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Here are two facts about plastic recycling. Chances are that you know one of them and that you don't know the other. I sure didn't before today.

WHAT YOU PROBABLY KNOW

There are many different classes of plastic, each of which has very different physical properties depending upon the chemical structure of the monomer(s) (1) used to make them. Plastics can be hard or soft. Light or heavy. Inert to environmental degradation or readily consumed by bacteria. But before recycling plastics they need to be sorted. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is what is used for bottled water, requires different conditions for recycling than polycarbonate plastics, most commonly used for lining food containers. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC, water pipes,...

In many ways, science is easier than public policy. The reason is because the former is simply a matter of uncovering facts, while the latter involves not just facts but legal, ethical, and financial considerations as well.

This is one reason why there is such a fierce debate over vaccination. The science is crystal clear: Vaccines work and herd immunity is an effective way to protect society from infectious disease, implying that everyone who is healthy should be fully vaccinated. But implementing that policy is less straightforward.

For instance, is it ethical to force people to be vaccinated? (In my opinion, yes. New York City...

December 24, 2007 : "Dangerous" Toys, Snacks and Races; Common Sense on Food Contamination

• Quote to Note: “Industry scientists and many federal regulators say these exposures are harmless.” – Amy Schoenfeld in the New York Times about chemicals in everyday household products.

• Before you start enjoying your holidays, an article in New York Times wants you to worry. The article’s does not caution about lead paint...

organicfood Photo credit: buickgirl1986.wordpress.com

What do toenail clippers, submarine hulls and waffle irons have in common?

None are organic.

Yet.

If this sounds stupid  (if?), check this out:OrgPopTartsNo,  I'm not making it up. Three foods, which don't exactly represent the epitome of health and wellbeing — "Pop Tarts," Oreos, and Kraft Mac and Cheese — are now organic. It's not that any of these tasty delights, when eaten...

Every now and then, people screw up. Who amongst us has never made a mistake? Even the American Council gets it wrong now and then. Yet, we are nothing if not humble. Since it's World Homeopathy Week, this provides the prefect opportunity for some self reflection and humility. Is it possible that we have been unfairly criticizing homeopathy and homeopaths all this time? 

In the interest of keeping an open mind, I decided to search for evidence that might indicate that I may have been wrong all along. It was a humbling experience, but I'm glad I did it. I feel so...... cleansed. I was dumbfounded by what has been in front of my face all this time that I failed to see. Clearly, I was so arrogant and unshakeable in my belief system of traditional science that I did not give...

1. Washington Post published an op-ed with a provocative titleScientists know plastics are dangerous. Why won’t the government say so? - so it seems strange that with "Scientists know" as the first two words no editor asked the writer to include at least one scientist. 

But they didn't. You can further imagine my disappointment when instead of it being a legitimate journalist the op-ed writer turned out to be anti-science hatchet man Paul Thacker, whose middle name could be changed to "Retracted" after his conspiracy rants have been pulled...

All the news that's fit to scare. That was the thrust of this weekend's New York Times article by Charles Duhigg entitled "Toxic Waters: Debating Just How Much Weed Killer Is Safe in Your Water Glass."

As president of the American Council on Science and Health, I have been following environmental and health media articles for some three decades -- seeing how they measure up in terms of "honors" for exaggerated risk, biased reporting, misrepresented science, and pure sensationalism. The Duhigg article is clearly a contender for the all-time worst.

Duhigg argues that the widespread use of the herbicide atrazine is polluting our supply of drinking water and putting us all -- but...

For all you juvenile idiots who follow me because I'm one of you, it's your lucky day. We hit gold today. No way I could let this baby go by without bagging it. So, regardless of how many balls I'm juggling at once, I am compelled to sack whatever else I'm doing and get to work because this article is gonna be a (family) jewel.

First, the title I used is intentionally confusing. I admit it. "Soaking Pecans In Pool Chemicals," a more accurate, but far less entertaining title, would have been more honest. But admit it - the only reason you're reading this is that you have an image in your head of some fool soaking Mr. and Mrs. Bojangles in a tub of bleach. Sorry. I'm not that lewd. OK, that's a lie. I really am. The following should provide...

MORNING DISPATCH 11/19/08: Dour Docs, Cancer Causes, Dire Diabetes, Smoke Scams, and Dementia Dissension

U.S. faces mounting diabetes cost
A new study estimates that diabetes will soon cost the United States over $200 billion per year. "Diabetes is very expensive and the cost will only increase as more people develop the condition," Dr. Ross says. Dr. Whelan agrees, "The coming wave of diabetes cases, which is linked to increasing obesity rates, is going to be overwhelming for our healthcare system."

Dr. Kava points out that the increase in Type 2 diabetes will reach many corners of medicine: "It's going to affect the number of kidney dialysis patients, the number...

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 2.47.57 PMThe bad news is that people keep consuming products that they have been manipulated into believing will help them. But, not only do these products fail to meet expectations, sometimes the exact opposite is true harm instead of help.

The good news is that even though people have been harmed or killed by dietary supplements, the products and the companies that sell them have taken so many hits in the news, that people are starting to pay attention. And are learning what the industry is really about. Perhaps some good will come from this.

And, just like...