Environmental  False  Alarms

Many environmental groups profit from false alarms and hysteria, either financially or by gaining free publicity ("face time" on television).  This increases the groups' political leverage and influence, and the cycle repeats.  As a result, there are people called "activists" (i.e., troublemakers and enviro-busybodies) who would have you believe that almost everything is unsafe.  For every product on the market, you can probably find someone who thinks it's dangerous, particularly if it is produced by a very large company.  That's because the most prominent environmental activists are actually socialists who can't stand to see capitalism succeed.

This page has been compiled as a public service to dispel some of the myths and challenge the conventional wisdom about a number of issues, especially chemicals which have been called unsafe, but may not be unsafe at all, or may provide benefits well worth the risks.  After researching several of these topics, I've come to the conclusion that environmentalists are wrong about almost everything!

Remember, risks cannot be completely eliminated.  There is a certain amount of risk involved with the use of any chemical… including water!

Some of this material came from the Lies, propaganda and distortion page, which you may find interesting as well.  This page has grown rather rapidly, simply because it is easy to find examples of dishonest alarmism in environmental "news" these days.  Many of these hoaxes gain momentum only because the people who call themselves journalists do not differentiate facts from baseless speculation.  Of course the biggest exaggeration of them all is the one about global warming.

You may also be interested in my page about the Endangered Species Act.


As a service to those of you with slow dial-up internet service, these subsections have moved to their own pages:

DDT and other pesticide scares

Nuclear Energy, Low-Level Radiation, Radon and Irradiated Foods

Low level environmental terrorism -- Constant warnings of doom and gloom.

Supposedly good ideas that may not be good at all

Car pooling and mass transit

The Campaign Against Bottled Water



Specific environmental "threats" debunked, or at least challenged:

Most of the bad news about the environment is wrong.  If any of the following things were as hazardous as the environmental alarmists claim, none of us would have survived the 20th century.  Keep in mind that risks cannot be completely eliminated, and there are a lot of environmental groups that profit from false alarms.*  Safety bureaucracies and consumer activist groups routinely invent or exaggerate dangers to maintain their budgets and inflate their apparent worth.*

You may also notice that newspapers and television news outlets thrive on alarming and sensational "news", whether it's valid or not.*  One interesting thing about television is that today you may hear, for example, that chocolate is dangerous; but last week you heard the same people say — with equal certainty — that chocolate is essential to your diet.  In many of these cases, the TV news "personality" was just reading whatever came up on the teleprompter, and the writer was just repeating the text of a "press release" without checking the facts.  Listen carefully and you will notice that you almost never hear the whole truth about anything on television!  Newspapers give you more detail, but stories may be arranged and phrased to emphasize the viewpoints of the editors.

Read the following articles, and you'll get the idea that almost all the environmental "news" on television (and in your local newspaper) is misleading or simply incorrect.


Alar:

The Great Apple Scare: Alar 20 Years Later.  A cancer scare in early 1989 caused millions of consumers throughout the country to stop buying and eating apples and apple products.  The fear was that apples were being sprayed with a cancer-causing chemical.  Children, in particular, were thought to be at especially high risk. [...] Now, on the twentieth anniversary of "The Great Apple Scare," the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) means to recall the events that led up to the mass hysteria over apples and explore some of its many ramifications in hopes of preventing another fabricated crisis from fooling a too-gullible public in the future.

The Media Is Obsessed With Bad News.  Years ago, the Natural Resources Defense Council claimed the chemical Alar, which helps keep apples from rotting, killed kids.  When "60 Minutes" ran the story, I believed it.  So did lots of people.  Schools across America banned apples.  Moms poured out apple juice.  Apple growers lost billions.  But the scare was bunk.  Apples, even apples with Alar, are good for you.  Since banning Alar meant apples decay more quickly, apples become slightly more expensive, and that meant some kids ate less healthy food.

The Dirty Little Secret of "Income Inequality".  As with so many other statistics, numbers that "prove" income inequality can be made to dance on the head of a pin.  It's especially easy when not even the word "income" has a clearly understood meaning anymore.  The more compensation is routed through the government, the less aware of it an employee becomes.  That's the whole idea behind paycheck withholding:  grab those taxes before people even realize the money is gone.

Alar:  The Great Apple Scare.  Apple juice and apple sauce were thrown away.  Apples were taken out of school lunches, and parents on the border of hysteria called the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about risks of cancer to their children.  The publicity campaign was so effective that sales and prices of all apples declined sharply, and 20,000 apple growers in the U.S. suffered substantial financial harm — even the large number who never used Alar.

The Alar Scare Ten Years Later:  1989 was the year in which something of a kangaroo court pronounced Alar, a powder used to prevent the pre-harvest rotting of apples, "the most potent cancer-causing agent in our food supply."  It was the year in which the Natural Resources Defense Council, the TV newsmagazine 60 Minutes, then-talk-show host Phil Donahue, and film star Meryl Streep made "Alar" an almost dirty household word.

The Editor asks...
Why is an actress's opinion more valuable than anyone else's?

Apples and Crossbones:  In 1989, costuming oneself as an apple on Halloween would have befitted the times.  That was the year of mass hysteria over Alar, a chemical product not otherwise noteworthy except for its usefulness to apple growers and apple consumers.

Starbucks protestors spread false fears about safe foods:  Anti-biotechnology activists engaged in a week of "direct action" at Starbucks Coffee shops in February [2002] with false and misleading information about food safety, nutrition, and the environment.  The same people who brought you a long list of other false health and environmental scares — including the infamous Alar-in-apples scare, the Dow-Corning breast implant campaign, and dozens of other debunked fears — are at it again.

Nine Worst Business Stories of the Last 50 Years -- [#2] Alar-ming Apples.  It was another left-wing campaign that started one of the biggest food scares in U.S. history.  Spurred by a study from the leftist Natural Resources Defense Council, CBS's Ed Bradley reported a Feb. 26, 1989, "60 Minutes" segment on daminozide, a pesticide used to keep apples attractive that Bradley dubbed "the most cancer-causing agent in the food supply."


Arsenic:

Why Rice Contains Detectable Levels of Arsenic.  Rice appears to be a concentrator of arsenic for two distinct reasons.  First, something about rice just seems to attract arsenic into the grain, particularly into the husk that gives brown rice its brown color.  Ironically, brown rice, always considered healthier, has a decidedly higher level of arsenic than the white, or unhusked, version.  Second, rice grows differently from other grains.  A field of wheat swaying across the American Plains is a favorite of Sunday painters, but unlike wheat, rice likes it wet.  It thrives in marshes, referred to more familiarly as rice paddies, and the water has plenty of arsenic.  The source of all this arsenic is the subject of disagreement.

Bush a Lot like Clinton, Naturally.  Since Bush took office, environmentalist groups have blasted him with wild claims that sound toxic:  Bush increased the amount of dangerous mercury that power plants can put out, eased rules on arsenic in drinking water and, according to Robert Kennedy Jr., is "America's worst environmental president."  They decry any regulatory reform as "weakening" environmental protections and begin anew their Chicken Little chant.  In reality, these charges are no more than Orwellian double-speak; scare tactics designed to destroy the administration.

Why the arsenic standard should not be changed:  A strange thing happened in the last days of the Clinton administration:  The Environmental Protection Agency rushed to set a new arsenic drinking water standard.  For the previous eight years of the Clinton administration, and the 30 years of the EPA era, the existing arsenic standard was not deemed in need of change.  Suddenly, EPA calculates cancer risks from arsenic as high as 1 in 100.  If the risks were real, more Americans would still die from arsenic than from all other regulation chemicals combined.

EPA Arsenic Standard May Be Unconstitutional.  "The demands of the new standard are absurd," said Sam Kazman, the Competitive Enterprise Institute's general counsel.  "The science has failed to find any adverse impacts of arsenic in U.S. drinking water at the 50 parts per billion level, a standard that has been in place more than 50 years."

Local Budgets Reel Under Arsenic Mandates.  The citizens of Middlefield, Ohio are being hammered by a staggering cost of $7,400 per household after water testing showed the community is very slightly above new, stringent federal standards regarding arsenic in water. … With arsenic measuring 12 parts per billion in community water supplies — just two parts per billion over the new federal standards — Middlefield's 1,000 households must foot the bill for a new $7.4 million water treatment plant.

Penguins dumping arsenic in Antarctica.  Penguin guano isn't usually considered an environmental hazard.  Yet, according to new research, it is the main source of arsenic accumulation in Antarctic soil. … The droppings of the gentoo penguin contained far more than those of the other species — nearly twice as much as the droppings of the southern giant petrel and up to three times more than the local seals.


Asbestos:

Legal Newsline scores big win for asbestos transparency.  Garlock Sealing Technologies, founded in 1887, originally produced seals for rods in locomotive steam engines.  Over the years, it used asbestos in gaskets and valves.  When the age of asbestos lawsuits began, it was deluged with nearly a million claims.  Although Garlock defended such cases for years — at times successfully — the company succumbed in 2010 and entered bankruptcy with 100,000 asbestos and 4,000 mesothelioma claims pending.

Judge finds pervasive fraud by trial lawyers in asbestos litigation.  Fresh evidence of the efficacy of transparency in public affairs recently came from an unexpected source — class-action litigation on behalf of people who claim to have developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos.  An estimated $37 billion has been set aside to compensate such victims since the litigation became common in state and federal courts in the 1980s.  Among the 100 or so companies that have been shut down at least in part by mesothelioma litigation is the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of Garlock Sealing Technologies.  Multiple trial lawyer firms have filed claims with the trust established to compensate Garlock victims.

Politician with cancer smoked for 40 years, sues over asbestos.  Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's law firm has filed a class-action suit on behalf of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, accusing more than 70 companies of potentially causing the Long Island congresswoman to develop lung cancer from asbestos.  But the bizarre Weitz & Luxenberg suit fails to mention that the 69-year-old Democrat smoked heavily for 40 years — and that she never actually worked with the cancer-causing substance.

The EPA: The Worst Of Many Rogue Federal Agencies.  The EPA has ignored epidemiological evidence to foment false alarms about the dangers of ozone, radon, Alar (used in apple orchards), dioxins, and asbestos.  The asbestos story is illustrative.  Not only did the EPA, in 1989, decree an eight-year phase-out of asbestos despite studies from Oxford, Harvard, the Canadian Royal commission, New Jersey, etc. that the health risks posed by asbestos-lined buildings were miniscule, EPA's administrators even ignored the EPA's own scientific panel, which denounced the study used to justify the ban on asbestos as "unconvincing," "scientifically unappealing," and "absurd."

Mississippi judge tosses $322M asbestos lawsuit verdict.  A Mississippi judge has thrown out a $322 million lawsuit verdict that had been hailed as the largest asbestos award for a single plaintiff in U.S. history.

Asbestos of All Possible Worlds?  Asbestos litigation has gone on for decades, costing billions of dollars and driving a dozen companies into bankruptcy.  Some 60% of all monies have been consumed by the lawyers and assorted parasites.  A signal moment was the leakage of a memo from the Texas law firm of Baron & Budd, complete with photos, used by the firm to, ahem, freshen memories of claimants about which products and brands they were exposed to.  Asbestos lawsuits have become a mass-production enterprise, with hundreds of thousands of claimants, nobody knowing or caring which ones are really sick.

Taming the Asbestos Monster:  The nation's courts are being flooded with lawsuits alleging health effects or the possibility of health effects from exposure to asbestos.  Real victims of asbestosis (a scarring of the lung similar to "Black Lung" from coal dust), mesotheliona and other asbestos-related cancers are being denied compensation while people who are unlikely to ever experience an asbestos-related disease receive million-dollar awards from confused and misled juries.

