Now, it's Fergie, the former Duchess of York. According to this Reuters report, she felt a lump under her arm, had it checked out and learned the lump was a swollen lymph node, probably from a virus. Breast cancer is very rare in young women, such as Halliwell and Fergie. It's a disease, not a fashion. Shame on them for exploiting this disease to garner attention.
Combat the enviro petition on global warming (10/14/98) Enviro groups -- including U.S. Public Interest Group (USPIRG), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Friends of the Earth (FOE), Greenpeace, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, Union of Concerned Scientists, National Wildlife Federation, and Physicians for Social Responsibility - are circulating a petition "to encourage President Clinton to commit to reduce pollution that causes global warming." You can help counter this -- and maybe win $1,000 -- by entering this page's Global Warming Sweepstakes. An opportunity to do the right thing and win cash is a better deal that any enviro group can offer! What are you waiting for?
Creationism on the rise? (10/14/98) Marty Rudin writes "Creationists have finally slipped one past the goalkeeper."
"DHS 'smoking gun'?" (10/14/98) "This incident shows the [California] Department of Health Services is as much an interested party as the tobacco lobby. DHS may have every right to support the smoking ban, but it shouldn't squelch relevant public information to do so." Send your compliments to the Orange County Register for this courageous and correct editorial.
Junkman and Bob Cohen see eye-to-eye on JAMA study (10/14/98) Bob Cohen, the "NotMilkman" and head of the Anti-Dairy Coalition raises, a good but narrow point about a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study reported that milk consumption may reduce the risk of colon cancer. But as Cohen points out, the study was too small and narrow in scope and its results were way over-interpreted. Cohen remains way off the mark in his all-out assault on milk.
"CDC blows smoke on smoking initiation" (10/14/98) Pete Petrakis looks at the recent CDC study of teen smoking. Has teen smoking "sharply increased?" "In a pig's eye," says Pete.
Raisin' cain over Raisin Bran (10/14/98) Raisin Bran is banned from a government food voucher program for low-income women and children because its sugar content exceeds the limit of 6 grams when the sugar content of the raisins is included. Outgoing Rep. Vic Fazio (D-Calif) added an amendment to the agriculture spending bill that would finance a $300,000 study by the National Academy of Sciences on the sugar limitations of the government program. Click here for the AP story. Click here for a sensible viewpoint from Nutrition News Focus.
"Fast-paced melt of glaciers has scientists speculating" (10/14/98) Keep in mind the words of Keith Echelmeyer of the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute: "To make a case that glaciers are retreating, and that the problem is global warming, is very hard to do. The physics are very complex. There is much more involved than just the climate response."
"Paul Ehrlich: It's still not doomsday" (10/14/98) A good editorial about Paul Ehrlich's latest "clarion call to calamity."
Carol Browner's leaky roof (10/14/98) In a presentation at the Brookings Institution yesterday, EPA administrator Carol Browner said about the call to act on global warming: "Do you fix your leaky roof on a sunny day, or do you wait? You fix you roof on a sunny day." Perhaps. Though I would first want to make sure my roof is actually leaking. Browner also said "The value of human life, the value of government's moral duty to protect its citizens, the value of forward-thinking actions are largely lost in strict cost-benefit analysis of solutions to this problem." The value of the government's moral duty? [Source: Daily Environment Report, October 14, 1998.]
Frogs and secondhand smoke? (10/13/98) The pressure to publish has made two University of Chicago researchers crack. In an effort to test whether exposure to secondhand smoke increases blood pressure, researchers Yan-Yi Peng and Ying-Jun Cao exposed frog neurons to small amounts of nicotine. Pardon me, but wouldn't it be easier to find some eager undergraduates and measure their blood pressures before and after exposure to secondhand smoke? Are these guys thinking too hard? Or are they just afraid of the answer? Click here for the press release. Click here for the study abstract.
"Court tells L.A. to clean up its pollution act" (10/13/98) "The agencies argued in the lawsuit, among other things, that some of their initial estimates of pollutants were wrong and that some of the solutions they agreed to are too expensive."
"Greenland ice yields climate change clues" (10/13/98) And one clue is that manmade global warming is nonsense: "...temperatures were 2 F warmer than present during the Medieval Warm Period, 1,000 years ago when the Vikings established settlements in Greenland, and 5000 years ago were 4.5 F warmer."
