Chemophobia

Maine s toxic chemicals likely to expand, based on science-free consumer concerns: hyper-precaution as usual. This goes way past even the hyper-precautionary federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Our regular readers will be forgiven if they are stricken with a case of deja vu right now. Over the past year, ACSH has weighed in often (and in no uncertain terms) about the foolishness of rejecting mosquito eradication programs in populated areas.
Twenty-five years ago ACSH produced a video, narrated by none other than the late, great journalist Walter Cronkite, to counter the widespread perception that Americans health was at great risk because of our use of synthetic pesticides and other chemicals.
Last year we at ACSH were instrumental in getting the village of Ocean Beach, located on Long Island, to overturn its decades-old chemophobic policy of refusing to participate in the mosquito control program that was routinely used in most of Long Island, as well as wide areas of New York City. We were prompted to do so after ACSH friend Jim Capuono a six year survivor of colon cancer nearly died from West Nile encephalitis, which he contracted from mosquitoes while vacationing in Ocean Beach in August, 2012.
Is there anything these days that doesn t get politicized? It would seem not, since the chemical BPA is the latest culprit An op-ed by Merrill Matthews in Investors.com, the online blog of Investors Business Daily would seem to say no. The piece entitled Left Wants EPA To Ban Chemical FDA Says Isn't Harmful describes how a common and harmless chemical bisphenol A, aka BPA has turned into a political rallying point for groups that have nothing better to do than to try to ban it. They may be misguided, but at least you have to give them points for determination.
Critics of aspartame (NutraSweet) who may be getting tired of trying (unsuccessfully) for 35 years to get the sweetener off the market may have something to look forward to. Yesterday the FDA approved advantame the sixth approved sugar substitute on the market today.
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.