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The relationship between nutrition and health is complex and cannot be described in a set of simple rules. However, simplistic half-truths are dominating public perception and shaping policies concerning our food and the nature of our diet. For example, a recent ad campaign depicted saturated fats as poisons and accused several American food companies of poisoning America because they use tropical oils and beef tallow. The person behind this ad campaign has no formal training in nutrition or medicine, but has forced major companies to reformulate their products. As a most recent example, several fast food restaurants have changed the type of fat used for the deep frying of french fries. Until recently, they used a fat mixture containing vegetable oil and beef tallow. Now they use...

The best photos happen only when you take risks to get them, advises American photographer Ken Rockwell. But how much risk do selfies warrant?

The selfie has become a mainstay in social media culture, mentioned in nearly 400,000 Facebook posts and 150,000 tweets a week. But it seems that selfies may have deadly consequences.

Researchers last month went through three years of news archives, searching for any instances of selfie-related deaths. The study, conducted by the economics site Priceonomics,...

Asbestos has received much attention in the the media in recent years, leading the American public to fear asbestos as a significant cause of cancer and death. The object of this ACSH report is to examine some of the issues surrounding the health risks from asbestos and to offer a more scientific rationale as to what should be done about the asbestos present in our homes, schools and public buildings.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which, because of past commercial use, may be found in the ambient air in minute quantities, especially in urban environments. While the use of asbestos is now quite limited, it was for many years incorporated into thousands of common products. When asbestos is in place and in good condition, it does not pose a threat to health. Friable...

An Epidemic of Nonsense

During recent years, several hundred physicians have promoted concepts of allergy and immune dysfunction not recognized by the scientific community. Instead of testing these concepts with scientifically acceptable protocols, they have been marketing them to the public through books, magazine articles, radio and television talk shows and other channels. They have also been supporting lawsuits and workerÃs...


Beyond Beef alleges that cattle destroy the environment and cause world hunger. The scientific evidence does not support these views.With good management, cattle production need not ruin land or pollute the environment. Well managed grazing can actually improve the quality of pastureland and rangeland. Manure, when properly handled, is a valuable fertilizer rather than a damaging pollutant. The methane produced by cattle is only a very minor contributor to the so-called greenhouse effect. Cattle graze primarily on...

This report is a revised and updated version of a report on diet and cancer published by ACSH in 1985. The original report was written by Michael W. Pariza, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin, an ACSH Scientific Advisor. The new edition was prepared by Kathleen Meister, M.S., a free-lance medical writer and former ACSH Research Associate.

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The public has been bombarded with messages urging everyone to make substantial dietary changes to reduce their risk of cancer. Americans have been led to believe that the link between specific dietary factors and cancer is solid and convincing, and that dietary modification should be top priority in cancer prevention. In actuality:

  • Smoking cessation not diet is the...
This report was written for ACSH by Thomas Orme, Ph.D., the Washington, DC representative of the American Council on Science and Health and Paul Benedetti, a feature writer and investigative reporter with the Hamilton Spectator in Ontario, Canada, who has won awards from the National Council Against Health Fraud and the Canadian Association of Journalists.Edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D.

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In the United States and Canada, advocacy groups are fighting hard for recognition of "multiple chemical sensitivity" ("MCS") as a specific disease. These groups and the patients they represent are demanding that insurance companies...

Executive Summary

In early 1989, this country suffered the public relations equivalent of a natural disaster, one that most scientists now believe should never have occurred. It concerned a little-known chemical called Alar, [Alar is the registered trade name of the Uniroyal Chemical Company] a growth regulator that farmers had used successfully for over 20 years to improve the quality and appearance of apples. But a high-profile environmental group and a popular television show conspired to use Alar to set off a prime-time food scare. That chemical, said the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the commentator...

What Do the Recent Revelations Mean for Tobacco Control?

On February 28, 1994, Day One, a magazine show produced by ABC News, aired an expose on the tobacco industry's manipulation of nicotine. The segment (and a follow-up segment which aired on March 7, 1994) resulted from a year-long investigation by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Walt Bogdanich, a Day One producer and former Wall Street Journal reporter, and associate producer Keith Summa. The imminent airing...

As the world's population grows, the National Research Council estimates that the supply of food required to adequately meet human nutritional needs over the next 40 years will be equal to the amount of food previously produced throughout the entire history of humankind. To meet this demand, animal scientists must develop new technologies to increase productive efficiency (that is, the yield of milk or meat per unit of feed), produce leaner animals and provide increased economic return on investment to producers. During the past decade, scientists have developed many new agricultural biotechnologies that meet these goals. Their adoption will have many positive effects on food production, processing and...