Asbestos Litigation Is Bankrupting America.  What does Bubble-Wrap™, the popular packing material that many kids (and more than a few adults) love to "pop," have to do with asbestos?  If you answered "nothing," you are right.  If you said the company that produces Bubble-Wrap™ should be liable for up to a billion dollars for alleged injuries caused by a product it never manufactured or used, then you are probably a plaintiffs' lawyer who stands to earn millions of dollars if your lawsuit, implausible though it may seem, is successful.

"… the Most Massive Abuse of Science I Have Seen."  "My own experience is with asbestos and acid rain and how they relate to human health, both of which subjects I worked on as a U.S. government scientist.  We have spent nearly $100 billion to remove asbestos from schools and other buildings, despite warnings by many of us that there was no risk to the health of the building occupants.  In 1990, EPA finally agreed with our risk estimate, but the damage had already been done, most of it by EPA."

Eco-Freaks.  Fire testing organizations such as the National Fire Protection Association have consistently given asbestos materials a zero flame-spread rating, which means it has no ability to spread flame under any circumstances.  Before asbestos was widely used, it was not uncommon for a fire in a school or theater to kill, dozens, and sometimes hundreds of people.


Acid Rain:

The New York Times and Lies about 'Acid Rain'.  [Scroll down]  However, as scientists took measurements and assessed the streams, lakes and forests that supposedly were being ravaged by acid rain, they found out a number of things.  First, lake and stream acidity had very little relationship to the pH factor of local rainfall.  Instead, the acidity of the vegetation in the watersheds of these aquatic bodies was the significant factor, with the science firmly established by the time that Edward Krug and Charles Frink published a paper in a 1983 edition of Science.

Acid Rain:  Headline or Hoax?  What is referred to as "acid rain" is simply rain that has absorbed airborne particles from both natural and manmade sources.  Although some groups continue to try to scare Americans with stories of acid rain, scientific evidence shows that these stories are greatly exaggerated.

What, Exactly, Is Acid Rain?  Normal rain has a pH of about 5.0.  Acid rain typically has a pH of 4.6, and the most acidic rain in North America (found in western Pennsylvania and nearby areas) has an average pH of 4.2.  That is similar to the acidity of tomato or apple juice.

Acid rain is a hoax!  Rain is acidic anyway!  Natural rainfall has a pH of ~5.6 (from atmospheric CO2).

The Continuing Mythology About Acid Rain:  On Tuesday evening, July 25, Ned Potter of ABC News did a three-minute segment purporting to show how acid rain (caused by sulphur dioxide -- SO2 -- emissions from Midwestern utilities) was killing trees in Camel's Hump Mountain in Vermont.  Aerial photos showed a pattern of dead or dying tall spruce trees.  We were informed acid rain was sterilizing the soil.  An environmentalist guided us through the devastation.  It was potent TV.  It was also a hoax.

This Is Going Around On The Net.  The big hoax that went on in the 70's and 80's was "Acid Rain".  It was just as big a story as global warming is now.  Every newspaper and media outlet had it on constantly.  Every scientist that tried to tell the truth was ignored by the media.  Every scientific paper that came out proving it was a hoax was ignored.  Finally 60 Minutes (usually a 100% liberal show) had a segment entitled The Acid Rain Hoax ... POW it was as if the spigot had been turned off.  There was essentially never another story about it.

Liberal Fantasyland.  Acid Rain was once the environmental biggie, the Global Warming of the 70s and 80s.  So the government spent 10 years and $550 million to look into it.  The National Acid Precipitation Assessment Project (NAPAP) essentially concluded it is not a problem.  For example, "The NAPAP study found that among thousands of U.S. lakes, only 4 percent were somewhat acidic.  One-quarter of those were acidic due to natural causes, leaving only 3 percent somewhat influenced by human activities."  The NAPAP report came out in 1990, suspiciously about the time Global Warming became the new big thing in environmental causes.

In Defense of Plastic.  I am fed up to my burning ears with the carte blanche castigation of plastic.  Plastic is one of the greatest inventions ever, not only for modern society, but also for the environment.  If plastic seems to now pose an environmental threat, it's not plastic's fault — but the fault of the environmental movement itself.


Bird Flu:

The Bird Flu Pandemic is a Hoax.

Flashback: Senator Obama rips Bush for being unprepared for avian flu epidemic.  A nice catch from our friends at Grabien, who got it from Ace [update] and who had to go all the way back to 2005 to find this nugget and the contemporaneous coverage at the NYT.  At the time, the US prepared for a predicted epidemic of the avian flu, also known as H5N1, of global proportions.  The virus had been identified for 18 years by that time, but by the end of 2004 had only resulted in 36 deaths and 50 known cases over the prior two years, according to WHO data.  In 2005, the number of cases would jump to 98 and deaths to 43, and the prevention of a pandemic became a high priority.  At that time, then-Senator Barack Obama scolded the Bush administration on the Senate floor, and quarterbacked a protest letter from his fellow Democrats over the slow response and lack of preparedness by the White House: [...]

The Great Bird Flu Hoax:  An entire industry has taken flight around the great bird flu fear, with everything from bird flu masks and respirators to guides on how to survive the coming plague being hawked to a terrified public.  But there is no coming bird flu pandemic.

Bird Flu Hoax Exposed on Lou Dobbs.  This avian flu is not a sudden arrival upon the scene.  A lot of people think it just appeared in the last couple of years, some people think it appeared in 1997.  Virtually nobody knows ... that this strain of avian flu, H5N1, goes back to 1959, in Scottish chickens.

Bird Flu Hoax:  In recent years I've discovered that getting a flu shot is one of the worst things you can do for your immune system to be able to fight off the flu.  It's a scam by the manufacturers of the flu shots.

Reviews of "False Alarm:  The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear".  [Dr. Marc Siegel] advocates replacing fear with courage and worry with faith:  "Faith takes the worry away and transfers it to a higher Being who is controlling the world.  Any sense of control we have is illusory."  His concluding comments effectively sum up his book:  "What bothers me most as a physician is that I see my patients being harmed, and there's little I can do to stop it.  Fear is infectious, and the fear of bird flu has become particularly virulent.  There is a vaccine for this fear:  it is called information mixed with perspective."

Editor's Note:
Because television news has to be dumbed down and converted to one-syllable words, the term "avian influenza" was changed to "bird flu."  A total of 161 people have died from avian influenza.*  The "bird flu" has only affected dirt-poor people on the other side of the world who have poultry running in and out of their houses day and night.  We certainly haven't seen the hundreds of thousands of deaths that were predicted.*

CNN Team Perplexed by Calm U.S. Public:  'In the Money' co-host admits the media 'fanned the flames' of the bird flu scare, although so far to little effect.

ABC Hatches Weeklong Series on Bird Flu:  In 2003, ABC questioned government's bioterrorism warnings, but now emphasizes the latest concerns on bird flu.

The Fed's Plan is More Scary Than the Bird Flu.  Like many Americans, I have been mildly interested, if not amused, watching the parade of warnings — some quite dire — about the possibility of a bird flu pandemic.  The feds have spent billions of dollars preparing for a pandemic that most experts predict will not occur.

One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  Flu fearmongers must be quite depressed these days.  Seasonal flu is late.  Bird flu — despite all the headlines — hasn't gained much traction among humans.  And we haven't had pandemic flu in 36 years.

WHO Confirms One Human-to-Human Bird Flu Case.  The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Thursday [12/27/2007] a single case of human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 bird flu virus in a family in Pakistan but said there was no apparent risk of it spreading wider.

Bird flu outbreak under control.  A bird flu outbreak in northwest China has been brought under control, state media said Tuesday.  There have been no cases of human infection and farmers who had contact with the poultry have been quarantined and have shown no symptoms, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

U.S. pledges extra $320 million for bird flu fight.  The United States pledged an additional $320 million to the global fight against bird flu and warned on Saturday [10/25/2008] against complacency in combating the virus, which could mutate and cause a deadly pandemic.

The Editor says...
We're spending $320 million to solve a problem in some other country — without any certainty that the "bird flu" will ever develop into a pandemic.  This is the epitome of money down the drain.

Mother claims flu shot is responsible for death of teenage son.  A Utah mother is claiming that a flu shot is responsible for the recent death of her 19-year-old son.  Chandler Webb received the shot on October 15 during a routine physical, after he had decided to go on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The day after the exam, Chandler became extremely ill — suffering from vomiting and headaches.  A little more than a week later, Chandler slipped into a coma and spent nearly a month on life support at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah.  While at the hospital, Chandler underwent a variety tests, but his doctors couldn't confirm what had caused his illness.

The Editor says...
Here in Dallas, the County government has been aggressively promoting and marketing flu shots for several years.  As for me, I'd rather take my chances with the germs than the government, because the people who are lining up for flu shots don't really know what's in it!  After making flu shots a matter of routine for several years, the government may someday add some extra ingredients.



Mad Cow disease:

Global warming:  Don't look now.  For a scare to take flight … it must contain the right mix of uncertainty and scientific plausibility.  And it must be talked up by the media and "remedied" by the government, usually at enormous expense to the taxpayer.  As a classic case of this, the authors cite the BSE fiasco, which began in 1996 when the health secretary Stephen Dorrell stood up in the Commons to announce the possibility of a connection between Mad Cow Disease and a horrendous new brain disease in humans called new variant CJD.

Frightened to death:  Why it's the scare stories that are the REAL menace.  Do you remember that day in 1996 when a Tory health minister stood up in the House of Commons to announce that there might after all be a link between BSE, "mad cow disease", and what seemed to be a new form of the human brain disease, CJD? … For years to come, we would continue to pay billions of pounds for more than eight million cattle to be sent up in smoke, even though such a drastic step had never been recommended by any scientist.


Caffeine:

Debate Brews Over Caffeine Addiction.  Dr. Astrid Nehlig recently completed a study with laboratory animals, which confirmed that caffeine consumed in moderation contributes to increased alertness and energy but does not bring about dependence at those levels.


Carbon dioxide:

There is a bunch of material about CO2 on this page.


Chlorine:

Volcanic activity, forest and grass fires, fungi, algae, ferns and the decomposition of seaweed all release chlorinated organics into the environment.  Our own bodies produce hypochlorite to fight infection and hydrochloric acid for proper digestion.  And there is, of course, sodium chloride — common table salt — present naturally in mines, lakes and seawater, found in our blood, sweat and tears, and essential to the diets of humans and animals.*

The Envirotruth about Chlorine:  Greenpeace has long waged a campaign against the chlorine industry claiming that chlorine poses a major threat to human health.  Scientists disagree.

JunkScience.com Announces Top Ten "Most Embarrassing Moments" of 2004.  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials who had halted use of chlorine disinfectant in the Washington, DC drinking water system — due to unfounded cancer fears hyped by the Environmental Protection Agency — replaced this proven germ-fighter with a more corrosive substitute that leached lead from the pipes and caused wide-spread public alarm as lead levels climbed above federal standards.

Greenpeace's Efforts to Ban Chlorine are not only Sensational, but Dangerous.  Chlorine is the 11th most abundant element in the Earth's crust — more abundant in nature than carbon, and arguably as essential as oxygen.  While most people know that chlorine cleans water and disinfects, many people may not know that chlorine is used to make everything from surgical sutures and X-ray film to rocket fuel and football helmets.  Or, that in the form of sodium chloride, it is the compound of which table salt is made.