Tulane scientist dumped from National Research Council endocrine disrupter panel (10/13/98) Tulane University's John McLachlan, best known for having to withdraw from Science his paper on alleged synergistic effects of chemicals on hormone systems, was unceremoniously dumped from the National Research Council panel investigating so-called endocrine disrupters. According to the NRC, "...McLachlan..., was dropped from the committee due to nonparticipation in committee activities and failure to respond to NRC communications over the last 18 months." My guess is McLachlan doesn't want to have his name attached to the upcoming NRC report that will probably conclude that hormone hysteria is, so far, a nothing-burger.
Another one bites the dust: Scientists fail to replicate endocrine disrupter study (10/13/98) Yet another study on so- called endocrine disrupters cannot be replicated. Later this week the plastics industry will announce the results of a study aimed at replicating claims reported in 1997 by Frederick vom Saal that low levels of the chemical bisphenol A, used in products ranging from canned food to dental sealants, caused developmental abnormalities in mice. [Environmental Health Perspectives 1997: 105;70-76.] The new study reports the same protocol used on larger numbers of mice at more dose levels (higher and lower) failed to produce treatment-related effects. The failure to replicate vom Saal's claims combined with the failure to replicate 1996 claims by Tulane University scientists and other recent studies on DDT and diethylstilbestrol (DES) are steadily deflating the hopes of endocrine disruption alarmists.
"The High Priest of Ecoalarmism" (10/13/98) Al Gore in 600 words.
MONICA apologists in action: "Did MONICA really say that?" (10/12/98) The study, not the woman. This week's British Medical Journal contains this article claiming that media reports of MONICA (the largest-ever study on heart disease that failed to link heart disease with "traditional" risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking) are misrepresenting the importance of MONICA. In effect the article says MONICA should be taken with a grain of salt since it's an ecologic study -- i.e., a study of populations rather than of individuals. I'd bet that this article never would have been written had MONICA produced the "correct" result.
"Validity of methods used to assess vitamin and mineral supplement use" (10/12/98) Researchers often attempt to associate vitamin intake with various health endpoints -- e.g., vitamin C prevents heart disease, selenium prevents cancer, etc. But a glaring weakness of these studies is that vitamin/mineral intake usually is estimated, not measured. A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology (10/1/98) illustrates this weakness. The study concludes "These results suggest that commonly used epidemiologic methods of assessing supplement use may incorporate significant amounts of error in some nutrients." Correlation coefficients for self-reporting vs. researcher validation of vitamin/mineral intake ranged from 0.06 for iron to 0.76 for vitamin C (1.0 is perfect correlation).
"When Perceptions Are Not Reality: Youth role in crime exaggerated" (10/12/98) Just think how these youngsters would feel if they were chemicals.
"Suspending the rules of science" (10/12/98) About the new secondhand smoke study, Daily Telegraph correspondent Robert Matthews writes "... there has been little of the publicity which would have been expected for so striking a finding from a major study by an official organisation. But this is passive smoking research, where normal rules do not apply, including those of scientific investigation."
"Does Plastic in Microwave Pose Health Problems?" (10/12/98) The Wall Street Journal's Marilyn Chase pens an article high on endocrine disrupter hysteria but low on facts. Where's the evidence of harm from microwaving food in plastic containers? Tell the Wall Street Journal that it's news coverage lags way behind its fine editorial page in journalistic quality.
"Federal study finds no link between nuclear sites and childhood cancer" (10/12/98) "Children whose fathers were exposed to low levels of radiation at three Energy Department sites, including the INEEL, do not have an increased risk of developing childhood cancer, a federal study has found."
"'Radium girls' wrote tragic chapter in town's history" (10/12/98) While some of the "radium girls" who were heavily exposed to radium probably did get bone cancers from their work painting glow-in-the dark watch dials, it's not clear that this justifies hundreds of millions of dollars in Superfund cleanup costs imposed by the EPA. In the Superfund records of the New Jersey radium sites, the EPA estimates that as many as 75 percent of the site residents would contract fatal cancers. Of course, this has never come to pass. Tell the Buffalo News (Fax: 716-856-5150) that tragedy does not justify stupidity.
"Ozone recovery offers a success to build on" (10/12/98) So editorializes the Tacoma News Tribune. Tell the editors of the Tacoma News Tribune that you don't consider more international bureaucracy and more junk science to be a "success."
