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...

A shorter article derived from this "e-monograph" appears in the September/October 2003 issue of Skeptical Inquirer, with the title "Energy, Homeopathy, and Hypnosis in Santa Fe."

Todd Seavey is Director of Publications at the American Council on Science and Health ( and Editor of His research for this project took place under the auspices of a Phillips Foundation journalism fellowship. The opinions expressed are entirely his own.

Table of contents



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...

Vegetarianism has taken on a "political correctness" comparable to the respectability it had in the last century, when many social and scientific progressives advocated it. Today, crusaders extol meatless eating not only as healthful but also as a solution to world hunger and as a safeguard of "Mother Earth." The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) aggressively attacks the use of animal foods and has proposed its own food-groups model, which excludes all animal products.

I disclaimed vegetarianism after many years of observance. Although the arguments in favor of it appear compelling, I have learned to be suspicious, and to search for hidden agendas, when I evaluate claims of the benefits of vegetarianism. Vegetarianism is riddled with delusional thinking from...

ACSH/Staff, Oprah/Cranks, Meat/Breasts, HRT/Lungs, Sun/Skin, Spice/Island

by Elizabeth Wade

ACSH welcomes two new staffers

We'd like to extend a warm welcome to the two newest members of the ACSH team: art director Anthony Manzo and research intern Curtis Porter. Curtis will be taking over as writer of Morning Dispatch this week, as I prepare to leave to start my Fulbright scholarship in Mexico.

Could watching Oprah be dangerous for your health?

ACSH staffers were impressed by an article in Newsweek criticizing Oprah for allowing junk science to be espoused on her popular television show. "When she invites guests like Jenny McCarthy on to talk about the supposed vaccine-autism link, Oprah doesn't provide any balance," says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth...


By Lester Grinspoon, M.D.

Cannabis was first admitted to Western pharmacopoeias one and a half centuries ago. In 1839, W. B. O'Shaughnessy at the Medical College of Calcutta observed its use in the indigenous treatment of various disorders and found that tincture of hemp was an effective analgesic, anticonvulsant, and muscle relaxant.(1) Publication of O'Shaughnessy's paper created a stir within a medical establishment that at that time had access to only a few effective medicines. In the next several decades, many papers on cannabis appeared in the Western medical literature. It was widely used until the first decades of the twentieth century, especially as an analgesic and hypnotic. Symptoms and conditions for which it was found helpful included...

By Geoffrey Kabat

Originally published as Kabat, Geoffrey. “Who’s Afraid of Roundup?” Issues in Science and Technology 36, no. 1 (Fall 2019): 64–73. Reprinted with permission.

In May 2019, a California jury awarded $2 billion to a husband and wife who claimed that the weed-killer Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The defendant in the suit was Bayer AG, which had recently acquired Monsanto, Roundup’s manufacturer.

Crucial in determining the judgment was Alameda County Superior Court judge Winifred Smith’s denial of a request by Bayer’s lawyers to share with the jury the US Environmental Protection Agency’s recent determination that the active ingredient in...

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...

November 16, 2007: No Industry Experts Allowed -- They May Eat iPods

-- Quote to Note: "So the immediate takeaway is, don't eat your iPhone or your earbuds?" --CNN American Morning co-anchor John Roberts, about reports that iPods contain phthalates and bromides.

-- News broke yesterday that Target caved in to activists, taking certain children's products off its shelves because they contain polyvinyl chloride plastic, commonly referred to as PVC or vinyl. While such tiny quantities of these "toxins" will not actually cause harm to children, ACSH staffers said they are astounded how quickly Target acquiesced to scare tactics.

And Target is not the only...

January 12, 2009

PB & Salmonella, Genes and Cancer, Fat and Poverty, Smoke and Alzheimer's, FDA and Gardasil

By Elizabeth Wade

Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter

A large institutional-sized container of peanut butter contaminated with salmonella has been discovered in Minnesota, and public heath officials suspect that the strain is linked to an outbreak that has sickened nearly 400 people in forty-two states since September.

"So far, the outbreak seems to be linked to only really big containers of peanut butter that are used in institutional settings," explains ACSH's Dr. Ruth Kava. "The contaminated peanut butter doesn't appear to have been distributed to grocery stores" -- so if you bought a jar of peanut butter at your local market...