food and nutrition

Physicians and scientists at the American Council on Science and Health reported today that some much-touted concerns about the safety of commercial baby food are, in fact, unwarranted.

In a newly released booklet, Feeding Baby Safely, the ACSH panel urged parents to forgo unfounded fears and to focus instead on scientifically based practices that ensure the safe feeding of babies and toddlers. The ACSH scientists noted that "either commercial or homemade baby foods can be appropriate and healthful for the infant" and that the "safety and nutritional value [of baby food] depend to a large extent on parents' following safe preparation and handling guidelines."

One common and serious threat to babies' health is bacterial contamination. Because of this danger, the proper...

Both commercial and homemade baby foods can be safe and nutritious if used appropriately. To provide their infants with a healthful diet, parents need to choose foods wisely, introduce them correctly, and follow appropriate safety precautions:
To prevent burns, always check the temperature of heated foods before serving.
Use safe food-handling procedures to prevent the introduction and growth of disease-causing bacteria.
Never feed unpasteurized apple juice, juice blends containing...

After the Liggett Group announced a settlement last month of the Medicare reimbursement suits brought by 22 states, a press release from the American Cancer Society reflected the near universal response of the public health community: This action "will significantly advance [our] goals for curtailing the death and disease caused by tobacco use." After all, the health advocates argued, not only was Liggett breaking ranks with the industry by admitting that cigarettes cause disease, are addictive, and are peddled to kids, but Liggett was also planning to pay compensatory damages to the states.

Have we all died and gone to smoke-free heaven? Let's get real.

First, we health advocates have a long history of declaring victory over tobacco only to wake up later to find we've...

In March 1996 a 20-year-old Long Island, New York, college student died after ingesting eight tablets of Ultimate Xphoria, a dietary supplement whose main ingredient is the stimulant herb ephedra, also called "ma huang" and "Chinese ephedra." Practitioners of Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) and traditional Chinese medicine have used this herb for millennia to treat respiratory ailments. And a health food industry representative has stated that every day roughly five million Americans consume ephedra products. Should ephedra dietary supplements be reclassified and regulated?

"Ecstacy" Not Ecstasy

Promoters claim that ephedra preparations marketed under such names as "Cloud 9," "Go For It," "Herba Fuel," "herbal ecstacy ¢ ," and "Up Your Gas"...

Vegetarianism has taken on a "political correctness" comparable to the respectability it had in the last century, when many social and scientific progressives advocated it. Today, crusaders extol meatless eating not only as healthful but also as a solution to world hunger and as a safeguard of "Mother Earth." The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) aggressively attacks the use of animal foods and has proposed its own food-groups model, which excludes all animal products.

I disclaimed vegetarianism after many years of observance. Although the arguments in favor of it appear compelling, I have learned to be suspicious, and to search for hidden agendas, when I evaluate claims of the benefits of vegetarianism. Vegetarianism is riddled with delusional thinking from...

The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) today opposed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s proposed changes to ambient air quality standards for ozone and its adoption of a standard for "fine" particulate matter (referred to as "PM2.5"). ACSH President Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan declared that "there is no public health benefit to be gained from the proposed stricter standards. Furthermore, adoption of the proposed standards will place severe economic burdens on hundreds of counties throughout the U.S. and on U.S. industry burdens that will be passed on in the form of higher costs to consumers without any identifiable benefit in return."

In letters to the EPA, ACSH scientists took issue with the agency's reliance on studies that are inadequate for showing a causal...

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Jon Franklin has spoken out to condemn the scare tactics practiced by today's journalists. In a pulls-no-punches lead story in the latest issue of Priorities, the quarterly magazine of the American Council on Science and Health, Franklin exposes what he terms the "Poisons of the Mind"-those "lies, illusions and poison paranoias" that so often grip our society." ACSH President Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan has remarked: "Jon Franklin's panoramic essay is therapy for technophobes and a treat for skeptics."

"What we are seeing," Jon Franklin says, "in the press and in our society, is nothing less than the deconstruction of the Enlightenment and its principle institution, which is science."

In "Poisons of the Mind" Franklin exposes...

The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) has announced the formation of an affiliate group, the New York City Advisory Council on Health Priorities ("Advisory Council"). This affiliate, funded by grants from two private New York City foundations (The Bodman and J. M. Foundations), will focus on public health issues of particular importance to New York City.

ACSH President Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan noted that "the Advisory Council will take ACSH's traditional role of providing scientifically sound yet accessible information on a wide variety of public health issues." The Advisory Council will monitor health threats (real or perceived) within the five boroughs of New York City and will be available on short notice to provide accurate scientific information to the media,...

Scientists associated with the American Council on Science and Health today rejected as alarmist and unscientific the claims espoused in the new book Toxic Deception: How the Chemical Industry Manipulates Science, Bends the Law, and Endangers Your Health. The book was written by reporters Dan Fagin and Marianne Lavelle and the Center for Public Integrity.

Toxic Deception claims that our daily use of "a panoply of synthetic substances is helping to drive up rates of cancer, sterility, chronic fatigue, and many other diseases and illnesses." But the book fails to document scientific evidence that any of this is actually occurring. That failure is not surprising, because, as the Center for Public Integrity admits, "we are not scientists . . ." Nor, for that...

Scientists associated with the New York City Advisory Council on Health Priorities, a new affiliate of the American Council on Science and Health, reject a recent call by the NY Green Party to ban milk from cows injected with rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) from New York City schools. But-as ACSH President Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan points out-NY Green's claims are in opposition to the actual facts on rBGH milk.

rBGH is a hormone that increases milk production in cows. The Green Party's claims are based on distortions of the scientific facts on rBGH milk safety. The party's position on rBGH offers sweeping, alarming (and scientifically insupportable) statements and in fact reflects a much broader political agenda than a simple concern with milk in schools. The Green Party...