"More Reasons to Doubt Kyoto Solution" (10/12/98) "The more information that comes to light about the potential downside of the [global warming] treaty, the wiser it seems for the Senate, which has yet to ratify it, to be skeptical," editorializes the Omaha World-Herald. Thank the editors of the Omaha World-Herald for their circumspection.
Crank science lives! (10/11/98) "For some,... the apparent decline of racism means that no one's looking for it hard enough."
"Ivy League names lend 'instant credibility' to ideas, research" (10/11/98) Apparently, Ivy League schools only want their prestigious names attached to research that reflects well on them. Of course, they remain more than happy to accept funding for the more suspect research... just don't say it came from Harvard!
Aides? (10/11/98) In the gaff department, the Associated Press ran a story October 7 titled "Aides statistics for 1997." The article was about the 16,685 Americans who died from AIDS.
U.K. newspaper refuses to bend to anti-tobacco industry demands on reporting of IARC secondhand smoke study (10/10/98) The spirit of Winston Churchill is alive and kicking at the Daily Telegraph.
"Peanut buffer: Allergic reactions put the goober lobby on the defensive" (10/10/98) Don't "Skippy" this one.
Check, Checkpoint (10/9/98) Apparently, it's good business to scare people who already have heart problems.
"Politics limit aid for victims of fallout" (10/9/98) That is an interesting title for an article that contains the statement "...scientists have never directly proven that iodine-131 causes thyroid cancer nor what dosages may increase risks significantly." Sounds like politics is the only reason "victims" are getting any aid. Still the government is earmarking millions for the radiation protection establishment. Tell the Deseret News that the real story is the radiation protection industry scam."
"Schools switch to bottled water; Radium levels in wells above U.S. standards; 'no emergency'" (10/9/98) Maryland county school officials spend more than $100,000 to avoid radiation exposures equivalent to a full set of dental x-rays every three years. How about more teachers, books or computers, instead?
Climate Treaty's Effects Examined: Controversial Study Predicts Energy Costs Will Soar by 2010 (10/9/98) The Washington Post's Joby Warrick, who cut his environmental journalism-teeth writing about North Carolina hog farms, can only find fault in this new study. Too bad he doesn't shine the same light on studies supporting action on global warming. Ask Joby why he's so defensive (for a journalist) about global warming.
More on the California science standards (10/8/98) Rick Skeean's views on California's efforts to change science education from "hands on" to "book based."
Solve the CDC-3,000-kids-per-day puzzle: Win a copy of my new book (10/8/98) The anti-smoking industry likes to say that 3,000 kids per day start smoking. But then we found out that this number was based on a study involving "kids" over 20 years of age. Now, CDC has a new study it claims supports the 3,000-kids-per-day statistic. Though I have a master's degree in biostatistics, I can't understand it! Am I just a dummy? Or is CDC pulling a fast one? The first person to explain this study to me -- an explanation to be posted on this page -- will win a copy of the sequel to Science Without Sense, authored by Mike Gough and myself and scheduled for release in November.
"Earth has warmed about 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 5 centuries" (10/8/98) Even accepting ice core borings as the equivalent of digital thermometers, this still is not evidence that manmade emissions of greenhouse gases are causing global warming.
"Radioactive bugs the latest danger at Hanford plant" (10/8/98) "Danger?" Is that the right word?
Kennedy/Bono skiing accidents solved? (10/8/98)Today's Nature reports that mountains in the temperate zone, such as the Rockies, "are particularly susceptible" to accumulation of some organochlorine pesticides and PCBs. The report hypothesizes this accumulation occurs in mountain regions with high precipitation levels near pollutant sources. Will the enviros blame last year's fatal skiing accidents involving Michael Kennedy and Sonny Bono (they apparently weren't watching where they were going and slammed into trees) on attention deficit disorder caused by endocrine disrupters in the snow? [Source: Daily Environment Report, 10/8/98.]
"California's Tobacco Initiative" (10/8/98) The New York Times editorializes that "It makes sense to use a tobacco tax to pay for children's [social] programs because secondhand smoke and smoking during pregnancy have been linked to low birthweight babies, pre-term births and increased asthma and respiratory infections among infants and children." This page has had plenty of articles, and Trash Talk has had plenty of discussion about the alleged effects of secondhand smoke and smoking on fetal development and children's health. Tell the Times that taxpayer-funded social programs should be debated on their merits, not junk science.
