Lois Swirsky Gold

An encomium to Dr. Bruce Ames, overdue and well-deserved, in TheScientist. Dr. Ames is best known for inventing and modifying the Ames Test for mutagenicity, utilized as an indicator of a chemical s propensity for causing cancer.
In his Oct. 30 radio address, President Clinton announced efforts to protect Americans from "some of the most dangerous chemicals ever known." He incorrectly encouraged us to believe that very low exposures to certain chemicals are increasing our risk of cancer and other diseases. He pointed his finger squarely at industry for releasing chemicals like dioxin, PCBs and mercury into the air we breathe and the water we drink. He then promised to protect families from these chemicals by requiring industry to tell us when they release even a tiny amount of certain chemicals. Is the president advancing public health? Is he "empowering" us? No. The president's speech is unscientific rhetoric that promises to protect us from inconsequential health risks.