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Walgreen Co. yesterday reversed its decision to sell a home genetic-testing kit that is not approved by the FDA after the agency pursued the test’s manufacturer to determine why they assumed they do not require approval.

“I was surprised that Walgreens had the audacity to even try to sell these,” says Dr. Whelan. “I would think the FDA would be right on their heels. I don’t see what good could possibly come of a home genetic test.”

Dr. Ross agrees: “There aren’t that many diseases linked to particular gene expressions, and such complex genetic testing requires a professional genetic counselor to be worthwhile, so scattershot testing like this is unlikely to be helpful. And it’s very...

A year ago, a Texas State University professor wrote for The New York Times that meat from free-range pigs had caused a surge in food-borne illness. Dr. James McWilliams neglected to mention that the basis of his article was research funded by the National Pork Board, and he was excoriated as an industry shill.

Recently, he wrote for The Atlantic: Lost in all the huffing and puffing over my omission, however, was the gist of the underlying question itself: to what extent are animals raised under free-range conditions prone to contracting diseases that can affect humans? ¦ [A]s these very recent...

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s proposal to ban BPA from baby bottles and plastic sippy cups was met with doubt from a member of the state Public Health Council, which would have to approve the prohibition. Dr. Alan Woodward told The Boston Globe, “My concern is that we may find out five to 10 years down the line that compounds in the replacement are more toxic.”

“This is the first time I’ve heard any sort of acknowledgment of the fact that replacements for BPA could end up causing harm,” says Dr. Whelan. “Any replacement wouldn’t have the 50-year safety record that BPA has.”

Stier is skeptical: “...

Reuters Health reports, “Everyday exposure to perchlorate, an industrial chemical found in drinking water and a range of foods, may not impair thyroid function in pregnant women, a new study suggests.” The CDC study found perchlorate in the urine of all 2,820 subjects tested.

“Perchlorate is found in all groundwater, as it is residue of various industrial processes,” explains ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross. “Doctors use perchlorate in the treatment of overactive thyroid, since it does interfere with thyroid hormone production at sufficiently high doses. You could say it’s an actual endocrine disruptor, in that case. However, the amount found in drinking water is five orders of...

ACSH staffers can’t help but notice that the list of reviewers enumerated in appendix A of the President’s Cancer Panel’s recent report seems unbalanced.

“The report was an incredible distortion of cancer epidemiology,” says ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. “One of the panel’s recommendations to avoid cancer is to take your shoes off before you go into your home. It’s absolutely insane. So it’s no surprise to see how many of the people who contributed their input to the report are affiliated with radical ‘environmentalist’ groups like the Silent Spring Institute, the Breast Cancer Fund, and the Environmental Working Group.

“Even the American Cancer Society (ACS), which is generally mute on debates like these,...

New York City officials will be investigating claims that the soil of Brooklyn’s Red Hook Park is contaminated with 110 times the EPA-established limit for the concentration of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which the state claims is a result of effluvia from the nearby, now-defunct manufacturing plant of plastics-additive maker Chemtura Corp.

“There are two questions here that, of course, no one has thought to ask,” says Dr. Ross. “First, has anyone measured PCB levels in anyone in Red Hook to see if they are being affected by this? More importantly, has anyone said there’s an...

The President's Cancer Panel's recent report linking cancer to environmental chemicals is a scientific travesty based on a number of false premises, ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan argues in an article for NRO's Critical Condition blog.

Among other things, the panel assumes that the goal in cancer prevention should be to eliminate all exposures to toxins and carcinogens but that's impossible, Dr. Whelan says. "Safe, natural foods come replete with toxins (such as the traces of naturally occurring arsenic in every potato) and 'carcinogens,' defined as chemicals that cause cancer at high dose in laboratory animals (like the safrole in black pepper or the...

Dr. Whelan took to the airwaves last night to discuss fluoride on the international Manchester Radio Online.

“Manchester Radio Online is aired all over the world,” says Dr. Whelan, “so the show has a lot of exposure. I offered a sound defense of water fluoridation to prevent tooth decay, and also to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Water fluoridation is not only safe, it is probably one of the top three public health measures of the last century. Still, you should have seen some of the hateful emails that came in response to this discussion.”

“We thought the issue of water fluoridation was settled, with no more controversy,” says ACSH’s Jeff Stier. “But you have to remember that the people who still speak out against it are not representative of mainstream views. They...

The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer completed a decade-long analysis of over 10,000 cell phone users and could not find a clear link between cell phone use and brain cancer risk.

“This is the largest cell phone study of its kind ever done, and the researchers said we still can’t be sure whether or not using a cell phone increases the risk of brain cancer,” says Stier. “How many studies that show no such link do we need before we can be sure? It’s a health scare that just won’t die.”

Dr. Whelan adds, “It doesn’t help at all that the President’s Cancer Panel gave so much attention to the rumor that cell phones cause cancer.”

The Washington Post reports, “In a direct response to Michelle Obama's declared war on childhood obesity, an alliance of major food manufacturers on Monday pledged to introduce new, more healthful options, cut portion sizes and trim calories in existing products.”

“Reducing the calorie content of food is a good idea, but I suspect they’re not doing it the way we would,” says Dr. Whelan. “Using food technology like fat and sugar substitutes provides high-tech ways of making food taste good with fewer calories. The reality is that consumers are very sensitive to changes in their...