Dr. Ross s media rounds

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When the Environmental Working Group this week declared much of American produce to be tainted with pesticides, ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross found more than a trace of irony in their latest, much publicized food scare. In his op-ed featured in yesterday s National Post, Dr. Ross observes that the source of a real public health threat the E. coli outbreak in Europe happened to come from an organic farm. Meanwhile, the EWG report ranked the 12 conventionally grown fruits and vegetables containing the highest levels of detectable pesticides although, in fact, even those highest levels are minuscule and pose no health threat to anyone. Dr. Ross writes,

The irony of the latest EWG food scare would warrant a self-satisfied smirk if it weren t so tragic...I do not maintain that organic methods are necessarily more dangerous than conventional farming with modern pesticides although that is a real possibility. But I do state that organic products certainly boast no health benefits, and are much more expensive.

If better safe than sorry is the new risk-averse mantra of anti-chemical activists and government regulators, why not take a long, hard look into organic methods?...Let s not be distracted by phony allegations of pesticide toxicity when such chemicals have harmed no one and benefited everyone...

Dr. Ross also speaks out against New York City Councilman Peter Vallone s (D-Queens) misguided call for banning fluoride in city tap water on the New York City News Service.

Mr. Vallone believes that the advent of fluoridated toothpaste renders water fluoridation instituted in New York City in 1965 obsolete and potentially hazardous. But when push comes to shove, says Dr. Ross, this argument does not stand up to the fact that there are many impoverished children who don t go to the dentist often, if at all. For these children, dental health is often neglected for other more pressing needs; ending water fluoridation would certainly pose a health threat to them. Many dentists and public health experts consider water fluoridation one of the top ten U.S. public health benefits. It has dramatically reduced the number of cavities since its implementation in the 1960s.