The Future of Chlorine.  Numerous reports in the media have ascribed possible detrimental health effects to chlorine, dioxin and other chlorinated chemicals, often subjecting the public to exaggerated and misleading information.  Greenpeace, a worldwide environmental activist group, has led the attack, pushing for a total ban on chlorine and chlorinated chemicals.

Rachel's Folly:  The End of Chlorine.  Greenpeace, the international environmental advocacy group, launched the first salvo in 1991 with its call to phase out completely "the use, export, and import of all organochlorines, elemental chlorine, and chlorinated oxidizing agents (e.g. chlorine dioxide and sodium hypochlorite)."  As Greenpeace's Joe Thornton explains, "There are no uses of chlorine which we regard as safe."  Yet chlorination — considered one of the greatest advances ever in public health and hygiene — is almost universally accepted as the method of choice for purifying water supplies.  In the United States alone, 98 percent of public water systems are purified by chlorine or chlorine based products.

Facts about Chlorine and Dioxins:  Chlorine is an element found in abundance in the natural world.  It is one of 118 elements that comprise the matter that makes up our universe, and one of the 20 or so that make up 90 percent of our planet.  It is found in nature as inorganic salts (common table salt is sodium chloride) and in more than 1,500 organic compounds, including plants, animals, and even human blood and saliva.

Anti-chlorine activists hope politics will trump science.  Senate Bill 1602 would force industry to abandon chlorine even as science vindicates its safety.  Unable to prevail in the laboratory, anti-chemical groups are seeking to prevail in the U.S. Senate.

Nothing Cleans Like Chlorine.  For nearly 150 years, society has had a powerful weapon against life-threatening infections caused by viruses and bacteria:  Chlorine.  One of the most effective and economical germ-killers, chlorine destroys and deactivates a wide range of dangerous germs in homes, hospitals, hotels, restaurants and, of course, water.

Chlorine-Purified Water Hailed As One of LIFE's Top Achievements of the Millennium.  Along with the discovery of gravity, printing the Gutenberg Bible and landing on the moon, the use of chlorine-purified water was recently named one of the millennium's greatest historical events by LIFE magazine.

Chlorine:  Cornerstone of Modern Medicine.  From acetaminophen to antibiotics, X-ray film to blood bags, and AIDS treatments to anti-cancer drugs, the common bond among these miracles of modern medicine is chlorine.

The War on Chlorine:  Nobody would seek to ban strawberries or blueberries because mistletoe berries are poisonous.  But somehow, according to environmentalists, we have to ban the organochlorine used in plastic-making because a different one is used in a pesticide accused of thinning bird eggshells.  This thinking also ignores the simple fact that, when discussing potential harm of chemicals, it's necessary to distinguish between levels of exposure.

Exploiting Chemical Fears:  For over a decade, various extremist environmental groups have tried to banish vital industrial chemicals, especially chlorine, with false and malicious claims about potential harm.

Washington Town Finally Gets Chlorinated Water.  Lacey, Washington, a town halfway between Olympia and Tacoma, has lost its distinction of being the state's largest town without a chlorinated municipal water system.

Why I Left Greenpeace:  The breaking point was a Greenpeace decision to support a world-wide ban on chlorine.  Science shows that adding chlorine to drinking water was the biggest advance in the history of public health, virtually eradicating water-borne diseases such as cholera.  And the majority of our pharmaceuticals are based on chlorine chemistry.  Simply put, chlorine is essential for our health.  My former colleagues ignored science and supported the ban, forcing my departure.  Despite science concluding no known health risks — and ample benefits — from chlorine in drinking water, Greenpeace and other environmental groups have opposed its use for more than 20 years.


Chromium:

Politicized Science: The 'Erin Brockovich Chemical'.  Senate hearings on chromium-6 in our drinking water will feature a lot of smoke and mirrors about "dangerous" levels of the chemical, but not much real science.

EPA Goes After Perchlorate and Chromium:  The Media Follow Along Without Questioning.  Perchlorate and chromium are on EPA's bucket list of 'toxic chemicals' on which it proposes to set new limits.  Neither has been given fair coverage by the main-stream media.  Quotes can be found from environmental groups supporting the action, but nothing from scientists and others with an opposing view, typical of the unbalanced reporting that has covered the perchlorate and chromium issues.


Coal:

Coal now has its own page.


DDT:

DDT has its own page, too.


Dioxin:

EPA's Never Ending Dioxin Scare.  If ever there was an example of what's wrong with the intersection of government and science, the Environmental Protection Agency's 20-year campaign to scare the public about dioxin is certainly a leading candidate.  The EPA slammed into a bureaucratic wall this week when a National Academy of Sciences panel told the agency to take its dioxin report back to the drawing board.

Dioxin:  Amidst all the eco-terrorist rhetoric comes a sweet taste of reality from an unlikely source:  ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's.  Two independent laboratories using different methodologies discovered that a single serving of Ben & Jerry's "World's Best Vanilla" ice cream contained about 200 times the level of dioxin EPA says is safe.  Nevertheless, the ice cream maker remains in business, and continues to sell its "dioxin-laden" product … offering real-world evidence that the low-levels of dioxin in our food and the environment are not dangerous.

Unsafe Levels of Dioxin Found in Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, Study Says.  The study authors report that, according to Ben & Jerry's and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, the level of dioxin measured could cause about 200 "extra" cancers among lifetime consumers of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.  "The level of dioxin in a single serving of the Ben & Jerry's World's Best Vanilla Ice Cream tested was almost 200 times greater than the "virtually safe [daily] dose" determined by the EPA, said Michael Gough, lead study author.

Top Ten Junk Science Stories of the Past Decade:  Some called dioxin, a by-product of natural and industrial combustion processes and the "contaminant of concern" in the Vietnam-era defoliant known as Agent Orange, the most toxic manmade chemical.  Billions of dollars have been spent studying and regulating dioxin, but debunking the scare only cost a few thousand dollars.

New Research Questions EPA's Dioxin Assumptions.  Studies show that at high body levels, humans eliminate from their bodies traces of dioxin three to five times faster than previously thought.

Backyard Burning of Trash is Now the #1 Dioxin Source!  The US EPA will be issuing a new projection for dioxin emission from land-applied sewage sludge for 2002/2004 based on surveys to begin in Spring, 2001.  The US EPA expects that the new projection will be lower than the value previously projected.

Viktory Over Alarmism.  The "deadly dioxin" legend began with, of all things, guinea pigs.  When fed to them in studies, they did fall over like furry tenpins.  Yet hamsters could absorb 1,000 times as much dioxin before emitting their last squeals and other animals seemed impervious to the stuff.  Further, the animal deaths were from acute poisoning.  Yet as a matter of convenience for activists, it not only became accepted that guinea pigs are the best animal model for humans but also that dioxin is a powerful carcinogen.


Electromagnetic fields:

Covering Up Scientific Data Violates the Public's Right to Know:  In June 1999, Robert Liburdy, who had received more than $3.3 million in federal grants for his research, was forced to leave Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory when it was discovered that he had faked data to produce results which indicated that electromagnetic fields caused cancer.  None of the 20 studies subsequent to Liburdy's 1992 study have found any causal connection between electromagnetic fields and cellular changes in the body.

More Proof That Power Lines Don't Cause Cancer:  The latest study, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and reported in the July 3, 1997, New England Journal of Medicine, is one of hundreds which have put the power-lines-cause-cancer theory in the category of junk science.

On the other hand...
Kill Cell Phones Before They Kill You.  [Sue] Anderson and others set about to update themselves on the latest science regarding health effects of microwave radiation emitted by cell towers.  "News and science reports from all over the globe seem to show that a cell tower neighborhood is basically a sick neighborhood.  We found many media reports about cancer clusters in residential areas close to microwave towers," Anderson says.


Irradiated foods:

This subsection has moved to this page.


Lead:

The Power-Mad EPA.  Recently the EPA ruled that New York City had to replace 1,300 fire hydrants because of their lead content.  The ruling was based on the Drinking Water Act passed by Congress in 2011.  As Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) pointed out while lambasting the agency, "I don't know a single New Yorker who goes out to their fire hydrants every morning, turns it on, and brushes their teeth using the water from these hydrants.  It makes no sense whatsoever."  Reportedly, the Senate is poised to consider legislation exempting fire hydrants if the EPA does not revise its ruling.  The EPA is not about making sense.  It is about over-interpreting laws passed by Congress in ways that now continually lead to cases before the Supreme Court.

EPA Pushes Gun Control Through Green Ammo Mandate.  The Herculaneum smelter, according to the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, is the only one in the U.S. that can produce lead bullion from raw lead ore and the components for traditional lead ammunition.  The only alternatives, the institute says, will be to import the ammo components or use EPA-approved "green" ammunition.  The Arms Trade Treaty may be unratified, but it provides the administration with a justification for restricting U.S. imports of ammunition and components.

End of the line for the lead bullet? Regulations, bans force switch to 'green' ammo.  When the last bullet-producing lead smelter closes its doors on Dec. 31, it will mark a major victory for those who say lead-based ammunition pollutes the environment, but others warn 'green' bullets will cost more, drive up copper prices and do little to help conservation.  The bid to ban lead bullets, seen by some as harmful to the environment, started slowly more than a decade ago.

Backdoor gun control is here: no lead means no bullets.  The closedown [of the Doe Run Lead Smelter] is due to new extremely tight air quality restrictions placed on this specific plant.  President Obama and his EPA raised the regulations by 10 fold and it would have cost the plant $100 million to comply.  In response to the Doe Run lead smelter shutdown, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the Doe Run Company "made a business decision" to shut down the smelter instead of installing pollution control technologies needed to reduce sulfur dioxide and lead emissions as required by the Clean Air Act.  Of course this is why we need serious regulatory reform that precludes executive agency fiat, especially regulation implementation that exceeds a certain adverse financial impact to a private sector business.

California poised to become first state to impose full ban on lead bullets.  California is on the verge of becoming the first state to impose a full ban on hunting with lead bullets — with environmentalists and gun-rights advocates squaring off as Gov. Jerry Brown decides whether to sign the legislation.  The state already has a ban on lead-bullet hunting in eight counties with an endangered condor population.  But the new proposal, overwhelmingly approved this month [September 2013] by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly, would impose a statewide ban on all hunting.

The Growing Tyranny of the Political Elite.  For hundreds of years, human beings have used lead for many purposes, and life on earth has not exactly come to an end.  Now we are told that the lead used in hunting and fishing is harming animals and fish, and it may just have to stop.  The scary thing is that one individual, an appointed bureaucrat directing the Environmental Protection Agency, has the power to impose such a ban. [...] And the EPA believes that it has the authority not just to police hunting and fishing supplies, but to regulate carbon dioxide, a natural product of the act of breathing.  The preferred modus operandi, in fact, is to appoint a single individual with the power to control some large part of American life.

The Prophet of the Ruling Class.  So now the EPA has been petitioned to ban the use of lead in bullets and fishing weights.  For hundreds of years, human beings have used lead for those purposes, and life on earth has not exactly come to an end.  Now we are told that the lead used in hunting and fishing is harming animals and fish, and it must stop.  The scary thing is that one individual, EPA Director Lisa Jackson, has the power to impose such a ban.

Tap Dance:  If anything, some utility managers conclude that just replacing city owned pipes actually causes lead levels to jump temporarily by shaking debris loose — and probably produces no lasting reduction if water still flows through lead fixtures once it's inside the building.

