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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...

Over the course of the last decade, treating breast cancer with brachytherapy has become an increasingly common alternative to mastectomy and external radiation. This method, which involves placing a tiny radiation pellet inside the breast and adjacent to the cancer, irradiates less breast tissue and typically allows for a much shorter course of therapy. However, a population-based study just published in theJournal of the American Medical Association suggests that brachytherapy may not be a suitable option for older women with breast cancer.

To compare the effects of brachytherapy with the more conventional method of...

The 2011 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami were devastating to the residents of Japan. However, a U.N. scientific body s investigation adds to the evidence that radiation exposure from the series of meltdowns and explosions at the Fukushima nuclear power plant did not compromise residents health.

The doses we have seen from the screening of the population ¦are very low, Wolfgang Weiss, chair of the U.N. Scientific Committee on the effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), told the press. He also noted that, of the few workers who had received high doses of radiation, the initial medical follow-up was OK. Weiss attributes the minimal health impact...

Science writers have long suspected that the anti-GMO movement is linked to the anti-vaccine movement. Indeed, both are predicated upon one of the biggest myths in modern society: "Natural is better."1

In an interview with Science, Seth Mnookin recalled how a public health official warned him that anti-vaxxers were particularly prominent in locations that had a Whole Foods. Mr. Mnookin concluded, "It's those communities with the Prius driving, composting, organic food-eating people."

So, that's why it wasn't surprising when March Against Monsanto, a group that opposes GMOs, became a...

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...

The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) today announced the addition of nine distinguished scientists, physicians, and policy experts to its Board of Directors. Directors are responsible for the overall direction of ACSH, such as setting organizational policy and overseeing the executive staff.

The new directors are:

Terry L. Anderson, Ph.D., M.S.
Executive Director
Political Economy Research Center (PERC)
Bozeman, MT

Dr. Anderson's career in law and environmental economics enables his providing insight to ACSH on such issues.

Elissa P. Benedek, M.D.
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

Dr. Benedek is a psychiatrist particularly interested in risk assessment and women'...

October 1, 2007: Meat, Booze, Movies, and Toothpaste

-- Quote to Note: "That precedent could embolden other groups campaigning to rid movies of portrayals of gun use, transfat consumption, or other behavior that could be proved harmful to the public." --New York Times article on movie studios taking smoking out of films rated G, PG, or PG-13.

-- For the second time in four days, ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan appeared in the op-ed section of the New York Post, which has the seventh-highest circulation of any daily U.S. newspaper. Today's article, on "Booze and Breast Cancer," criticized the coverage of a study suggesting that drinking...

Sometimes people claim that nuclear radiation is uniquely scary because you can't see it, smell it, or detect it with any of the human senses, as though "ordinary hazards" were not so sneaky. We're even told that a single gamma ray can kill us--a statement that affronts both science and common sense. Like all such claims, we need to examine this one in light of real-world experience, not by the exchange of uncheckable rumors.

Let's look first at other, non-nuclear, hazards that surround us daily. How about germs that fill the air when people around us sneeze, cough, or just breathe? How good are we at detecting germs? From birth to death, we are continuously immersed in germs, but healthy bodies protect us from harm. We don't need to see them. Similarly, we 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...

red blood cells:sickle

Sickle-cell disease, or SCD, is a hereditary (genetic) aberrancy among Africans and people of African descent. About one in 500 Afro-Americans have the condition. Normal hemoglobin, which is essential for oxygen transport via the red blood cells, is coded for by 2 hemoglobin-A genes, so normals are AA.

credit (left): oncofertility.northwestern.edu

But a new, small study from the University of Illinois reports on the amazing success among a small group of SCD adults with only minimal chemotherapy- and radio-therapy preparation for stem-cell transplantation.

First...