Environmental group tries to save face, but falls on it

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We at ACSH have written countless pieces on the absolute garbage science surrounding BPA a chemical that has been in use for more than 50 years, and is used in the manufacturing process of various plastics.

So, it is only natural that we give a huge shout-out to Trevor Butterworth, a journalist and master junk science (especially statistics) debunker, who has an impressive pedigree of editorial and media exposure.

In his latest Forbes.com op-ed entitled Taxpayer-Funded Journal Walks Back BPA Cancer Claim After Statistical Meltdown, Butterworth eviscerates the authors of a paper from Tufts University by pointing out how they used faulty statistics and questionable wording to conclude that BPA causes cancer. Which it doesn t.

ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom points out, They didn t quite get away with it. These guys were forced to retract statements and conclusions from a paper published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. And they managed to do a splendid job of making themselves look foolish.

For example, as Butterworth says, First, Bisphenol A a chemical widely used in food packaging for safety reasons caused breast cancer in rats at human relevant levels, according to a study published in the taxpayer funded scientific journal, Environmental Health Perspectives. Now, according to the same study, it doesn t.

Using statistics to promote an agenda is hardly new, but the Tufts group takes this to a whole new level. Although in the retraction, the authors tried to sleaze their way out of trouble by using weasle terms such as potentially, suggests, and may, Butterworth holds their feet to the fire :Saying something is cancerous when it isn t at least according to your study is not exactly a trivial error, and it can only be explained by editorial incompetence, or editorial pressure to publish only positive results.

We strongly suggest that you read his eye-opening op-ed. Even the most jaded of you may be surprised.