What would electronics be without solder?  John Burke, the senior manager of Optichron, an electrical components manufacturer in Fremont, Calif., [says], "There is absolutely no evidence that there is any reason for taking lead out of solder.  There was no reason to do it in the first place, the replacement is ecologically more damaging, and, by the way, the replacement is less reliable."

Pelosi's Toy Story:  Under a new law set to go into effect February 10, unsold toys, along with bikes, books and even children's clothing are destined for the scrap heap due to an overzealous law to increase toy safety.  The damage comes from new rules governing lead in children's products.  After last year's scare over contaminated toys made in China, Congress leapt in to require all products aimed at children under 12 years old to be certified as safe and virtually lead-free by independent testing.

Anti-lead law causes small-business devastation.  Although horror stories keep pouring in about severe economic problems caused by an anti-lead law that went into effect Feb. 10, Congress continues to ignore the cries for relief.  The law, called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, provides fines starting at $100,000 per violation, plus possible jail time, for anybody convicted of selling lead-containing items intended for use by children aged 12 and under. ... Businesses selling everything from child motor scooters to used children's books to clothing stores and thrift shops are throwing out inventory, laying off workers or even going out of business.

Senators Battle Environmentalists Seeking to Ban Lead in Ammunition, Fishing Tackle.  As environmentalists battle to ban the use of lead in ammunition and fishing tackle out of concern for wildlife and their habitats, several U.S. lawmakers have rushed to defend the tools of hunters and fishermen with a new bill to shield such items from regulation.

The EPA's RRP Rule isn't About Safety.  On April 22, 2010 an EPA regulation governing renovation, repair, and painting (RRP) took effect.  The regulation governs any activity that will disturb paint containing lead and applies to all homes built before 1978 and "child-occupied facilities". [...] But combating lead poisoning is not a proper function of government.  And RRP is going to do little, if anything, to combat it.  It will however, grant the government greater control over the lives of contractors and cost consumers a lot of money.

This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2013 by Andrew K. Dart


Mercury:

FDA Taking Another Look at Mercury in Seafood.  For most people, accumulating mercury from eating seafood isn't a health risk.

The Power-Mad EPA.  The claims about mercury are baseless, in a 2011 commentary published in The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Willie Soon, a geoscientist at Harvard and expert on mercury and public health issues was joined by Paul Driesson, a senior policy advisor for the Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), rebuts the claims about mercury that have been part of the environmental lies put forth for years.  "There is no factual basis for these assertions.  To build its case against mercury, the EPA systematically ignored evidence and clinical studies that contradict its regulatory agenda, which is the punish hydrocarbon use."  "Mercury has always existed naturally in the Earth's environment... Mercury is found in air, water, rocks, soil and tries, which absorb it from the environment.  This is why our bodies evolved with proteins and antioxidants that help protect us from this and other potential contaminants."

The Top Ten Unfounded Health Scares of 2010.  [#10] Mercury in Fish:  [T]he study cited by Consumer Reports didn't find that the canned tuna they tested rose above levels that the FDA or EPA said were of concern — and those levels were based upon the risks posed by consuming tuna every day for seventy years, not occasionally.  Tuna is the only fish many Americans eat, and it's reasonably inexpensive." [...] Bottom Line:  The nutritional benefits of eating the recommended amount of fish servings far outweighs any potential health risks that canned tuna may pose.  Adequate fish consumption is important for the health of developing fetuses and growing children.

Pregnant women should avoid tuna, report says.  In a new review of seafood safety, Consumer Reports is advising that pregnant women avoid eating tuna due to concerns about mercury exposure.  "We're particularly concerned about canned tuna, which is second only to shrimp as the most commonly eaten seafood in the United States.  We encourage pregnant women to avoid all tuna," Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, said in a news release from the group.  While pregnant women and children are at greatest risk from mercury in seafood, anyone can be at risk if they eat too much seafood with high mercury levels, Consumer Reports noted.

Obama's twisty light-bulb logic.  Trace amounts of mercury from coal-fired power-plant emissions affect a small number of Americans, chiefly those who live near the emissions sources.  At the same time, however, the Obama administration has been trying to force Americans to accept even greater mercury risks by insisting that traditional incandescent light bulbs be replaced with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).  The mercury vapor in CFLs is at a much more dangerous concentration than anything coming out of power plants.

EPA is Binge Gambling with US Economy.  To read [Fred] Krupp's op-ed, you'd believe that implementing the EPA's findings — which will cause some coal-fueled power plants to be mothballed and raise energy costs for consumers and industry — will eliminate all mercury from the environment.  According to the Soon study, this is not true.  He says:  "America's coal-fired electrical generating units are responsible for approximately 0.5% of mercury found in the air Americans breathe.  Even eliminating every milligram of this mercury will not affect or reduce the other 99.5% in America's atmosphere."  Major sources include forest fires and volcanoes.

Mercury reg. proposal 'watering down pro-life message'.  The Evangelical Environmental Network has been running campaigns about mercury and the unborn, claiming that one in six babies born in America are exposed to harmful levels of mercury through their mother's consumption of fish that ingest mercury from power plants.  Cal Beisner, founder and national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, tells OneNewsNow the left-leaning group is "grossly" exaggerating the numbers that are actually more like one in 1,000.

FDA: Mercury-based fillings pose no serious health hazard.  After more than three decades of controversy, the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday [7/28/2009] issued new safety guidelines for mercury-based dental fillings that reaffirm the agency's long-held position that their use isn't a serious health threat to patients.

States Split on Mercury Standards.  In May, Minnesota and New Hampshire enacted legislation imposing stricter controls than existing federal proposals to limit the emission of mercury from power plants.  Other states, including Delaware, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, are considering such legislation or enacting limits through their respective environmental agencies under orders from their governors.

The Editor asks...
If states as small as Delaware have their own environmental regulatory agencies, why does the EPA exist?

22 States Say EPA Too Soft on Mercury.  Air quality regulators in at least 22 states have concluded that the Bush administration's approach to cutting mercury pollution from coal-burning power plants is too weak and are pursuing tougher measures of their own. … The 22 states listed as having tougher mercury-cutting plans than the federal government are: [AZ CA CT DE GA IL IN ME MD MA MI MN MT NH NJ NY NC OR PA VA WA WI].

Do you eat whale meat?

The Latest Reason Not to Worry About Mercury
.  Despite their snazzy Internet campaigns, well-publicized investigations, and scary language ("Tuna Roulette!", "The Mercury Menace!"), green-group activists can't change the simple fact that the mercury levels in the fish we typically eat pose zero health risk to consumers.  But there's more to the story.  Ladies and gentlemen, meet selenium.

The Nation Descends into Mercury Madness.  At some Maryland high schools, hazmat teams rush in to remove mercury that had gone unnoticed.  In Washington D.C., a broken thermometer causes a school to close.  And across the nation, environmental groups denounce the Environmental Protection Agency's new proposed rules for reducing mercury emissions from power plants as inadequate to protect children.  All this seems rather odd to those of us who played with mercury in science lessons at school.  The fact is that the health effects of mercury have been dramatically overblown.

Mercury in Fish Overblown.  The effect of mercury emissions on human health via fish consumption has been significantly overblown by environmental activists, who are keen to restrict mercury emissions for other reasons.  But U.S. power plants emit only a small fraction of annual mercury emissions.  That is why a recent joint study from the Brookings Institution and American Enterprise Institute found that the cost of the proposals vastly outweighed their marginal health benefits.

Mercury Decision:  Baseless Fish Scares 'Could Have Adverse Health Consequences'.  This week we've explored a recent California court decision that may pave the way for common sense among the fish-eating public.  Before refusing to allow California's Attorney General to require warning signs everywhere canned tuna is sold, Judge Robert Dondero heard thorough testimony from experts on both sides.

Mercury Decision:  'Expert Witness' Misled The Court.  Last week's landmark canned-tuna court decision was full of twists and turns. ... Perhaps the oddest development came in the form of an "expert witness" whose testimony the judge dismissed as "misleading" as well as "unreliable" and "biased" -- and who made claims (offered, the judge wrote, "under penalty of perjury") which turned out to be phony.

Mercury Decision:  'Virtually All' Mercury In Ocean Fish Is 'From Natural Sources'.  On Friday [5/12/2006], when the scales of justice swung in California's landmark mercury-in-tuna court case, they hit some cherished environmental dogma squarely in the face. ... Now, at least in California, the truth has become a matter of law -- that the vast majority of these tiny traces of mercury are as natural as the earth itself.

Fever Pitch on Mercury Fears:  It's enough to make any parent's heart race:  children evacuated from schools as hazmat teams race in to decontaminate the buildings, while national headlines scream, "highly toxic hazardous spill."  But when the source of this panic is a few beads of mercury from a broken thermometer, it's time to take a deep breath and seek some sound information.  Small mercury spills can be easily cleaned up and don't pose a danger to children or their teachers — but panic-driven responses can cause real harm.

Junk Science on Mercury Debunked.  House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) and Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Chairman Jim Gibbons (R-NV) issued earlier this year a detailed report on the science of mercury and the environment, "Mercury in Perspective:  Fact and Fiction About the Debate Over Mercury."  The paper is a comprehensive synopsis of the peer-reviewed research regarding the debate over regulating mercury.

Clinton's EPA Chief Springs the Mercury Trap She Left for Bush.  Although she served as President Clinton's EPA chief for eight years, Carol Browner never imposed a crackdown on power-plant mercury emissions.  But between Bush's election and inauguration, she proposed an expensive, technically infeasible mercury plan — for her successor.  It was an effort to trap Bush by giving him the choice of imposing a draconian policy — or face condemnation by the left for supposedly being "weak" on the environment.

Mercury:  Grain of Truth, Gram of Nonsense.  You have probably heard or read the oft-repeated statement, "One gram of mercury can contaminate an entire 20-acre lake."  It shows up in the environmental advocates' literature as well as in EPA and state agency documents and various fact sheets on mercury.  The statement is meant to scare us into believing that mishandling a thermometer or emitting even one gram of mercury would have irreversible negative consequences.  [The article debunks this claim.]

Senate Barely Squelches Mercury Panic.  [In March 2005], the Bush administration issued the first-ever rules regulating emissions of mercury from coal-burning power plants — an event that itself raised doubt about the urgency or need for such regulation.  The modern electric utility industry, after all, began burning coal and, thereby, emitting small amounts of mercury into the environment in the 1880s.

The Mercury-In-Fish Scare is All Wet.  The best science suggests that the mercury levels found in fish have no adverse effects on human health.  A study published in the Lancet, an international medical journal, decisively demonstrates that there is nothing to fear from trace levels of mercury in fish.  The Lancet study intensively examined women and their children in the Seychelles islands — where they eat fish with the same levels of mercury as the fish consumed in the United States.  But they eat about 10 times as much fish as the typical American.

Putting U.S. mercury emissions in perspective:  While severe regulation of mercury emissions from U.S. power plants may be justified by politics and/or ideology, it is not at all justified by the present science.

Mothers, Babies and Mercury:  Whether they come from the U.S. FDA or special interest groups, warnings about methylmercury-contaminated fish endangering the health of our babies and children are alarming.  But the evidence contrasts greatly from the fearmongering — regardless of the source.

Fishy Mercury Warning:  The FDA just issued a new warning to pregnant women about mercury in seafood.  You can "protect your baby" from developmental harm by following three rules, claims the FDA.  But there's no evidence that the rules will protect anyone and they're only likely to foster undue concern about an important part of our food supply.