"Agent Orange in Vietnam" (10/8/98) Congratulations to Mike Gough on his fine letter in the Los Angeles Times about this article.
Progress on the "hottest month" nonsense (10/8/98) The Knight-Ridder news service has distributed an article by Seth Borenstein titled "September was the hottest on record." Putting aside that temperature records are spotty and such claims are open to serious question, at least the article didn't blame the heat on global warming. The article quoted University of Miami professor of meteorology Rainer Black who said the heat may be part of an overall global warming, but "he and other meteorologists said this could also be just normal climate variation." [Source: The Charleston Gazette, 10/7/98.]
"Don't Blame Industry for Rising Seas" (10/8/98) Congratulations to Mike Lentini of Houston on his fine letter in the Christian Science Monitor about this article.
No excess cancer incidence near Rocky Flats site (10/8/98) The Colorado department of Public Health and Environment reported cancer rates in 10 selected areas near the former nuclear weapons plant at Rocky Flats were comparable to rate in the remainder of the Denver metro area. Four of the 190 tested associations were higher than expected, but five higher-than-normal associations would be expected simply by chance. The study covered about 400,000 people and cancer incidence from 1980 to 1989. [Source: Daily Environment Report, 10/8/98.]
"Men being emasculated by toiletries" (10/7/98) If this was true, wouldn't we have noticed by now?
"Calif. To Use New Science Standards" (10/7/98) "Hands-on" science beats "book science" every day of the week. The "hands-on" approach teaches the scientific method." The "book science" method is simply an exercise in memorization.
USGS Report Finds More People Using Less Water (10/7/98) Bad news for the Paul Ehrlichs of the world.
Sound-off to the The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC) about the secondhand smoke study (10/7/98) "A massive new study adds to the evidence that exposure to secondhand smoke can put an adult nonsmoker at a slightly higher risk of lung cancer..." It does? I don't think so. Tell the Herald-Sun to check the facts and get other views instead of simply relying on one-sided press releases.
Sound off to the Washington Post about its coverage of the new secondhand smoke study (10/7/98) From the headline to the quotes, it leaves everything to be desired. More info on the study is below. Tell the Washington Post to check the facts and get other views instead of simply relying on Reuters robots who, apparently, can only process press releases. Make sure you include your name, address and a phone number. P.S.: Save copies of your letters. I have a feeling we'll be doing this more than once.
More details on the new secondhand smoke study (10/7/98) This data got a better massage than Sen. Chuck Robb (D-VA) did from Miss Virgina. [When Robb was accused of having an adulterous affair with the then-Miss Virgina in the 1980s, Robb denied having sex, only admitting to a "nude massage."]
New secondhand smoke study: More bad news for the anti-tobacco industry (10/7/98) Here's a preliminary analysis of the new environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) study from IARC. The results of the second largest ETS study (only 3 lung cancer cases away from being the largest) are: (1) No statistically significant association between lung cancer and ever exposure to spousal ETS (relative risk = 1.16, 95 percent confidence interval = 0.93-1.44) with "no clear dose-response relationship for cumulative ETS exposure; (2) No statistically significant association between lung cancer and workplace ETS exposure (RR=1.17, 95% C.I.=0.94-1.15) with only "possible evidence of increasing risk for increasing duration of exposure" -- a questionable statement given that the "possible evidence" is a trend analysis that only contains one statistically significant, but obviously cherry-picked, data point; (3) No increase in lung cancer risk for ETS exposures ending 15 years earlier; (4) No increase in lung cancer risk for "ever-exposure" to ETS; (5) No association between childhood exposure to ETS and lung cancer. I'd say these results contrast quite a bit with Bill Blot's editorial that "the inescapable scientific conclusion is that ETS is a low-level lung carcinogen."
Highlights from Endocrine/Estrogen Letter (10/7/98) The latest developments in the wacky world of endocrine disruption.
The Week That Was September 30-October 4, 1998 (10/7/98) The weekly updated from the Science & Environmental Policy Project.
Louisiana state climatologist doubts temperature-climate change link: "We've had warmer blocks of years in this century" (10/7/98) So says state climatologist Jay Grymes. "There is some evidence that recent years have been warmer when compared to the past 25 to 30 years. But when you look at the last 100 years, the present period is not as warm in Louisiana as it was during the 1930s and 1940s," Grymes said. [Source: Times-Picayune, 10/6/98.]
