Scientific Group Reviews the Greatest Unfounded Health Scares of Modern Times

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New York, NY June 1998. In response to unprecedented demand, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) has updated and expanded its special report Facts Versus Fears, a concise and compelling rundown of the greatest unfounded health scares of the last 40 years.

Since its founding in 1978 ACSH has been dedicated to separating real, proven health risks such as cigarettes from unfounded scares based on questionable, hypothetical, or even nonexistent scientific evidence. Facts Versus Fears describes and discusses the most noteworthy health scares of the past five decades; among them are the 1959 pre Thanksgiving toxic cranberry panic, the 1969 banning of the artificial sweetener cyclamate, the 1989 frenzy over the use on apples of the growth regulator Alar, and the cellular-phone alarms of the 1990s.

The health scares selected for inclusion in this third edition of Facts Versus Fears were nominated by ACSH's board of over 250 scientific advisors. Each scare is discussed in terms of the charges leveled against the substance or product in question; the reactions of the public and the media; the scientific basis if any for the scare; and the actual facts as to what risk again, if any ever existed.

According to Simona Kwon, ACSH's coordinator of epidemiology: Facts Versus Fears does not attempt to present an exhaustive, in depth analysis of each scare. The report is written for consumers; it is designed to give them a brief history of each scare and make them aware of the common themes that underlie all of these unfounded scares.

As ACSH President Dr. Elizabeth Whelan notes: We hope this report will make the American public more aware of the hallmarks of these recurring, hypothetical health scares. We hope, too, that the next time a scare appears on the horizon, each consumer who reads Facts Versus Fears will be able to put the facts and the hype into proper perspective.