Enviros Exploit Mother's Day With Mercury Scare:  U.S. power plants (search) simply aren't a major source of mercury emissions.  About 14.3 million pounds of mercury are released into the atmosphere annually, according to figures from the Electric Power Research Institute.  Of that amount, about 9.5 million pounds are from natural sources (ocean outgassing and terrestrial flux) and about 4.8 million pounds are manmade emissions.  Only about 6 percent of the manmade emissions come from the U.S.

EPA Proposes Mercury Limits.  More than half the mercury in the environment comes from natural sources.  U.S. power plants account for only 1 percent of global environmental mercury, according to the Center for Science and Public Policy. Scientists monitor mercury levels because as mercury settles in oceans and freshwater sources, it is absorbed by fish, and their heightened mercury levels are passed up the food chain to humans.  Although environmental activist groups charge that mercury causes neurological damage in humans, recent studies suggest present mercury levels are not harmful.

Proposed Utility Mercury Reductions and Interstate Air Quality Rules.  According to the EPA, mercury emissions and their presence in the air are strongly trending downward (as are all other pollutants), and are expected to keep falling due to technological change and implementation of current standards, even without new legislation.

MoveOn.org — Wrong on Terrorism, Wrong on Mercury.  What do al Qaeda and mercury pollution have in common?  Clinton appointees who did little about them are now claiming in MoveOn.org political TV ad campaigns that, thanks to George Bush, both threaten your health.

Alaska Disputes EPA Mercury Guidelines.  Alaskan health officials are telling state residents they can safely exceed federal health advisories for eating fish caught in the state.  Four officials of the Epidemiology Section of the Alaska Division of Public Health published an article on the topic in the March 2005 issue of The American Journal of Public Health, claiming the federal government's precautionary approach to mercury may be causing state residents more harm than good.

U.S. Senate Squelches Mercury Panic.  The EPA study notes, "Human-caused U.S. mercury emissions are estimated to account for roughly 3 percent of the global total, and U.S. coal-fired power plants are estimated to account for only about 1 percent."  Importantly, mere exposure to mercury isn't necessarily harmful.  Despite much research, opponents of the Bush mercury rules could not identify a single study that credibly links typical exposures to mercury directly to any sort of health effect.

Mercury in Fish is Not Dangerous, Study Shows.  New data gathered from 700 children who were exposed to nearly unprecedented levels of mercury while in their mothers' wombs show the extremely heightened levels of mercury have caused no medical problems.  For the past 15 years, scientists have been following the 700 children on the tiny island nation of Seychelles, Africa, whose mothers ate tremendous amounts of high-mercury fish while pregnant.  All the mothers ate high-mercury fish daily, resulting in blood mercury levels six times higher than those of U.S. women.

Pelosi's Green House:  A 20-watt CFL [compact fluorescent light] emits as much light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb.  But, unlike Thomas Edison's creation, each CFL contains about 5 milligrams of mercury.  On New Year's Eve, you could have confused the town of Carmel, N.Y., with Chernobyl when a reported 100 firefighters, many in hazmat suits, responded to a 911 call regarding a broken rectal thermometer.

Congress sends mercury export ban to president.  The House on Monday [9/29/2008] sent to President Bush a bill sponsored by Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama that would eventually ban the export of elemental mercury.  The United States is one of the world's biggest exporters of mercury ... . In the 2000-2004 period the United States exported 506 more metric tons than it imported and the legislation notes that the export ban would have a notable affect [sic] on the market availability of elemental mercury.

Sweden to ban mercury.  Mercury is to be banned in Sweden starting June 1st, environment minister Andreas Carlgren has announced.  The ban prohibits products containing the heavy metal from being brought to market in Sweden.  "Mercury is now dead and buried," Carlgren said.

$50,000 to clean up a two-ounce mercury spill.  Here is the headline in my local newspaper today:  "Mercury Removal from T.F. [Twin Falls, Idaho] Apartment complex results in $50,000 bill."  That's right — fifty grand.  Two ounces of mercury were found in the road that leads into an apartment complex.  It cost local, state, and the federal governments $50,000 to clean up the two ounce catastrophe.

EPA to limit emissions of mercury, other harmful pollutants from boilers, incinerators.  The Obama administration says 5,000 deaths could be prevented each year under new rules announced Friday to limit the amount of mercury and other harmful pollutants released by industrial boilers and solid waste incinerators.

The Editor says...
The people who are so terribly concerned about the slightest trace of mercury in the air are the same people who want us all to quit using incandescent bulbs and switch to compact fluorescent bulbs — which contain mercury!

Mercury is not a major public health problem.  Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is ubiquitous in the environment.  It is also produced during some manufacturing processes and is emitted by coal-fired electric generation plants.  Naturally occurring mercury emissions dominate the world mercury "budget," with power plants in the U.S. contributing no more than a fraction of 1 percent of annual global mercury emissions into the air.  Mercury emissions from industrial sources in the U.S. have fallen by 90 percent since the 1970s.  Power plants are responsible for about 40 percent of remaining emissions.

On the other hand...
The Mercury Threat — Again.  One of the remarkable things about human achievement is how it resonates, continuing to be influential long after its first impact, even after its creator's life is ended.  A case in point can be found in the work of W. Eugene Smith. ... What do Smith's photographs have to tell us today?  Quite a bit, actually, and more than you might think of photos four decades old.  Because we've come full circle as far as pollution goes.  At the time, the task was to separate people from dangerous pollutants such as mercury.  But today, mercury in threatening amounts is being returned to the home environment in the form of pigtail fluorescent bulbs, supposedly to fulfill the same environmental imperative as at Minamata.  Although the circumstances have changed, the basics remain the same:  the arrogance and indifference of politicians, the bullheadedness of special interests.

More about fluorescent light bulbs.


Radon:

This subsection has moved to this page.


Saccharin:

Saccharin:  In studies rats given very high doses of saccharin developed bladder cancer, so the FDA required saccharin to be labeled as a possible carcinogen.  Later research demonstrated that saccharin caused bladder cancer in rats through a mechanism that was not present in human beings.

Sweetener Is Safe, Government Panel Says.  A Government advisory group has voted to give a clean bill of health to the artificial sweetener saccharin, which, despite its pink-packeted presence on restaurant tables everywhere, has been classified since 1981 as a suspected cause of cancer.

Saccharin May Be Delisted From NIH's Carcinogen List.  A synthetic compound derived from coal tar, saccharin was discovered in 1879 by a student researcher at Johns Hopkins University. Its tantalizing commercial appeal as a noncaloric sugar substitute — it is 300 times sweeter than sugar — was obvious from the start.


Cyclamates:

You're probably too young to remember when soft drinks contained cyclamates, but I remember noticing that such products tasted a lot better before cyclamates were banned in the U.S.  That happened on October 18, 1969*, for the same reason as saccharin, that is, the development of bladder cancer in rats who were given massive doses of the stuff.  But it is still in use in many other seemingly civilized countries, including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.*

Are Artificial Sweeteners Really That Bad for You?.  Too much sugar will make you fat, but too much artificial sweetener will ... do what exactly?  Kill you?  Make you thinner?  Or have absolutely no effect at all?  This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Food and Drug Administration's decision to ban cyclamate, the first artificial sweetener prohibited in the U.S., and yet scientists still haven't reached a consensus about how safe (or harmful) artificial sweeteners may be.


Aspartame:

Aspartame:  Although there is no credible evidence that aspartame (best known by the brand name Nutrasweet) causes health problems, almost from the day it was approved by the FDA there has been a small group of people claiming it causes everything from brain cancer to Gulf War Syndrome.

Artificial sweetener cleared of cancer link.  A huge federal study in people — not rats — takes the fizz out of arguments that the diet soda sweetener aspartame might raise the risk of cancer.


Salmon:

Salmon:  Health food or pink poison?  Like alcohol and chocolate before it, salmon is now the subject of contradictory science.  So what is the bewildered, bemused consumer to do, pelted with so many admonitions about what to eat, what not to eat, and how to eat it?

Farm salmon fiasco joins history of food scares.  We have a rich history of health scares, great trumped-up phony hazards that supposedly lurk in our food and environment.  Cancer-causing agents, identified by the thousands, march through the media almost daily.  The big ones—from electromagnetic fields to alar to PCBs and trans fats—linger for years in the public mind before they eventually fade.  Sometimes whole industries are wiped out or are traumatized.

Eco-Extremism, Not Science, Behind Fishy Salmon Scare.  Junk science doesn't get too much fishier than last week's scary headlines about farmed salmon being a cancer risk.  Farmed salmon is so contaminated with PCBs, dioxins and other "toxic" chemicals, reported the news media, that it shouldn't be consumed more than once per month.  It was gullible media alarmism run amok as even the "scientists" whose much-reported study appeared in the Jan. 9 issue of "Science" plainly acknowledged there was no factual basis for concern.

Scientists Expose Fishy Warnings about Farmed Salmon.  An article in the January 9 issue of Science magazine warned readers against eating more than one serving of farm-raised salmon a month, claiming the fish present a cancer risk.  Scientists quickly responded, however, with evidence showing the health benefits of eating farm-raised salmon substantially outweigh any hypothetical health risks.

Catch of the Day:  Politically Correct Fish.  If you read a recent Associated Press article about a seafood distributor called EcoFish, you may have thought a fishmonger that "helps people make meals that reflect their morals" was too good to be true.  Look a little closer, however, and you'll find that this New Hampshire company is a perfect example of "black marketing."


Freon:

Behind the Freon Frenzy:  The impending refrigerant ban is based on faulty science.

Ozone and Freon Fraud:  The major costs of government regulations to the Appliance Industry in the early nineties were related to the elimination of Freon, both from foam insulation and sealed refrigeration systems.  The excuse used by the EPA for the ban on Freon was it somehow seeps into the atmosphere and depletes the Ozone in our air.  There is no scientific data available, in or out of government, to describe this "claimed" process. ... Freon, the "villain", is an odorless, tasteless, chemically neutral substance, which is HEAVIER THAN AIR, and by the laws of physics cannot rise into the atmosphere.  If is spilled on the ground, it will settle in the soil and become plant food.


Stratospheric ozone depletion:

Ozone hole over Antarctic 2nd smallest in two decades.  The seasonal hole in the ozone layer above the Antarctic this year was the second smallest in two decades, but still covered an area roughly the size of North America, US experts said.

Effect of Environmentalists Crying Wolf Over Ozone Thinning Appear.  Adoption of environmentalism for political and religious agenda falsely identifies good and evil.  Worst is the claim that humans are evil and don't belong on the planet.  Anti-humanity is a fundamental theme typified by the Club of Rome's 1974 comment that "The Earth has cancer and the cancer is man."  The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says we must act even with inadequate evidence.  Societies acted on insufficient and incorrect evidence about ozone; now negative side effects appear and children, who they claim to protect, are affected.

Holes in the Recent Arctic Ozone Hole Story.  There are frequent stories of impending doom.  If it isn't new it's a recycled one, which works because few understood the original story was false.  This allows exploiters to take normal events and present them as abnormal.  A recent Canadian story identifies a hole in the Arctic ozone.  How can this be?  Wasn't the problem identified and resolved with the 1987 international agreement, the Montréal Protocol?

Arctic Ozone Hole Enlarged by Severe Cold Spell.  Atmospheric chemists measuring ozone depletion above the Arctic have found that 2011's hole is the largest ever, due to an unusually long cold spell.

The Editor says...
Aha!  The ozone hole was enlarged by natural forces, not aerosol sprays or any other human activity.  What the stratosphere really needs is a few degrees of global warming!

