It s Whacko Wednesday: Two more asinine chemical scares

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At ACSH we shout a lot. Sometimes even at each other. But most of the time it takes the form of shoutouts to like-minded writers and websites (and there aren t that many) that believe that real science, not agenda-driven nonsense, should actually be used to guide public health policy.

Today s shoutout #1 goes to the prolific (and brilliant) Trevor Butterworth an outspoken (and then some) critic of junk science, especially intentional junk science.

Butterworth s new Forbes.com piece, BPA: The Scientists, The Scare, The 100-Million Dollar Surge lacks nothing except subtlety. When you read it (and this is highly recommended) this will become patently obvious.

Butterworth s article is lengthy and damning, going into details of how the science of the plastic component BPA has been thoroughly compromised and corrupted by malfeasance.

While we can t do it justice, here are a few quotes from his Forbes piece:

Conspiracy, incompetence, a federal agency out of control. A recent Mother Jones story by Mariah Blake indicts the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a threat to science and public health over the way it s conducting research into bisphenol A (BPA), the never-ending chemical scare story of the 21st century. Raise the alarm (again), stir the pot (again), marshal outrage (again).

The alarm over BPA has, since it began in 1998, been a perpetual spin machine. On PBS Frontline in 1998, [Dr. Frederick] vom Saal claimed his research on BPA would overturn everything we thought we knew about toxicology.

ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom notes, vom Saal s pet theory is called the low dose effect, and to some extent he was right. It did overturn the science of toxicology for those desperate enough to make up some sci-fi nonsense to explain how low doses of a chemical could be harmful when high doses were not. It makes about as much sense (and is similar in some ways) to homeopathy another ridiculous concept.

He continues, Steve Milloy s JunkScience.com site has adressed the BPA/vomSaal issue numerous times, and although it pains me to say this, he may be more derisive than I am a truly disturbing thought on many levels. His 2012 commentary is a must for those of you who really want to know what goes on behind the scenes.

And, speaking of JunkScience, let s give them a second shoutout. They are also calling out Ben and Jerry s about a similarly silly story about dioxin in their ice cream. They have been involved in a long-running fight with the company about bad science and hypocrisy. Their most recent piece, Quick everyone, you can get your free dose of dioxin skewers Ben and Jerry s and their chemical hysteria critics for their Free Cone Day, which runs this week. Today s piece also provides links all the way back to 2000, when JunkScience started talking about this inane subject.