Chemophobia

If there is a more obvious case of bad science, and its impact on human health, we d like to see it. Because it turns out that DDT, the evil chemical blamed by Rachel Carson in her 1962 book Silent Spring for thinning of bird eggs, does no such thing. And the consequences of this error are tragic one million deaths per year, mostly in Africa. This abomination was not helped by the publication of a 2013 paper by Hindrik Bouwman and colleagues in which they once again claimed that DDT causes thinning egg shells.
Hank Campbell of Science 2.0 points out the vast gulf between journalism and pandering in an irresponsible way merely to get attention, whatever the cost to sound science and public health. Same concern applies to phony research targeting chemicals.
The always dead-on Trevor Butterworth once again hit the bullseye in his op-ed in Forbes.com. And in his unique way, he makes the perennial critics of BPA a component of the plastic that seals canned foods look rather foolish.
The incomparable Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Director of McGill University's Office for Science and Society in Montreal, and ACSH friend, has published a very informative (and humorous) blog on HuffPost called A Treatment for Chemophobia.
Phthalates ¦. It s a good thing there aren t more days in the week, cause this could get awfully tiresome. But on March 21st (a Friday) those of us who were unfortunate enough to stumble upon Deborah Blum s piece A Plastic Threat to Male Fertility were treated to a world-classless tutorial on (of course) phthalates which come across as one of the most dangerous chemicals on earth if you believe any of this nonsense.
We at ACSH are sure that you have heard us comment repeatedly that nothing surprises us anymore, because we ve already heard it all. Yet, we must once again eat crow, because we STILL can t get this right. Just when we think (or are maybe even sure) we ve seen it all, it turns out we haven t. Not even close this time.
Steve Savage, an expert on agriculture, pesticides and GM foods has posted an intriguing piece on Science 2.0 (the same site on which ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom now regularly contributes). Savage has a lot to say. In his piece, entitled Our Farmers Get An A+ For Low Pesticide Residues, he discusses a recent report by the USDA which examined pesticide residues on food. From the USDA report: "The Pesticide Data Program provides reliable data through rigorous sampling that helps assure consumers that the produce they feed their families is safe."
Here we go again. Mixing science with politics. We all know how well that works. Yet, Paul Joseph Watson, writing on Infowars.com manages to do just this with a side order of chemical scares tossed in, and the result is predicable a big mess.
Dr. Josh Bloom on Science 2.0, February 19, 2014. Wherever he is, Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim a/k/a Paracelsus must be doing the Foxtrot in his grave. Because somehow a bunch of dopes have managed to correct something...[Read more].
There are chemical scares and there are chemical scares. Some are valid, some are not. Some are just plain crazy. Today we look at crazy. Parabens (derivatives of para-hydroxybenzoic acid, thus the name) have been used forever as preservatives. And they have been the target of consumer and environmental groups for almost as long. Which is almost comical, considering it would be difficult to find a safer groups of chemicals.
The way that some folks push all-natural foods, you d reasonably assume they contain no chemicals but boy would you be wrong!
Dr. Geoffrey Kabat, in his blog on Forbes.com, elegantly reinforces a core ACSH message: That poor science is the basis for many of the scares promulgated by various activist groups.