RE: Your Segment on PCB's in Anniston, Alabama - 11/10/02

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Producers "60 Minutes"
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New York, NY 10019

Dr. Elizabeth Whelan
President, ACSH

RE: Your Segment on PCB's in Anniston, Alabama - 11/10/02

The CBS/60 Minutes segment which aired on November 10, 2002 - citing public health risks of environmental exposure to PCBs - was completely lacking in scientific merit.

Contrary to Dr. Carpenter's assertions, there is no credible evidence that environmental exposure to PCBs - at levels comparable to the exposure in Anniston - poses any known risk to human health. The mere presence of measurable levels of PCBs in blood is not by any means a surrogate for current or future ill health.

Not only is there no convincing evidence that background PCB levels in the general population cause ill health of any type, but even the very high levels to which some occupational groups have been exposed have not resulted in increased cancer risk, "endocrine disruption" or intellectual deterioration in children exposed to PCBs in the womb. Thus the charges made in your segment that PCBs do have these negative health effects are unfounded.

You quote Dr. Carpenter to the effect that "there is absolute evidence that they (PCBs) cause cancer in animals, and ....there is evidence in humans consistent with the conclusion that they cause cancer". Actually, when I asked a scientist at the National Cancer Institute recently if the NCI knew of any evidence showing that PCBs cause human cancer, the answer was "no". And Carpenter's statement that "PCB exposure increases the risk of almost all major diseases" is nonsense from a medical and scientific point of view, and would be laughable if it wasn't delivered with such serious intent.