Burn cow manure: Prevent global warming and get $300,000 (10/7/98) Believe it or not, this is not the first link between global warming and bullsh*t!"
Devra Davis' study on sex ratios/endocrine disrupters unanimously trashed in medical journal letters (10/6/98) The reviews are in on Devra Lee Davis' claim that chemical exposures are causing an increase in girl births. Back to the endocrine-disruption-scare drawing board for Devra! E-mail your condolences to Devra!
Award from New Scientist (10/6/98) The Junk Science Home Page was chosen as Site of the Day for September 25 by the British magazine New Scientist. Thanks!
So much for science journalism at The Lancet! (10/6/98) Last August, The Lancet published a news report about the recent U.S. food safety report that said "In the USA, up to 9,000 deaths and 81 million illnesses each year may be caused by unsafe food." In a letter to the editor, I pointed out the quoted figures were misleading. The response from The Lancet was "...we feel that there was no error and no contradiction. We published the statistics given in the report about the worst case scenario." That was the point, though. The body of the report did not cite those statistics as reliable, even of a worst-case scenario. They were included only as part of a sensationalized opening statement in the report's Executive Summary.
"Study on secondhand smoke offers mixed findings" (10/6/98) Watch for the analysis of this study coming soon.
Enter the Epidemiologist or Exit the Fool? (10/6/98) In the first scene of the classic, kung fu movie Enter the Dragon, the kung fu master says to Bruce Lee "I see your talents have taken you beyond the mere physical level. Your skills are at the point of spiritual insight. Tell me, what is the highest technique you aspire to achieve?" "To have no technique," responds Bruce Lee. Along these same (but far less inspiring) lines, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held that a breast implant recipient's expert testimony was admissible even though no classical epidemiological studies supported the experts' causation conclusions. Apparently, the expert aspires to "no scientific method." The case is Vassallo v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 696 N.E. 2d 909 (Mass. 1998). [Source: ATLA's Law Reporter (October 1998).]
"Dietary Sources of Nutrients Among US Children, 1989-1991" (10/6/98) Here's the abstract for the new Pediatrics study that reports ready-to-eat cereals are a leading source of folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and zinc for kids. Somehow, this is a "bad" thing. Let me know when they make a broccoli spear my 7-year old will eat.
Climate model shown to be substantially wrong (10/6/98) A report in the Journal of Climate (Vol. 11, 1307-1326) shows that the current June-August temperature calculations by the National Center for Atmospheric Research climate model are more than two standard deviations away from reality for over three-quarters of the Earth's landmass. According to a report in the World Climate Report (9/28/98), "Statistically speaking, the model temperatures over 75 percent of the land areas are wrong by accepted mathematical criteria." Click here for the deviations mapped across the world.
New study is more bad news for the EMF industry (10/6/98) A new study in the Archives of Environmental Health (September/October 1998) -- no paragon of science -- reports no association between breast cancer and: holding a job with high exposure to magnetic fields; living in a home heated electrically; sleeping with an electric blanket; or living within 500 feet of an electricity transmission line or substation. Conducted by researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health, the study included 80 percent of the all reported breast cancer cases diagnosed from 1983 to 1986 among permanent residents of the five upper Cape Cod towns.
"Blowing smog: U.S. EPA unfairly puts onus on Midwest" (10/6/98) The Columbus Dispatch says "While the East may congratulate itself for a political victory, promises for cleaner air may not be fulfilled... Eastern states have grossly exaggerated adverse effects [of ozone transport] for their own political purposes...What's really going on is a shifting of blame and costs." Compliment the Columbus Dispatch on its fine editorial.
"The Browner perspective: The U.S. EPA administrator explains sustainable development, ozone emission rules and Clinton's environmental achievements" (10/6/98) In this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interview, Carol Browner says "We had over 80 studies that informed our decision on the two new health-based standards [for ozone transport]. I haven't seen any peer-reviewed, published study that refutes that evidence." She must have missed EPA's own OTAG report that stated "Statistical correlation analyses of the regional ozone pattern suggest ozone transport distances of up to 300-500 miles, but it is not clear to what extent this actually represents transport of ozone and/or precursors, or is a meteorological correlation." Tell the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that its reporters should be better prepared for interviewing Carol Browner -- a cutthroat politician for whom no lie is too big too tell.
