Hospital, heal thyself

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Leave it to Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, director of the Children s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai, to once again needlessly scare the American public. In a recent address at the New York Academy of Science, he urged people to avoid contact with everyday items such as beauty products, meats, pesticides, and plastics lest the chemicals from these items lead to deformed babies, neurological problems or chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Contact with these alleged toxins before birth through adolescence can produce profound and lasting effects on the human body, he said.

Along with his colleagues, Dr. Landrigan used the symposium as an opportunity to promote the Safe Chemicals Act, which was proposed by Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and aims to amend the current Toxic Substances Control Act with more onerous regulations. The panel also encouraged everyone to avoid contact with chemicals emitted from smoke, to replace plastics with either glass or stainless steel, to limit their meat consumption, to use pesticide alternatives, and to avoid products that have a fragrance in their list of ingredients.

Upon hearing these recommendations, ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan says, It never ceases to amaze me that Mount Sinai continues to promote such junk science advisories. People look at Mount Sinai as a pillar of sound science and medical care it s sad to see that their Children s Environmental Health Center puts that reputation to shame. ACSH s Dr. Glibert Ross adds, Fragrances? Really? The only fragrance I d be concerned about is the stink emanating from junk science factories, which is unfortunately what these Mount Sinai folks are pitching now.

Instead of harping on the supposed dangers of chemicals such as PCBs, phthalates, and parabens, Dr. Landrigan should be focused on real health dangers, says ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom. He should be out there telling employees to wash their hands more frequently and to get their flu shots instead of worrying about shampoo bottles.