Pesticides

Countries that use more pesticides don't have higher rates of pediatric cancer.
Normally a reliable source of information, Live Science published an article that is a dream for anti-pesticide and anti-chemical fearmongers.
The Organic Consumers Association, which promotes conspiracy theories about 9/11, chemtrails, and FEMA, is pushing another one: Pesticides cause school shootings.
The Environmental Working Group has once again released their Dirty Dozen list — the fruits and veggies they say are covered in pesticides. One minor detail: organic produce contains pesticides, too, but that doesn't quite fit their narrative.
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. 
One of the worst junk science trends in recent years is for grocery stores and restaurants to claim that they serve "clean food." Obviously, the not-so-subtle message is that everybody else is serving poison, so to be safe, you better eat their food. It's well past time to put aside the snobbish notion that eating clean, local, organic food makes you a superior, healthier human.
A recent study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, reveals a supposed association between high pesticide exposure and fewer pregnancies, as well as fewer live births in women receiving fertility treatments.
Plants produce pesticides to keep insects and other herbivores away. When we eat fruits and vegetables, we eat those pesticides, too. In fact, nearly all of the pesticides we consume in our diet are produced by the plants themselves. 
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.
Why are strawberries, spinach, and 10 other nutritious fruits and vegetables killing us? Because of pesticides, says the clueless Environmental Working Group, whose mission is scaring you about perfectly safe and healthy food. 
Initial reports suggest that Kim Jong-Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, was murdered with VX, a type of agent used in chemical warfare. What is it, and how does it work? VX is an organophosphate, a generic name for any molecular compound that contains carbon and phosphate (i.e., ions made of phosphorus and oxygen atoms). Organophosphates are found everywhere. Life-giving molecules like DNA are organophosphates, but so are some pesticides and nerve agents. Given the structure of VX (which includes a sulfur atom), it is more specifically a phosphonothioate. (See image on right.)
Asking hard questions is one of the true delights of being a science journalist. People's assumptions, understanding of the facts, and inherent biases should be subjected to scrutiny. Therefore, I like to think of myself as the science version of HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur -- that is, without the international name recognition and striking good looks.