The Times spreads chemophobia

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For the same reason that he doesn t write about Ming Dynasty pottery, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof should not write about toxicology, says ACSH's Dr. Josh Bloom in a post on Medical Progress Today. We all have our own areas of expertise, and for Kristof, these include politics, foreign affairs, and economics. But readers have come to trust Kristof s opinions, and when he writes about a topic in which he has no expertise such as chemicals and pharmacology readers tend to continue to trust his conclusions.

This unfaltering faith can seriously mislead readers, though, and Dr. Bloom uses a recent column by Kristof on the supposed dangers of BPA lining in food packaging as a prime example:

Kristof "takes a cue from [his] experts," but I have to wonder about his choices. One of them, Dr. John Peterson Meyers, the chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences is so afraid of BPA that he and his family stopped buying any canned food and refuses to touch receipts (many of which have traces of BPA) from gas stations or ATMs. Kinda makes me wonder if you could screw with his head by giving him a whole bunch of really bad birthday gifts and include the gift receipts, knowing he couldn't return any of them.

Read Dr. Bloom s piece in full here.