"Autos, 'Big Oil' Get Earth-Friendly: The Bottom Line is Green" (10/6/98) I see RED.
"Safety of anti-theft devices probed" (10/5/98) South Jersey News follow-up to this story.
"Semiconductor Plants Aren't Safe And Clean as Billed, Some Say" (10/5/98) Will Silicon Valley's deep pockets get picked by thieving trial lawyers using junk science to exploit the desperately ill?
"Smoking and babies" (10/5/98) Nigel Hawkes, one of my favorite science writers, takes on the recent Nature Medicine study (not) about maternal smoking and cancer risk in children.
"Statistical malpractice" (10/5/98) This excellent letter-to-the-editor of Chemical and Engineering News starts with secondhand smoke and ends with the Hudson River-PCB controversy.
"EPA air rule takes aim at NOx emissions" (10/5/98) C&EN's Linda Raber shows how to write a balanced piece on a controversial issue.
Should Stan Glantz be educating journalists? (Original post 9/30, Updated 10/5) [Click on "Current FACS Conferences"] The Foundation for American Communications' (FACS) mission "is to provide the knowledge and resources journalists and their sources need to effectively communicate information to the public through news." Supposedly toward this goal, FACS is holding a conference titled "Health Risks and Health Claims in the News and in the Courts," November 6-8 in Chicago during which anti-tobacco zealot and hypocrite Stan Glantz will be one of the featured speakers. Update: FACS has responded to several letters by saying the Glantz presentation will be balanced by the presence of Gary Black -- a financial analyst specializing in the tobacco industry for Sanford Bernestein & Co. Confused? Me too. Maybe it's because both Black and Glantz are in it for the money? Ask FACS how financial analyst Black balances junk scientist Glantz.
"A Call for More Science in EPA Regulations" (10/5/98) The title of this Science editorial is quite misleading. It should be titled "A Call for More EPA Science and Regulation." And who wants that? (Except, of course, the federal grant-grubbing parasites.) In the central example of his vision, the author writes: "For instance, chlorine used to disinfect drinking water sources is now known to generate byproducts that appear to have negative health effects. Finding ways of delivering drinking water that minimize both microbial and chemical risks requires a much better understanding of the health effects of each." What? What chemical risks? The only "chemical risks" associated with drinking water are those dreamed up by EPA and its cadre of junk scientists. Microbial risks? Certainly over the last 90-plus years, we've learned that chlorination just can't be beat as a disinfectant. Chlorination is one of the greatest public health measures of all time. Tell Science that government science is one disaster area that doesn't need any more money.
"Leukemia facts" (10/5/98) Not. This Columbus Dispatch article titled "Leukemia facts" is pretty misleading. The origins of leukemia remain a mystery. Sure, leukemia incidence has been statistically associated with a number of risk factors. What cancer hasn't been? But avoiding those risk factors probably will have little to do with whether you get leukemia. Although leukemia is rare, it is not rare enough. Tell the Columbus Dispatch that what's needed is better treatment, not more media hand-wringing over unknowable risk factors.
"Arrest that freon" (10/5/98) "The bad news is that rather than renounce the Montreal Protocol, people like Mr. Gore are talking about using it as a model for reductions on so-called greenhouse gases said to contribute to global warming."
"Hard NOx" (10/5/98) "To the extent that a smog problem even exists, the new regulations will have little effect. Instead, the EPA has engineered a regulatory scheme to punish energy use. This befits an administration that regards fossil fuels as evil."
Japanese parliament passes legislation to implement Kyoto Protocol (10/5/98) Japanese public policy commits hara- kari?
Congress and endocrine disruption (10/5/98) It her Daily Environment Report article (10/5) about today's release of the EPA plan for the endocrine disrupter testing program, Sara Thurin Rollin writes "The conclusions in a popular book, Our Stolen Future, and laboratory reports that suggested a link between certain pollutants and chemical-mediated effects led Congress in 1996 to direct EPA to create a screening and testing program." But none of the laboratory reports have been replicated by independent laboratories -- replication being a characteristic of "science by the scientific method." And Our Stolen Future was discredited almost immediately upon publication. What a basis for a government program that will impose millions of dollars of costs!
"Judge mulls class-action status for casino smoking suit" (10/4/98) "[Casino workers] claim they have suffered physical and emotional consequences from breathing second-hand smoke from gamblers." Emotional consequences, Gracie?