Huge Arctic Ozone Hole Leaves Scientists Gaping.  The science journal Nature is making headlines this week with news of the largest hole in the ozone layer over the North Pole in history, rivaling the size of its well known Antarctic cousin.  Researchers credit this "unprecedented Arctic ozone loss" to "unusually long-lasting cold conditions" in the stratosphere at a time when their colleagues are in turmoil over melting Arctic sea ice a few miles below, supposedly caused by man-made global warming.  Of course, humans are also responsible for the chilly stratosphere, they say.

Silent Spring II.  Asthma patients who rely on over-the-counter inhalers will need to switch to prescription-only alternatives as part of the federal government's latest attempt to protect the Earth's atmosphere.  The action is part of an agreement signed by the U.S. and other nations to stop using substances that deplete the ozone layer, a region in the atmosphere that helps block harmful ultraviolet rays from the Sun.  Obama may have gone too far this time.

Obama Administration to Ban Asthma Inhalers Over Environmental Concerns.  Remember how Obama recently waived new ozone regulations at the EPA because they were too costly?  Well, it seems that the Obama administration would rather make people with Asthma cough up money than let them make a surely inconsequential contribution to depleting the ozone layer.

The Tea Party, Right About Everything.  [Scroll down]  The EPA now has power to regulate every use of fossil fuels in this country, as well as every breath we take, if they so deem.  What will it do with that power?  You get to guess.  If you think it wouldn't do anything too stupid, know that the FDA just outlawed common inhalers for asthma sufferers.  Their reason was, get this, those inhalers are blamed for contributing to upper-atmosphere ozone loss.  Even if you think CFCs contribute to ozone loss, how much do you think the CFCs released by asthma inhalers have to do with it?

Spending billions on a non-existent problem.  There are no holes in the ozone, there were none when it became a political issue in the 1990s and there are none today.  This is not an issue of semantics, but an important fact in the relationship between scientific accuracy and the public perception and political reaction.

Scientists say the ozone layer shows signs of recovery.  The ozone layer is showing signs of recovering, thanks to a drop in ozone-depleting chemicals, but it is unlikely to stabilize at pre-1980 levels, researchers said on Wednesday [5/3/2006].

Ozone and Radon:  The Real Story.  A headline in September 2000 read, "Ozone hole over Antarctica unusually large, U.N. says."  The headline was false.  Thinning of the ozone layer occurred perhaps one to two weeks earlier than normal, but no measurements had even been taken of the size of the area.  Who is held responsible for lying to the public — the United Nations weather agency, the news media, or both?  The answer is, nobody is ever held responsible for such lies. … Popular stories about ozone fail to mention the beneficial effect of UV radiation in metabolizing calcium into bone structures of land animals, including humans.

The Ozone Hole Is Bigger Than Ever.  If you haven't heard anything about the ozone hole over Antarctica lately it isn't because it has gone away.  Quite the contrary.  Despite the fact that the chlorofluorocarbons, CFCs, that were supposed to be causing it have been banned for many years, the Antarctic ozone hole, whose appearances were largely responsible for the international decision to ban the use of CFCs, is bigger than ever.

Should We Worry About Ozone?  The theory of large-scale depletion caused by human use of CFCs is not yet supported by solid scientific evidence.  It is not clear that stratospheric ozone is being significantly depleted worldwide, or that any depletion that may have occurred is permanent.  Stratospheric ozone fluctuates so dramatically that it is almost impossible to define a long-term, statistically significant trend.

Ozone Depletion:  Although environmental pressure groups have made exaggerated claims that the stratospheric ozone layer is being eaten away by chlorofluorocarbons (most notably Freon) wafting into space, scientists have yet to see any increase of solar ultraviolet radiation at the Earth's surface.  Actually, even the worst-case scenario would have resulted in only a minor increase in UV — one you could experience by driving just 60 miles closer to the equator.  Nevertheless, the Bush Administration hastily imposed a ban on CFC production, costing U.S. consumers up to $100 billion.

Five Scientific Questions on the CFC-Ozone Issue

Stratospheric Ozone Depletion:  10 Years After Montreal.  The decision to phase out methyl bromide is curious, and seems to be ideologically motivated.  About two-thirds of methyl bromide present in the atmosphere is of natural origin.  No one has yet observed an increasing trend of bromine in the stratosphere, which would indicate a human influence.  In addition, the atmospheric lifetime of methyl bromide is less than one year.  If a problem should arise, production can be stopped and anthropogenic methyl bromide will rapidly disappear from the atmosphere.

A Critique of the UN Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion.  There is no credible evidence for a long-term upward trend of ultraviolet radiation at the earth's surface.  A fair evaluation of the recent theory and of stratospheric observations leads to the conclusion that chlorine from CFCs is not the principal factor leading to ozone destruction below 25 km, where most of the ozone is located.  Water, in the form of vapor or ice particles, and sulfates in the form of aerosols may play a more important role.

The Ozone-CFC Debacle:  Hasty Action, Shaky Science.  In spite of the hardships caused by the hasty phaseout of CFCs and other suspected ozone-depleting halocarbons, the EPA has never questioned the adequacy of the science that forms the basis for its phaseout policy.  The facts are that the scientific underpinnings are quite shaky:  the data are suspect; the statistical analyses are faulty; and the theory has not been validated.

Antarctic ice threatened by ozone-hole recovery.  Recovery of the ozone hole above Antarctica could warm the Antarctic and cause more ice to melt in coming decades, researchers say.  As the ozone hole heals, wind patterns that shield the interior of the polar region from warm air may break down, causing warming in the Antarctica as well as warmer and drier conditions in Australia.

Why climate change is hot hot hot.  Remember the ozone layer?  It was all the rage back in the old days.  It was caused by spray-on deodorants, apparently.  So we packed 'em in, and switched over to roll-on deodorants.  And, because we forswore the sinful spraying of armpits, the hole began to heal.  Which is tough on the Antarctic ice cap.  Because the only reason it isn't melting is because the ozone hole isn't fully closed up.  Once it is, more hot air will remain trapped and melt the ice.  It may be time to start spraying your armpit hair again.

The CFC Ban:  Global Warming's Pilot Episode.  Although it has been only a little over twenty years since the Montreal Protocol, which effectively created a global ban on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the interesting history of the ozone hole has slipped under the radar, largely eclipsed by the much greater story of the anthropogenic global warming fraud.  It's interesting to revisit the CFC/ozone depletion scam and note the striking similarities to the current campaign against CO2.

Cold Weather Destroying Ozone in the Arctic.  Did you know that cold weather had anything to do with the so-called "ozone hole"?  "Usually in cold winters we observe that about 25% of the ozone disappears, but this winter was really a record — 40% of the column has disappeared," said Dr Florence Goutail from the French National Centre for Scientific Research.  "Research by Markus Rex from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany suggests that winters that stand out as being cold in the Arctic stratosphere are getting colder."  "For the next few decades, the [Arctic ozone] story is driven by temperatures, and we don't understand what's driving this [downward] trend," he said.

This article is highly speculative and makes specious, presumptuous assertions about facts not in evidence.
How summer thunderstorms could be punching new holes in the ozone layer.  [Scroll down]  The team makes no attempt to project when significant erosion might be expected to occur.  And researchers have yet to make the measurements that would confirm that the reactions the study describes are occurring.


Those evil gas-guzzling SUV's:

Let me refer you to this page about Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.


Vinyl and PVC:

PVC Toys are Safe.

Anti-vinyl Coalition Seeks Ban on Intravenous Medical Supplies.  If it's bad for laboratory rats, then it must be bad for humans, the old song goes.  The latest environmental group singing that tune is Healthcare Without Harm, a Washington, DC coalition of 140 environmental, health, and activist groups that recently launched a campaign to eliminate the use of vinyl medical products such as intravenous (IV) bags and tubing.


Teflon:

The Top Ten Unfounded Health Scares of 2006.  [#6] Teflon Contains a Cancer-Causing Chemical (PFOA):  Research has shown that very high doses of PFOA can cause harm to animals, but the amount of PFOA to which the general population is exposed is much lower.  While further research is needed in order to more fully understand how PFOA acts in the body, the current data indicate that we can expect no risk to human health associated with the levels of PFOA exposure found in the general population.

Teflon accusation doesn't stick.  Teflon has recently gone from the frying pan into the fire, thanks to some money-hungry lawyers.  They've cooked up a scary story, adding a dollop of hyperbole for good measure.  Unfortunately, they left out common sense and science.

Claims against Teflon simply don't stick.  For anyone who cooks but doesn't like scrubbing, Teflon is a wonder product.  Before Teflon, washing a pan or pot was among the most disagreeable of tasks.  Cleaning up is a very different task in today's post-Teflon world.  There are even some unintended health and safety benefits from Teflon kitchenware.  You can cook using less fat, grease, or oil.  Doing so is better for your heart.  There's also less chance of fire.


Nuclear energy:

This very large subsection has moved to this page.


Low-level radiation:

This subsection has also moved to this page.


Good old oil and natural gas:

(See also Hydraulic fracturing of shale).

A useful pipeline spill in Arkansas.  The environmentalists who were waging a losing war against the proposed Keystone pipeline woke up to the news of a small pipeline leak in Arkansas and thought it was Christmas morning.  If environmentalists were the praying kind, they would say the Arkansas leak was an answer to their prayers.  They think it ends the debate over the Keystone pipeline.

The Editor says...
Sometimes pipes leak, but railroad cars leak more often.  The ocean floor leaks oil continuously.

Peak Oil Cult Is Proved Spectacularly Wrong.  In December, U.S. oil exports hit a record of 3.6 million barrels per day, thanks in part to soaring domestic petroleum production.  Last year, domestic natural gas production averaged 69 billion cubic feet per day, a record, and a 33% increase over the levels achieved back in 2005.  That year, Lee Raymond, the famously combative former CEO of ExxonMobil, declared that "gas production has peaked in North America."

How Fossil Fuels Saved Humanity from Nature and Nature from Humanity.  Nothing can be made, transported, or used without energy, and fossil fuels provide 80 percent of mankind's energy and 60 percent of its food and clothing.  Thus, absent fossil fuels, global cropland would have to increase by 150 percent to meet current food demand, but conversion of habitat to cropland is already the greatest threat to biodiversity.  By lowering humanity's reliance on living nature, fossil fuels not only saved humanity from nature's whims, but nature from humanity's demands.

Where is the evidence for EPA's claims?  [By implementing the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule,] EPA claims it will "protect hundreds of millions of Americans, providing up to $280 billion in benefits by preventing tens of thousands of premature deaths, asthma and heart attacks, and millions of lost days of school or work due to illness," because of the cleanup of mercury, sulfur and nitrogen oxides, and other emissions.  Exactly where did the EPA come up with these incredible health benefits?

Energy Myths of the Left.  From confused "peak oil" theorists to confused Congressmen, it's all but impossible to hear a discussion of US energy policy without hearing the left's tired refrain:  "The United States currently uses 25% of the world oil production but has only 2% of world reserves."  The left uses this misinformation to argue against domestic oil drilling, claiming that with only two percent of the world's reserves, we can't possibly have enough oil in the ground to matter. ... [Mark] Twain would be proud of these haters of fossil fuels whose "statistics" fall apart upon examination of a couple of definitions and a few pieces of data.

Peak oil:  Although supporters of peak oil theory are correct that new oil discoveries over the last several decades have been smaller than in the past, it is unknown how much crude oil is yet to be discovered.  Predictions about hitting peak oil in the near term might be correct, but there are at least four reasons for optimism that they are not.  First, high oil prices induce more exploration by oil companies.

