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The CDC reported yesterday that the vaccine against the 2009 H1N1 flu virus presented no greater threat than previous years seasonal flu vaccines in terms of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS).

The H1N1 vaccine is as safe as a regular flu vaccine, says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. It did not cause a significant increase in the incidence of GBS, which is an extraordinarily rare complication. The fear of the H1N1 vaccine is based on the fact that the 1976 H1N1 vaccine was linked to a slightly increased number of GBS cases, so the association got into the media zeitgeist and became the subject discussed last year.

ACSH staffers cringed last night as the first hour of CNN s Toxic America report broadcast its message that trace levels of environmental chemicals are causing myriad disease in America, from cancer to diabetes and more.

It was worse than I could have imagined, says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, who was interviewed for tonight s conclusion of the two-part series. The most shocking part of it was that they recruited people from certain towns who thought that they were harmed by chemicals, and brought them all together to talk about how dangerous these substances are.

ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross agrees: Their segment about so-called toxic towns was bizarrely unscientific. When a physician bills himself as an expert and gathers people in a room who believe they were sickened...

ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan is among the scientific experts who contributed to the "Second Opinion" feature on the FDA s Bad Ad program in the Manhattan Institute's Medical Progress Today. She wrote:

Ultimately, encouraging colleagues to report on colleagues is unprofessional and can only foster adversarial relationships between physicians and pharmaceutical companies. Instead, why doesn't the FDA try training a small group of doctors and paying them a modest honorarium to monitor ads?

If you enjoyed ACSH s Jeff Stier s contribution Wednesday to...

ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan appeared last night on the second installment of CNN's special about chemicals, "Toxic Childhood," countering assertions that environmental chemicals are among the main causes of disease and death in children.

Dr. Whelan said CNN placed her in a tough spot: How do you go up against parents who appeared in the previous segment who claim, emotionally, that their daughter died of cancer because of exposure to trace level environmental chemicals?

The show also had her debating Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working group, which left Dr. Whelan wondering, What is a plant scientist doing talking about the causes of human cancer? The rest of the show was absolutely horrifying. I cannot believe its advice on cancer prevention included...

A Canadian study appearing in the current issue of The Lancet suggests that a low-dose Avandia-Metformin cocktail could reduce the risk of Type II diabetes by 60 percent with significantly fewer side-effects, but ABC News reports that it is already under fire by long-time pharmaceutical critic Dr. Sidney Wolfe.

Dr. Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research group, is calling for an end to Avandia clinical trials, arguing it is increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross counters, “This is a well-controlled study with incredible reductions in the progression of diabetes. These...

boosts your child's immune systemOnce again, the Federal Trade Commission has reprimanded Kellogg’s, this time for advertising that their Rice Krispies possess the ability to “support your child’s immunity.” Yesterday, the cereal company agreed to follow stricter advertising provisions.

According to Kellogg’s, their cereal boosts children’s immune system by providing 25 percent of the government's recommended daily value of antioxidants and vitamins. ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross is skeptical, wondering, “What...

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Philip Morris USA and RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. are suing New York City for displaying graphic point-of-sale health warnings about smoking. Citing violations of their First Amendment rights and preemption by federally mandated warning labels, Philip Morris and RJR are calling for an end to the graphic campaign, which features such images of cancerous lungs and decayed teeth.

ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, however, is not convinced that these graphic ads actually motivate people to give up cigarettes. "I read a study published some years ago suggesting that higher anxiety over graphic...

On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency held a stakeholders phone conference announcing a draft document on the toxicology of formaldehyde inhalation and exposure.

The 1043-page draft was created in light of public fears of formaldehyde levels found in FEMA trailers that housed Hurricane Katrina survivors. The EPA briefly summarized the draft by correlating a 1 in 1000 risk of developing cancer (within a lifetime) with inhalation of air containing 10-20 parts per billion of formaldehyde, but did not suggest a causal relationship.

The following day, however, The Times Picayune in New Orleans ran a story announcing that “...

Jeff Stier topples straw man in Capitol Hill
ACSH’s Jeff Stier reports from the road: “I’m in Washington D.C., meeting with potential members of our Congressional Sound Science Caucus, among other things. In USA Today there is a point-counterpoint that really illustrates the need for a sound science caucus, and it’s a bit strange. The issue is: ‘Do you really know what’s in that dietary supplement?’ They’re talking about how Congress is considering revising the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health Education Act (DSHEA) as part of the food safety legislation that the Senate is taking up later this month.

“The...

Sunday’s New York Times included a front-page article about the health toll of obesity for pregnant women and their children: “About one in five women are obese when they become pregnant … And medical evidence suggests that obesity might be contributing to record-high rates of Caesarean sections and leading to more birth defects and deaths for mothers and babies.”

“The consequences of obesity in pregnancy and childbirth are not news to us,” says Dr. Whelan. “Nonetheless, this report was frightening, and they didn’t even mention the fact that obesity seems to increase the risk of infertility, so it is a major...