"Of Mobile Phones and Morbidity" (10/4/98) The International Agency for Research on Cancer gears up for research on cells phones and cancer -- despite a lack of evidence over the last five years indicating such an association exists.
"Carbon Monoxide and Hospital Admissions for Congestive Heart Failure: Evidence of an Increased Effect at Low Temperatures " (10/4/98) Not really. This quote didn't make the abstract: "Our findings could also be explained by unmeasured covariates that are correlated with temperature. These might include seasonal changes in diet, temporal variation in rates of respiratory infection, or increases in physical stress during the winter months. Without a meaningful surrogate for these exposures, we cannot exclude these covariates as an explanation for the findings of this study."
"Prevalence of Elevated Blood Lead Levels in an Inner-city Pediatric Clinic Population " (10/4/98) More than two-thirds of the study patients had a blood lead level of 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood. But so what? When I grew up in the 1960s, the allowable blood lead level was 60 micrograms per deciliter of blood. The lead poisoning industry keeps ratcheting down the allowable lead level to keep itself in business.
Milk damages kids' hearts? (10/4/98) The October 1998 Nutrition Action Health Letter -- i.e., rag published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a.k.a the "food police" -- spotlights CSPI's "1 percent or less" campaign. CSPI says "Children get more heart-damaging saturated fat from milk than any other food..." I'm not quite sure what children have had their hearts "damaged" by milk, but I am sure their brains will be damaged by CSPI nonsense. Tell the food police to keep their junk science out of our schools.
"Teen males who smoke risk sperm damage; Study links birth defects to tobacco" (10/4/98) Based on 25 subjects from Czechoslovakia? Given the hundreds of millions of parents who have smoked over the last several decades, you'd think if there was a problem it would have showed up somewhere else before.
"Antarctica's shrinking ice cap has scientists concerned" (10/4/98) "Scientists aren't sure what is causing the melting of the southern ice cap, but they assume global warming -- partly the result of human activity -- bears some of the responsibility." [Emphasis added to ridicule article.] Send your comments to the Orlando Sentinel.
"Global Warming Study of East End Sparks Debate on Sea Rise" (10/4/98) Another article spawned by the National Environmental Trust video on sea-level rise.
"GAO Debunks DOE 'Five-Lab' Study" (10/4/98) "A Department of Energy study that concluded that the U.S. can cut carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels at no net cost to the economy has limited utility, according to a review by the General Accounting Office."
Congress limits EPA spending on global warming (10/3/98) House and Senate negotiators have eliminated all but $10 million of President Clinton's request for $116 million to fight global warming. But EPA's budget was increased $197 million, from $7.4 billion to $7.6 billion. I dunno... lose $106 million here, pick-up $197 million there... seems like EPA has out-foxed the Republican Congress again. [Source: Greenwire, 10/2/98.]
"Sickened by secondhand smoke" (10/3/98) The top anti-tobacco dude in Maine gets into a lather over secondhand smoke. You know what to do. Send your comments to the Bangor Daily News.
Kudos to Kerry Thompson (10/3/98) Here's Kerry's letter-to-the-editor of the Deseret News about this article.
"NFPA Tells Government Meeting That Accurate Food Safety Statistics Are Vital To Developing a Food Safety Strategy" (10/3/98) Click here for what the NFPA is referring to.
"U.S. may help Vietnam overcome effects of defoliant" (10/3/98) As predicted, Vietnam is looking for U.S. cash under the guise of Agent Orange-caused disease.
Time to look for another planet? (10/2/98) A new report from the World Wide Fund for Nature says the human population will use up available natural resources in 50 years. Where have I heard that one before?
"Yet another war against gun owners" (10/2/98) "Has medical science come to this? The New England Journal of Medicine has published an opinion poll, of all things, and held it up as proof that Americans really don't trust themselves around guns." E-mail your compliments to the San Diego Union-Tribune for publishing this fine editorial.
"Hormone chemical 'panic' is 'unjustified'" (10/2/98) "At a meeting in Karlsruhe organised by the German Chemists' Society (GDCh), a working party said that potential human health effects from endocrine disrupters was being 'overestimated.'"
New Book: Chemical Sensitivity: The Truth About Environmental Illness. (10/2/98) Here's British Medical Journal review of this book. The BMJ says the book "will be useful to those interested in these bizarre 'diseases.'"
