DISPATCH 6/20/08: Natural, Biotech, Asthmatic, Clustered, Immune

Debating the definition of natural
A New Jersey judge recently rejected the claim it was deceptive to use an "all natural" label on products containing high fructose corn syrup. "What does 'natural' mean?" asks ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. "It's a fascinating topic." A consumer filed the lawsuit against Snapple for labeling its iced tea and juice drinks as "natural" when they were made with high fructose corn syrup, which the plaintiffs called a "highly processed sugar substitute" created through "enzymatically catalyzed chemical reactions in factories...

1. Chemicals in mosquito spray

1431624_77269957Despite an increase in mosquito-borne diseases, many people are terrified of Anvil an effective killer of adult mosquitos, but completely harmless to humans.

People are are also very worried about the effect of the spray on the environment. Taken together, there is often substantial protest when any kind of spraying is proposed.

Origin of the scare:

Nowhere was this more apparent than in Ocean Beach, one of 17 summer communities located on Fire Island, a barrier beach off the coast of Long Island, N.Y.

As an...

October 22, 2009

ACS, NY Post, ACIP, Dioxin
By Curtis Porter

Brawley and JAMA Against The World

Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society (ACS), is catching some heat after his recent statement in an interview with the New York Times conceding that breast and prostate cancer screenings have historically been oversold by physicians and misunderstood by patients and the media.

"The strident response underscores the fact that it was brave of Dr. Brawley of ACS to come forward and admit this even though it wasn't politically correct and caused a backlash among people in his own organization," says ACSH's Jeff Stier.

"One well-known expert on breast cancer was quoted as saying, in effect, that the more screening you have...

February 13, 2009

Victories for Vaccines, Soda, Smokers, Cold Sufferers, Eggs, and Vacationers

Elizabeth Wade

Court rules in favor of vaccine safety

ACSH staffers are pleased that a special federal vaccine court followed the science and ruled against parents claiming that vaccines caused their children's autism. "The studies have been quite definitive on the fact that childhood vaccines have nothing to do with autism, and the three-judge panel commonly referred to as the 'vaccine court' seemed to exercise a very thorough analysis of the topic and came to the right conclusion," says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross.

ACSH's Jeff Stier notes, "We shouldn't rely on the courts to be the arbiter of science, but this decision is certainly good news. People who are...

The line between deliberately manipulating a story or poorly reporting the facts is perilously thin, and often based on the subjectivity of the reader.

During Sunday’s Academy Awards presentation, the United States’ ‘paper of record’, the New York Times, launched an advertising blitz positioning itself as the highbrow ethical responder to the spate of so-called ‘fake news.’ “The truth is hard…to find…to know,” the add proclaimed, somberly.

It’s a powerful message, one that the public and the media should reflect upon—including the leadership at the Times itself. That a journalist...

December 10, 2007: A Nice Note of Support, a Less Than Nice Flu Season

- Quote to Note: "I've been a constant reader of [ACSH's website], loving every minute, learning valuable information, finally agreeing with something I read about science/health, and rolling my eyes at the rabid misinformation out there with the knowledge of how much this costs me and ignorant or scared people everywhere." --Anthony, a fan of ACSH.

- A big story this weekend was about big kids -- well, the fear of childhood obesity, that is. An editorial in today's New York Times called an amendment that would curb junk foods sold in elementary and high schools "worthy but imperfect." We agree more with the latter adjective.

One objection we have is that the...

Letter from the Editor It has been over 18 months since our last ACSH News, released winter 2002. A constrained budget continues to limit and delay the release of ACSH News. But as you will see inside, ACSH remains as prolific as ever. We hope that you are...

MORNING DISPATCH 9/12/08: McDonald's, FDA, Botox, Helmets, Drinking Water, and Religious Diets

McDonald's counters attacks on its role in obesity epidemic
Peter Bush, the CEO of McDonald's Australia, spoke out against the idea that fast food is the main cause of rising levels of childhood obesity. "He points out that a majority of children's meals do not come from McDonald's and that lack of exercise also contributes," says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. ACSH's Dr. Ruth Kava points out that even though the causes of obesity are complex, "the media, especially in the U.S., tend to blame obesity on food intake only -- especially fast food."

"While the...

MORNING DISPATCH 9/5/08: McCain vs. Pharma, Science vs. Cancer Claim, plus Smoking, Shots, and Obesity

McCain's anti-pharma stance is misguided
ACSH staffers were extremely disappointed by John McCain's promise to "take on the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries" if he becomes president. "It's offensive and preposterous to equate an industry that kills over 400,000 Americans annually with an industry that saves countless lives," says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan.

McCain has a contentious history with...

January 7, 2008: A Long Way, Baby, Albeit While Coughing

- Quote to Note: "A man may take out a woman who smokes for a good time, but he won't marry her, and if he does, he won't stay married." --A 1914 Washington Post editorial.

- Did you know that it used to be illegal for women to smoke? Neither did several ACSH staffers. In the early part of the twentieth century, women could get expelled from college for smoking, and policemen would warn a woman if they saw her taking a puff on the side of the road. Smoking cigarettes used to be taboo for women.

So what changed? The advertising and marketing of cigarettes did.

Edward Bernays, in particular, created a campaign to start women smoking -- and it worked wonders. One example...