A reader asked us to examine a recent opinion piece full of spurious claims about the weed killer glyphosate. The story further confirms that newspapers cannot be trusted to faithfully report the facts about pesticide safety.
Chemicals & Chemistry
Introducing the ACSH Science Dispatch Podcast — the weekly show where we separate science fact from science fiction.
Crappy studies on the alleged harm of artificial sweeteners are about as common (and valuable) as a wad of gum stuck under a school chair. Yet, here's another claiming that consumption of artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame and acesulfame-K, are associated with cancer. Shall we dismantle it? I say yes.
Just like a trip to the dentist, it's time for The Dreaded Chemistry Lesson From Hell. This time we'll discuss the element xenon. Also, Dr. Charles "Chuckie D." Dinerstein gets his comeuppance. And a mini-book review. No extra charge!
Why are catalytic converters becoming an endangered species? Because they contain three valuable metals - platinum, palladium, and rhodium - making them worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars, stolen or not. It's the rhodium thieves are after. It's very rare, very expensive and has some strange properties. Could there be a better time for a Dreaded Chemistry Lesson from Hell? I think not.
The anti-biotech group GM Watch recently touted the results of a new study as evidence that the EPA has underestimated the risk posed by the weedkiller glyphosate. It's an illustration of what goes wrong when you force data to conform to a predetermined conclusion.
There are chemistry teachers all over the U.S. that know this simple truth: chemistry matters in everyday life. Nothing demonstrates this principle more than when you look back at the lead water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Alternative health guru Joe Mercola claims there's been a massive increase in autism cases since the 1960s and that the weedkiller glyphosate is a "key culprit." He's wrong on both points.
It is impossible to estimate how much time, money, and effort has been wasted trying to find a real health issue with bisphenol A (BPA). Yet, JAMA published a study that is so obviously amateurish that it makes you wonder if the reviewers were comatose. Of course, "BPA increases deaths" made for great headlines, even though it does nothing of the sort.
The saying that you can buy pretty much everything online these days is truer than you might think. Check out this craziness.
We hope you enjoy this – probably your last – Thanksgiving. Because, as you will see, you'll be scarfing down carcinogens with every bite. Don't believe me? Ask the Environmental Working Group. They'll be only too happy to tell you how these trace chemicals will kill you. For the rest of the ACSH staff, so long. It's been nice knowing all of you.
Pfizer's Paxlovid looks very promising in fighting COVID. It also provides a good opportunity to learn about how enzyme inhibitors work. For masochists only.