Search

CBS' 60 Minutes may be known for its investigative news, but on Sunday it failed to thoroughly examine the claims against phthalates, a group of chemicals that help to make plastic flexible. Sunday's segment perpetuates baseless allegations against these everyday chemicals, creating unfounded health scares in homes nationwide.

While the report gave ample attention to the hypothetical theories and flawed studies, the report lacked a proper review of the overwhelming scientific evidence that proves these compounds are not harmful when used as intended. The real story is that these products do not pose a risk of harm for anyone not for adults, not for children. Various phthalates have been thoroughly studied by multiple governments and independent, accredited evaluators...

CBS’ 60 Minutes last night aired a report on phthalates, widely used to soften plastics, and the coverage was about what ACSH staffers expected from the news team that brought you the 1989 Alar scare.

“We were very disappointed by the distortion of the science of phthalates,” says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. “The fact that they would even do a segment on chemicals with such a long safety record is shameful fear-mongering, and then they gave an inordinate amount of time to Dr. Shanna Swan, who has made a career of attacking phthalates. They did get a few quotes from American Chemistry Council President Cal Dooley, who...

After unsuccessful attempts in New York state and Philadelphia, the prospect of a soda tax still refuses to die. The New York Times does not expect that to change: This soda debate is probably going to be around for some time. Cities and counties, desperate to find money to pay for schools and roads, are starting to see a soda tax as a way to raise revenue. The tax also appears to be one of the most promising ways to attack obesity, given the huge role sugary drinks play in the epidemic.

The allegedly huge role of sugary drinks as a cause of obesity is largely based on flawed data and advocacy pieces rather than sound science, says ACSH's Dr....

An ABC News report asks if the American Heart Association should be endorsing the Nintendo Wii video game system with its Healthy Check logo. Games like Wii Fit are supposedly designed to help video game enthusiasts stay active.

I bought a Wii system for my parents for their anniversary to help them get more exercise, says ACSH's Jeff Stier. My mother emails me two or three times a day to tell me how much she uses it. She even beats me in the boxing game. Of course, this just applies to games like Wii Fit, specifically designed to get users more active and improve balance, as opposed to, say, the Mario Kart driving game. And like any technology, it can be used and...

An article in The New Yorker by Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Jerome Groopman quotes ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan extensively. In the article, titled "Plastic Panic: How worried should we be about everyday chemicals? Dr. Groopman examines the charges against BPA and phthalates and concludes the evidence of their health consequences is "far from conclusive."

Dr. Whelan s comments included:

People fear what they can t see and don t understand. Some environmental activists emotionally manipulate parents, making them feel that the ones they love the most, their children, are in danger. Whelan argues...

A disturbing article in The Huffington Post highlights the campaign by a Haitian group that has committed to burning some 60,000 sacks of vegetable and corn seeds that Monsanto plans to donate to impoverished farming communities.

In mid-May, the Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP) issued an open letter calling Monsanto s plans to donate seeds to Haitian farmers a very strong attack on small agriculture, on farmers, on biodiversity, on Creole seeds ... and on what is left our environment in Haiti. In the letter, the MPP expresses special concern about the import of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

However, Monsanto in an effort to...

The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs recently approved a bill requiring the VA to expand veterans' access to chiropractic care at VA medical centers the House is expected to vote on the bill this week.

According to ACSH s Jeff Stier, taxpayers should be concerned because they may soon have to pay for chiropractic care for veterans a troubling development, since overall, chiropractry is not part of mainstream medicine.

Stier has previously written about efforts to spend federal tax dollars on unscientific medical treatments. Last November, in a New York Post op-ed titled...

As the New York City Health Department celebrates what it calls its most successful nicotine patch and gum giveaway since the program s inception in 2003, ACSH staffers question how effective the campaign is in actually enabling smokers to quit.

"It all depends on how you define 'success'," Stier says.

In boasting that the program has helped 70,000 smokers quit the habit, the Health Department is claiming a 35 percent cessation rate, which ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross says seems slightly inflated. Dr. Ross further questions the efficacy of nicotine patches and gum in allowing individuals to abstain from smoking and suggests that smokeless nicotine products would be a better alternative: The Swedish data on...

A study published in the journal Pediatrics demonstrates that the recommended vaccine schedule for young children does not pose a health threat, despite fears that Reuters says led some parents to skip recommended vaccines out of fear of autism, for instance, and ¦ choose to space out shots.

Health experts such as Dr. Michael J. Smith, one of the study s researchers and a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky, as well as ACSH trustee Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert and chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told...

MSNBC s Nightly News last night devoted a short segment to an Extreme Eating list of high-calorie restaurant meals compiled by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). While the reporter acknowledges that each restaurant also offers lower-calorie options, he concludes by saying that the more calorie-dense options are a weighty issue for Americans, as this country s obesity rates just keep rising.

Obesity rates are not rising, says ACSH s Jeff Stier. That s not to say that obesity is not a serious problem or that we shouldn t do something about it, but for the media to continue to...