Everything you've heard about fossil fuels may be wrong.  According to the conventional wisdom, the U.S. and other industrial nations must undertake a rapid and expensive transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy for three reasons:  The imminent depletion of fossil fuels, national security and the danger of global warming.  What if the conventional wisdom about the energy future of America and the world has been completely wrong?

Defining "Clean" is the Energy Challenge.  A recent analysis by the non-profit media outlet ProPublica demonstrates the lobbying melee over clean that is certain to undermine any attempts at long-term investment.  Its "report" on natural gas combined and skewed various reports by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make faulty assertions about the comparative environmental impact of natural gas versus coal — claiming some natural gas supplies were only marginally cleaner than their much dirtier energy cousin, coal.  The EPA quickly refuted this claim, which has now been thoroughly debunked.

Sea Life Flourishes in the Gulf.  The catastrophists were wrong (again) about the Deep Water Horizon oil spill.  There have been no major fish die-offs.  On the contrary, a comprehensive new study says that in some of the most heavily fished areas of the Gulf of Mexico, various forms of sea life, from shrimp to sharks, have seen their populations triple since before the spill.  Some species, including shrimp and croaker, did even better.

All The News That Is Unfit to Print.  [Example #3]  The Gulf Oil Hysteria:  We were told that aquatic life in the Gulf of Mexico would be ruined for generations.  Offshore drilling in general was now to become obsolete and synonymous with environmental catastrophe.  Drilling was stopped in the gulf.  Prophets of doom assured us of the scary Exxon Valdez comparisons.  And yet life returned to normal, without much discussion of the absence of permanent damage or why the horror stories proved not so horrific.

Fossil Fuel is Nuclear Waste.  California is blessed with interesting place names from its multicultural heritage.  Pismo Beach is named after the Chumah Indian word for 'globs of tar' due to natural Hydrocarbon outflow found on this beach.  The Spanish Portola Expedition in 1769 discovered "molten geysers of tar" at the present day La Brea tar pits in downtown Los Angeles.  La Brea is Spanish for tar.  Tar still oozes from the ground at La Brea, down now to about 10 gallons per day.  Globs of tar still wash up at Pismo Beach, but are now blamed on man's failed drilling or shipping efforts.

Gaia's Oil Spills.  According to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, between 1985 and 2001, spills from offshore platforms and pipelines accounted for only 2% of the oil released in U.S. waters. ... Nature, not man, is by far the largest contributor of oil into the marine environment.  In the Gulf of Mexico, natural oil seeps account for 95% of offshore oil, the National Academy of Sciences reports.  In Southern California, they contribute 98% of the crude in the offshore zone.  Those same natural seeps are responsible for 60% of the oil found in the North American marine environment.

The Environmental Benefits of Offshore Drilling:  Louisiana produces almost 30 percent of America's commercial fisheries.  Only Alaska (ten times the size of the Bayou state) produces slightly more.  So obviously, Louisiana's coastal waters are immensely rich and prolific in seafood.  These same coastal waters contain 3,200 of the roughly 3,700 offshore production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.  From these, Louisiana also produces 25 percent of America's domestic oil, and no major oil spill has ever soiled its coast.  So for those interested in evidence over hysterics, by simply looking bayou-ward, a lesson in the "environmental perils" of offshore oil drilling presents itself very clearly.

Offshore Oil Drilling; an Environmental Bonanza.  [Scroll down]  A study by LSU's Sea Grant college shows that 85 percent of Louisiana fishing trips involve fishing around these platforms.  The same study shows 50 times more marine life around an oil production platform than in the surrounding Gulf bottoms.  An environmental study (by apparently honest scientists) revealed that urban runoff and treated sewage dump 12 times the amount of petroleum into the Gulf than those thousands of oil production platforms.  And oil seeping naturally through the ocean floor into the Gulf, where it dissipates over time, accounts for 7 times the amount spilled by rigs and pipelines in any given year.

The Natural Gas Crisis:  Greens Engineer Another Disaster.  Most Americans don't know it, but the price of natural gas has increased as much as 700% in the last three years. … It's not that there aren't huge amounts of natural gas.  The problem is that access to it has been effectively blocked.  "We're not running out of natural gas, and we're not running out of places to look for natural gas," says Keith Rattie, president of Questar, an energy developer.  "However, we are running out of places we are allowed to look for gas."  Why do you think that is?

Montana Voters Favor Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Recovery.  A majority of Montana voters favor increased production of oil and natural gas in the Rocky Mountains, according to a December [2003] poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc.  The poll results may suggest a growing consensus among Western voters that energy production is not necessarily at odds with environmental concerns.

The future of oil:  Oil over $40 a barrel accelerates exploration for new fields, and development of known but technologically inaccessible fields, including some fields four miles below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, where there may be at least 25 billion barrels.

Discovering oil:  Predictably, the recent rise in oil prices has the usual doom-and-gloom crowd, which has consistently been wrong for 30 years, out saying once again that this proves we are running out of oil and that severe curbs on gasoline consumption must be imposed to preserve what little is left for future generations.  They need not worry.  There is growing evidence that oil is far more plentiful than we have been led to believe.

Environmentalists Still Can't Get It Right.  In 1885, the U.S. Geological Survey announced that there was "little or no chance" of oil being discovered in California, and a few years later they said the same about Kansas and Texas.  In 1939, the U.S. Department of the Interior said American oil supplies would last only another 13 years.  In 1949, the secretary of the interior said the end of U.S. oil supplies was in sight.  Having learned nothing from its earlier erroneous claims, in 1974 the U.S. Geological Survey advised us that the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas.

How much oil lies beneath the Earth's crust?  In the 1970s, the consensus turned grim again:  oil production would peak in the mid-1980s and then drop precipitously.  A famous CIA report predicted the "rapid exhaustion" of accessible fields, while President Jimmy Carter warned that oil wells were "drying up all over the world." … Now doomsday forecasts are back, predicting the end of oil in this decade or the next.

Are We Out of Gas?  Let's get a little historical perspective.  In 1914, the U.S. Bureau of Mines predicted American oil reserves would last merely a decade.  In both 1939 and 1951, the Interior Department estimated oil supply at only 13 years.  "We could use up all of the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade," declared President Jimmy Carter gloomily in 1977.  In fact, the earliest claim that we were running out of oil dates back to 1855 — four years before the first well was drilled!

An oil 'crisis'?:  part II.  Soaring oil prices have revived the old bogeyman that the world is running out of oil. … This has been a worldwide phenomenon.  At the end of the 20th century, the known reserves of petroleum in the world were more than ten times what they were in the middle of the 20th century — despite an ever-growing use of oil.

Redesigning trucks in Washington:  Since 58 percent of the oil we use is imported, while only 40 percent goes into cars, SUVs, vans and pickups, it follows that we would still be importing millions of barrels a day even if there were no passenger cars or trucks.

Arctic oil:  Facts versus Fiction.  The truth is that the latest U.S. Geological Survey estimates are that the entire "1002 Area" contains up to 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil.  If found, this oil could replace all of our imports from Saudi Arabia for more than 30 years!  The reserve could prevent our dependence on foreign oil from getting any worse for decades.  Rather than being 56 percent dependent like we are now, it could cut our dependence to around 50 percent, according to the Energy Information Agency.

Much more about ANWR is on this page.


Oil spills:

Oil Is Not the Problem.  John Robinson is the sort of man whose views on matters scientific and environmental must be taken seriously.  His conclusions on oil spills, based on long experience, do not comport with environmentalist orthodoxy, to say the least.


Second-hand Smoke:

Two stories in one: No link found between secondhand smoke and lung cancer; and no one seems to care.  Although numerous studies seeking to find strong (or any) evidence of a link between SHS (secondhand smoke, or "passive smoking") and lung cancer have failed to find such, the popular wisdom (shared by most scientists) is that SHS is indeed a cause of lung cancer.  One reason for this widespread mythology is the failure of news media — both general and scientific — to take note of these studies.

Passive smoking — another of the Nanny State's big lies.  Between 1959 and 1989 two American researchers named James Enstrom and Geoffrey Kabat surveyed no few than 118,094 Californians.  Fierce anti-smoking campaigners themselves, they began the research because they wanted to prove once and for all what a pernicious, socially damaging habit smoking was. [...] Much to their surprise, Kabat and Enstrom discovered that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ie passive smoking), no matter how intense or prolonged, creates no significantly increased risk of heart disease or lung cancer.

A look at the evidence behind outdoor smoking bans.  Prohibition on smoking in parks and on beaches has three justifications, according to two Columbia University researchers, Ronald Bayer and Kathleen Bachynski.  Those are:  risk of secondhand smoke, pollution caused by cigarette butts and the risky role models smokers are to children.  "Our analysis of the evidence for these claims found it far from definitive and in some cases weak," the researchers wrote.  What they conclude is that what's behind the bans is an effort to "denormalize" smoking as part of an overall public health campaign.

Debate Rages Over Second-Hand Smoke:  Looking for a surer method of being ripped apart than entering a lion's den covered with catnip?  Conduct the most exhaustive, longest-running study on second-hand smoke and death.  Find no connection.  And then, rather than being politically correct and hiding your data in a vast warehouse next to the Ark of the Covenant, publish it in one of the world's most respected medical journals.

Secondhand Smoke Fears Overstated, Study Finds.  A 38-year study of Californians, begun by the American Cancer Society and concluded by the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), has concluded that secondhand smoke has little if any negative impact on mortality.  The study, published in the May 17 issue of the British Medical Journal, throws cold water on the efforts of state and local governments to ban smoking in restaurants and other public places in the name of public health.

Scientific Evidence Shows Secondhand Smoke Is No Danger.  In 1992 EPA published its report, "Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking," claiming [second-hand smoke] is a serious public health problem, that it kills approximately 3,000 nonsmoking Americans each year from lung cancer, and that it is a Group A carcinogen (like benzene, asbestos, and radon). … [But] in November 1995 after a 20-month study, the Congressional Research Service released a detailed analysis of the EPA report that was highly critical of EPA's methods and conclusions.  In 1998, in a devastating 92-page opinion, Federal Judge William Osteen vacated the EPA study, declaring it null and void.  He found a culture of arrogance, deception, and cover-up at the agency.

Minn., Calif. tests prove secondhand smoke not a health hazard.  Air quality tests performed in Minnesota and California in smoke-filled bars and restaurants show that secondhand smoke may not be the major health hazard that some claim it is.  The Environmental Health Department in St. Louis Park, Minn., tested for trace levels of nicotine and found results between 1 and 33 micrograms of nicotine per cubic meter of air. ... This means not only is it not going to kill you to smell smoke once in a while, it isn't even going to have much of an effect on you.

Where's the Consensus on Secondhand Smoke?  More than a year has passed since U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona said, "The debate is over.  The science is clear:  Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard."  At the time, Carmona released a seemingly impressive 727-page report on secondhand smoke, the introduction of which claims secondhand smoke killed approximately 50,000 nonsmoking adults and children in 2005.  Carmona's report stated the new orthodoxy in the anti-smoking establishment:  There is a "consensus" on the dangers of secondhand smoke.  But did his report actually make the case?

Passive Smoke:  It is preposterous that those "scientists" who promote junk science studies such as this one are not exposed for the charlatans they really are.  Instead, they pass as if they were "scholars" dedicated to saving humanity, and they get big dollars and media credence!  The devastating part is that this incredible distortion is not an isolated case, but today it is almost the standard used for the most disparate issues, from pesticides, to plastic toys, to passive smoke, to food.

