Chemophobia

Veteran New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof fancies himself an expert in chemistry and toxicology. Chemists and toxicologists disagree.
NYT's Nicholas Kristof sure knows how to live harder, not smarter. He's been avoiding chemicals and living clean — as he puts it — for several years. And yet, the results from an at-home detox kit that tested his urine for chemical exposure came back less than stellar. 
Foodborne illness happens; it's one of the hazards of eating. But when a company makes a concerted effort to claim its food is holy and righteous – while everybody else serves poison – management shouldn't be surprised when public backlash is severe. It's entirely predictable, self-inflicted and deserved.  
Given how well women propagated the species despite all kinds of past health scares, should today's mothers panic about eating a piece of sushi? Well, yeah, though they needn't worry about coffee or BPA, despite litigation groups like Center for Science in the Public Interest long insisting those things are ruining families.
The Environmental Working Group wants your money. And they're very good a getting it by scaring people about nothing. It should be no surprise that the group's latest fundraising letter is big on fears – but super small on science. Here's what we found.
Our society is woefully illiterate on scientific matters. Yet instead of taking the opportunity to educate customers about the benefits of food science, some companies have chosen to cash in on public ignorance.
Several years ago, a survey of professional toxicologists revealed that 79% of them believed that the Environmental Working Group and two other organizations overstate the health risks of chemicals. That's why EWG is beloved by activists but detested by scientists.
Spring is just around the corner, and with it comes another growing season. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help lower calorie intake; reduce risks for heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes; and protect against certain cancers. With all these benefits, why do some consumers choose to avoid produce? Approximately three-quarters of people in the U.S. don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
From telecommunications and transportation to healthcare and entertainment, cutting-edge technology serves society well. But not when it comes to food. Oh no. We don't want technology anywhere near that. Neanderthal know-how is perfectly fine, thanks. What's behind that bizarre thinking?
Anyone who searches long enough can find that pretty much everything has been linked to cancer. Bacon. Cell phones. Wi-Fi. Even looking at our video correspondent, Ana Dolaskie. At some point the insanity has to stop. Unfortunately, we have yet to reach that point. 
There's a long history of ridiculous fearmongering -- centering on BPA, MSG, Alar, DDT to name a few -- by environmental activists masquerading as health experts. Today, the whipping boy that takes the brunt of the unfounded chemophobic assault on science is the herbicide glyphosate.
The language of science has been hijacked. Those who are looking to make a quick buck (or in the case of the organic industry, 43 billion bucks) have no qualms about twisting the definition of highly precise scientific terminology to suit their own profit-driven agendas. Here's a brief glossary of the some of the most commonly misused scientific terms. (Note: the health food and fad diet industries are among the biggest abusers.)