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This report was prepared by Krisitine Napier, M.P.H., R.D., a Cleveland-based health and science writer.

Wrapped in the same warm bundle of joy with a new baby is a tremendous responsibility. Helping an infant grow to be healthy and free from injury into the teen years is an awesome task. Feeding, vaccination and child-proofing questions take a back seat to increasingly complex issues.

The job of keeping your children healthy and safe is further complicated by myths and misconceptions about matters of safety and good health.

Should a parent be concerned about lead poisoning? What about pesticides in food or carcinogens in the water supply? What exactly should a parent be most concerned about?

The American Council on Science and Health acknowledges the...

This report was originally written by Alan C. Fisher, Dr.P.H., and Wendy Worth, Ph.D. It was revised by Debra A. Mayer, M.P.H., a Research Associate in Epidemiology at the American Council on Science and Health.

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The media and many advocacy groups would have the American public believe that the U.S. is in the midst of a cancer "epidemic." These groups perpetuate the myth that there has been a sudden surge in new cancer cases and deaths and that unknown environmental agents are the cause. The purpose of this American Council on Science and Health report is to provide current cancer...

Chlorine, one of the 20 or so elements found in abundance in all living things, is under attack. Environmentalists have tried to condemn many man-made chlorine products as hazardous and have called for the government to ban them. However, chlorine is not only a constituent of man-made products but also is found in abundance in nature in the same formulations. It could no more easily be banned than sunlight or aflatoxin, a natural carcinogen produced by mold.

Responding to the pressure of activist groups and a media barrage, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began to investigate the gradual elimination of chlorine use in certain industries. However, the exaggerated accusations regarding chlorine's damaging health effects do not stand up to scientific scrutiny. Prestigious...

Proposals for drug legalization are rooted in the belief that drug prohibition does not work. Legalization advocates point out that the prohibition of alcohol failed in the United States two generations ago. They argue that the use of illicit drugs is widespread despite prohibition and that the high costs and negative consequences of that prohibition ranging from costs for police and prisons to the loss of privacy caused by drug testing in many settings, notably the workplace are unreasonably high prices to pay for an ineffective policy. But while prohibition has not been the perfect solution to the drug problem, legalization will likely lead to increases in drug use, addiction and drug-related death.

The range of available options within both general categories, drug...

People afflicted with chronic, painful and/or terminal diseases are understandably eager to take all possible steps to alleviate their symptoms, cure their conditions or prevent recurrences. This anxiety makes them susceptible to the lure of so-called "alternative" or unconventional therapies that may not be effective or safe. One item in the health-food industry's array of unproved cancer/AIDS/arthritis remedies is shark cartilage.

Shark cartilage was first introduced to the public in the 1992 publication Sharks Don't Get Cancer, by I. William Lane and Linda Comac. The story received wide media coverage, especially after a shark cartilage report was featured on 60 Minutes in 1993. And the public has gotten the message: They're taking the pills and getting the...

The "War on Drugs" has never been a carefully planned public health protection initiative. Government officials did not enact current drug prohibition laws and enforcement policies because of any dispassionate, comprehensive review of drug hazards. Rather, hysterical fear-mongering has always been the real basis for the "War on Drugs."

Wars require propaganda to maintain them, and the drug war is no exception. The names of propaganda groups such as Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE)'s Drug-Free Schools and Communities Program imply that nothing short of a utopian outcome will suffice. Efforts to achieve a drug-free society through war have had less than utopian consequences, however; and those consequences are exemplified by the war's...

Magazines are the principal source of diet and nutrition information in the American home. They influence the health beliefs and behaviors of millions of consumers. In this and three past surveys since 1982 the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) has evaluated the nutrition articles of popular magazines for accuracy.

In this latest survey, ACSH found that only 12 out of the 22 magazines evaluated, were reliable sources of nutrition information. Alone in the BEST category was Cooking Light, scoring 91 out of a possible 100 points. Eleven others scored in the GOOD category. Nine scored in the FAIR category, reflecting the need for some improvement. Only one magazine, Cosmopolitan, rated in the POOR category, with an overall rating of 62.

ACSH...

More and more cases which require an understanding of complex scientific issues are being tried in the courts of this nation. Often the scientific questions that come before a court are on the cutting edge of scientific knowledge. In other cases, the tested theories of mainstream science are in conflict with the hypotheses of researchers who perhaps do not follow traditional methods. Juries and even judges may have a hard time distinguishing reliable expert testimony from pseudoscience; and even reliable research on mice or rats, for example, may not be relevant to determining the causes of human disease. The criteria for admitting scientific testimony into the courtroom has a profound effect on the outcome of trials involving some of the most contentious health issues of the day,...

Through the ages, conventional wisdom has been that the moderate intake of alcoholic beverages is consistent with a long and healthy life. Modern medicine became particularly interested in the effects of alcohol consumption on mortality in the 1950s and '60s when coronary heart disease became a major cause of death in the United States and in most other industrialized countries. Primarily from epidemiologic studies designed to identify factors associated with high death rates from coronary heart disease, it became apparent that these rates were lower among drinkers of small to moderate amounts of alcohol than among non-drinkers. However, these studies did not often explore effects of alcohol consumption on overall mortality rates. Specifically, it was not known whether increases in...

Reprinted with permission of The Wall Street Journal © 1992 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

In one of his final regulatory moves as president, George Bush last week capitulated to the strident calls of self-appointed consumer groups. In announcing the administration's decision mandating the relabeling of nearly 300,000 American food products, Louis Sullivan, secretary of health and human services, declared: "The Tower of Babel in food labels has come down, and American consumers are the winners." The media bought this line, hailing the move as a victory for consumers. The reality is just the opposite. consumers will be the losers, left paying the bill with no benefits to show for it.

The new labeling rules require detailed information about...