"Washington, 20 years after Love Canal" (10/2/98) Love Canal gadfly Lois Gibbs spreads her nonsense about Love Canal, dioxin and brain cancer in this Seattle Times op-ed. Ask the Seattle Times if it would accept an op-ed arguing that the world is really flat.
"Mugged by EPA" (10/2/98) The Indianapolis Star editorializes that EPA administrator Carol Browner rejected a "realistic" plan to reduce smog submitted by the Indiana Governor and opted instead for a "one-size-fits-all approach that will cost twice as much, or more, yet bring little additional improvement in air quality."
Inflated hurricane wind speeds? (10/2/98) "Wind speeds in Hurricanes Bonnie, Earl and Georges were often overstated by the National Hurricane Center, according to a Clemson University researcher, who worries that bad science will lead to future disasters.
Congressional testimony: No danger from consuming fish with typical levels of mercury (10/2/98) So testified Gary Myers, a professor of neurology and pediatrics at the University of Rochester, before the Senate subcommittee on Clean Air, Wetlands, Private Property and Nuclear Safety. As one of the authors of a recent Journal of the American Medical Association study on mercury consumption, (8/26/98) Myers testified "it would be unwise to limit fish consumption without convincing scientific evidence that exposure at the levels seen with fish consumption is harmful." Based on the hearing, Congress may increase oversight of EPA's efforts to regulate mercury. [Source: Daily Environment Report, October 2, 1998.]
EPA gets a taste of its own medicine in Denver Superfund cleanup (10/2/98) Residents near the site of an EPA Superfund cleanup are upset that the cleanup remedy selected by EPA is on-site burial of radium contaminated waste. Bill Yellowtail, the EPA Region VIII administrator, said at a press conference that "No one is at risk because this groundwater is not used as a drinking water source" -- an amusing defense since EPA usually laughs loud and long in the faces of businesses, municipalities and other Superfund parties who try to use the same reasoning. But hypocrisy is a way of life for senior EPA management. [Source: Daily Environment Report, October 2, 1998.]
"Ice Cores' Study Point to Warming" (10/2/98) Without evidence, a University of Colorado climatologist likens a "sudden" 20 degree warming 12,500 years ago to the alleged climate change caused by fossil fuel burning.
"Leveling on Sea Level" (10/2/98) The Christian Science Monitor panics about rising sea levels based on a video from the National Environmental Trust -- the same group behind efforts to intimidate New York Times' health and science reporters Jane Brody and Gina Kolata. Ask the Christian Science Monitor if it will be adding the word "junk" to its name.
"Damage to ozone layer slows; Effort to halt CFC use works, report says" (10/2/98) Notice how none of the "ozone depletion" success claims are ever based on evidence of less "ozone depletion." Claims are always based on lower levels of CFCs. But what should we expect when, for the most part, CFCs have been banned?
"Fervid loss of cool on global warming" (10/2/98) "Given his very bad temper, folks have been wondering when Al Gore and his environmental soulmates at the White House were going to get nasty with people who don't share their view of global warming."
"Asbestos to Tobacco: Cough Up" (10/1/98) "Asbestos manufacturers are in hot pursuit of the tobacco industry, but it's not clear they have the lungs to catch it."
"EPA ruling means cleaner air for New Jerseyans" (10/1/98) No it doesn't. Ozone transport is a myth. If New Jersey wants "cleaner" air, it should clamp down on New Jersey sources, not those in the Midwest. Disabuse the Bergen County Record of the notion of ozone transport.
"Heated dispute; Scientists grapple with conflicting measurements but agree that Earth's temperature is on the rise" (10/1/98) See if you detect an undercurrent of global warming advocacy in this article by Eric Niiler of the San Diego Union-Tribune. E-mail your comments to the San Diego Union- Tribune.
"Politics of nuclear waste" (10/1/98) Nuclear power is a fine idea for many reasons, not the least of which is reduced air emissions. But tell the Bangor Daily News that there is no science behind this op-ed's claim that "100,000 Americans a year die prematurely from air pollution." During its 1997 air quality standards rulemaking, the EPA was forced to reduce its own mortality estimates from 20,000 to 15,000 -- numbers that are still a figment of the agency's imagination.
"Earth's Alarm Calls For Deeper Values" (10/1/98) The left continues its cynical effort to garner the support of organized religion. Ask the Christian Science Monitor if honesty is a "concept of God."
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