Dr. Josh Bloom on Science 2.0: EWG's Little Site Of Horrors

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Josh primary 10-13We have to wonder if Environmental Working Group is having a really bad fiscal quarter because their website has become littered with even more anti-science, scary chemical verbiage than usual. It's clear they know what their donors think about actual science and evidence, since now they are going after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for its "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) classification, which applies to food additives that can't harm anyone.

They say that all of those career scientists at the FDA are wrong and political science majors who became policy directors at EWG are right because their "Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives" insists the FDA is allowing scary chemicals that cause "reproductive and developmental effects seen in animals".

What compound are we talking about? Chocolate. It contains theobromine, as does cola, tea, and coffee. It isn't just chocolate they are going after, since they have apparently run out of other products to demonize. They also say bottled water must be dangerous because it has Tylenol in it, even if the detectable level is 1 part per trillion.

People who understand science and health understand that technology is so good now that almost anything can be detected, even 10 or more orders of magnitude below no effect levels. As Dr. Josh Bloom, Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at The American Council on Science and Health, notes on Science 2.0, the level that excites EWG fundraisers is one drop of water diluted into 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Even homeopathy charlatans think that is far too diluted to be meaningful.

"There are two possibilities: 1) They are lying; 2) They are incapable of making any rational judgments about anything even vaguely related to chemical toxicity," says Bloom. To the evidence-based world, Environmental Working Group probably can' t tell the difference by now.