Stoking the Rigged Terror of Secondhand Smoke.  By any sensible account, the anachronism of the tobacco culture should be slated for extinction in an advancing civilization. Why must it happen under the tyranny of deception, when intelligent and transparent ways are available?  The mild and pleasurable addictivity of nicotine and a lurking black market have continued to frustrate the abolitionist crusade, and abolition will not work in the long run.

Scientific Evidence Shows Secondhand Smoke Is No Danger.  A well-recognized toxicological principle states, "The dose makes the poison."  Accordingly, we physicians record direct exposure to cigarette smoke by smokers in the medical record as "pack-years smoked" (packs smoked per day times the number of years smoked).  A smoking history of around 10 pack-years alerts the physician to search for cigarette-caused illness.  But even those nonsmokers with the greatest exposure to SHS probably inhale the equivalent of only a small fraction (around 0.03) of one cigarette per day, which is equivalent to smoking around 10 cigarettes per year.

Myocardial Infractions.  Six years ago, when I asked an epidemiologist about a report that a smoking ban in Helena, Montana, had cut heart attacks by 40 percent within six months, he thought the idea was so ridiculous that no one would take it seriously.  He was wrong.  Since then 10 other studies have attributed substantial short-term reductions in heart attacks to smoking bans, and last week an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee endorsed their findings.  But a closer look at the IOM report, which was commissioned by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests its conclusions are based on a desire to promote smoking bans rather than a dispassionate examination of the evidence.


Genetically modified crops and biotech foods:

Death Threats From Anti-GMO Nuts.  A new "Monsanto Collaborators" website created by millionaire organic activist Mike "the Health Ranger" Adams charges that hundreds of thousands of deaths have been caused by GMO crops, and that people who support genetically-modified organisms, like myself, Fox News's John Stossel and the former ABC Newsman Jon Entine, are guilty of mass genocide, and hence deserving of a punishment that befits our crime.  "Every 30 minutes, a farmer commits suicide due to GMO crop failures," Adams claims, blissfully unaware, apparently, that stories of mass suicide by farmers in India, perpetuated by another millionaire organic activist, Vandana Shiva, have been thoroughly debunked.  The suicide rate among Indian farmers began to increase years before GMO crops were introduced, and the rate of farmer suicides has remained constant since GMOs were introduced even as adoption of GMO crops across the Indian subcontinent has steadily increased.  Pesticide usage has decreased 40 percent, while yields and profits have increased.

Anti-GMO Activists Are Pro-Death Activists.  India's intelligence agency is targeting anti-GMO activists as a threat to the economy.  But officials in America remain willing to hold "dialogue" with the enemies of progress, hoping to arrive at a "consensus." [...] [H]aving never experienced mass starvation as Indian policy makers have, American policy makers are rushing to negotiate with the same food terrorists who banned DDT in 1972, the only effective means of controlling mosquitoes that spread malaria, a regulatory coup that resulted in more deaths than both world wars.

We Need G.M.O. Wheat.  Three crops — corn, soybeans and wheat — account for a vast majority of the value of America's agricultural crop output.  But wheat is different in one important respect.  While more than 90 percent of the nation's corn and soybean acres are now planted with seeds genetically engineered to resist insects, herbicides or both, there is not a single acre of genetically engineered wheat being grown commercially in the United States.

Study Linking Genetically Modified Corn to Rat Tumors Is Retracted.  Bowing to scientists' near-universal scorn, the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology today [11/29/2013] fulfilled its threat to retract a controversial paper claiming that a genetically modified (GM) maize causes serious disease in rats, after the authors refused to withdraw it.

Does Environmentalism Cause Amnesia?.  [Scroll down]  What does hurt people is bad public policy.  Exhibit A is the U.S. ethanol mandate — justified in part as a response to global warming — which diverted the corn crop to fuel production and sent global food prices soaring in 2008.  Exhibit B is the cult of organic farming and knee-jerk opposition to [genetically modified crops], which risk depriving farmers in poor countries of high-yield, nutrient-rich crops.  Exhibit C was the effort to ban DDT without adequate substitutes to stop the spread of malaria, which kills nearly 900,000 people, mostly children, in sub-Saharan Africa alone with each passing year.  The list goes on and on.

The Irrational Fear of GM Food.  Farmers can now produce more crops in an environmentally sustainable way at a lower cost thanks to the efforts of hundreds of scientists over the past half-century.  Seeds are developed in a laboratory and then field tested to enhance nutritional value or resistance to drought, disease and herbicides.  Genetically modified crops are now planted on nearly a quarter of the world's farm land by some 17.3 million farmers.  More than 90% of those farmers are smallholders who harvest a few acres in developing countries.

In Search of Frankencorn in Hawaii.  Hawaii is the epicenter of a ferocious anti-biotech campaign that aims to shut down such biotech seed production farms.  I was there to see for myself the Frankencorn that haunts the activists' choleric imaginations.  Anti-biotech signs and literature are festooned across the Hawaiian Islands.  The Crystals and Gems Gallery in Hanalei, for example, displayed several protest posters and offered fliers urging a ban on biotech crops.

Existing cropland could feed four billion more.  The world's croplands could feed 4 billion more people than they do now just by shifting from producing animal feed and biofuels to producing exclusively food for human consumption, according to new research from the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota.  Even a smaller, partial shift from crop-intensive livestock such as feedlot beef to food animals such as chicken or pork could increase agricultural efficiency and provide food for millions, the study says.

Top French court lifts ban on growing Monsanto GM corn.  In the second legal setback to French restrictions on MON810 corn in five years, the Council of State court said a moratorium imposed on the product since March 2012 failed to uphold European Union law.  Under EU rules, such a ban "can only be taken by a member state in case of an emergency or if a situation poses a major risk" to people, animals or the environment, it said.

Golden rice: Anti-GMO extremists refuse to let you decide.  What if one of the biggest problems in the developing world was a lack of vitamin A?  And what if you could engineer a crop that was a staple in most of that world that would provide sufficient vitamin A to prevent certain diseases, conditions and death: [...] You'd be a hero right?  You'd be hailed as someone who has vastly improved the lives and chances for millions.  Unless you ask Greenpeace.

The inconvenient truth about GM.  [Scroll down]  Early indications are that this could increase wheat yields by a dramatic 30 per cent.  The National Farmers' Union president, Peter Kendall, describes the potential as "just enormous".  And it is indeed the sort of breakthrough we desperately need, since — in little more than 35 years — the world will have to increase food production by a challenging 70 per cent if it is to feed its growing population.

Creation of new 'superwheat' grain hailed as biggest advance in farming in a generation.  A 'superwheat' created by British scientists could increase crop yields by up to a third.  In one of the biggest potential advances for farming in a generation, researchers have cross-bred modern wheat seed with ancient wild grass species to produce a more resilient, productive crop.  Researchers at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) said the new 'superwheat' could be combined with current varieties to boost drought tolerance, disease resistance, as well as their yield.

Benefits of Bt corn go beyond rootworm resistance.  Engineered to produce the bacterial toxin, Bt, "Bt corn" resists attack by corn rootworm, a pest that feeds on roots and can cause annual losses of up to $1 billion.  But besides merely protecting against these losses, the Bt trait has also boosted corn yields, in some cases beyond normal expectations.

A Golden Rice Opportunity.  Finally, after 12 years of delay caused by opponents of genetically modified (GM) foods, so-called "golden rice" with vitamin A will be grown in the Philippines.  Over those 12 years, about eight million children worldwide died from vitamin A deficiency.  Are anti-GM advocates not partly responsible?

Environmentalism and Human Sacrifice.  "Golden rice" contains vitamin A, making it by far the most effective and cheapest way to get vitamin A into Third World children.  So who would oppose something that could save millions of children's lives and millions of other children from blindness?  The answer is people who are more devoted to nature than to human life.  And who might such people be?  They are called environmentalists.

The Deadly Opposition to Genetically Modified Food.  Finally, after a 12-year delay caused by opponents of genetically modified foods, so-called "golden rice" with vitamin A will be grown in the Philippines.  Over those 12 years, about 8 million children worldwide died from vitamin A deficiency.  Are anti-GM advocates not partly responsible?

The Media Is Obsessed With Bad News.  GM means "genetically modified," which means scientists add genes, altering the plant's DNA, in this case to make the crop resistant to pests.  Last week, Poland joined seven other European countries in banning cultivation of GM foods.  The politicians acted because headlines screamed about how GM foods caused huge tumors in rats. [...] What the headlines don't tell you, though, is that the female Sprague-Dawley rats used in the test usually develop tumors -- 87 to 96 percent of the time.

An environmentalist's confession — I was wrong about genetically modified crops.  For the record, here and upfront, I apologize for having spent several years ripping up [genetically modified] GM crops.  I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonizing an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.  As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path.  I now regret it completely.

Save the Whales, Forget the Children.  Greenpeace's war on Golden Rice ignores science in the name of misguided activism.

Genetically modified foods: Why does California insist on finding a problem where nobody else does?  On the state's ballot in November, Californians will be voting on Proposition 37 — an initiative that would require all foods produced with or from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to carry mandatory warning labels.  Oh, sure, it all sounds well and good and simple enough, except that such a measure would impose significant expenses on (often small) businesses; would cost the way-past-completely-broke Californian government up to over a million dollars to regulate the practice; and, oh yeah — is completely pointless because there is not a single documented case of "adverse health consequences" due to genetically engineered foods.

GM Crops Saving Farm Economy from Drought.  An August 11 [2006] federal government crop report shows biotechnology is saving the Midwestern farm economy from devastation in the wake of this summer's prolonged drought.

They're trying to scare you.  The campaigners warning us we might end up with two heads after eating GM foods are ignoring the science that says it's good for you.  Let me prove how dead to reason are the state politicians now screaming that genetically modified crops could kill us.

Frankenstein food beats starvation.  As we eat our chips, hamburgers and milkshakes for lunch today, let's put the debate about genetically modified food into perspective.  We eat food laden in fats and preservatives largely without debate or complaint.  Yet the prospect of producing GM foods that could be drought resistant, grown without being heavily treated with pesticide and made more nutritious has caused a huge outcry.

GM Tomato Tastes Better.  Shoppers who miss the taste of farm-grown tomatoes may find solace in a new technology that puts back what generations of breeding for hardiness and shelf life have taken out.  A new variety of tomato has been genetically modified (GM) to produce geraniol, a rose-smelling compound found in fruits and flowers.  In a blind taste test, 60 percent of 37 testers preferred the flavor of the GM tomato, according to a study published online this week in Nature Biotechnology.

Beyond Jeremy Rifkin:  Crops made with gene-splicing techniques are currently grown by 8.5 million farmers in 21 countries on more than 100 million acres annually.  Americans have consumed more than a trillion servings of foods that contain gene-spliced ingredients.  Throughout all this experience, there is not a single documented case of injury to a person or disruption of an ecosystem.

Zambia Allows Its People To Eat.  Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa has finally ordered agricultural officials to allow GM corn into the country, greatly expanding the amount of food that will reach his country's under-nourished population.

Environmentalists Say:  Let My People Go … Hungry.  No environmentalist can point to a single person who's been killed or even injured by a genetically modified food.  Yet the entire world knows Africans die in large numbers due to starvation from famine, despotic governments and other preventable complications.  In sub-Saharan Africa alone, 34% of the population — 194 million people — reportedly goes hungry every day.

Biotech Advances Are Making Foods Healthier.  Most people know fish is one of the healthiest foods on the market.  Omega-3 fatty acids, abundant in fish and in little else, are proven to improve heart health, alleviate hypertension, ease arthritis, and lower cholesterol.  However, many people dislike the taste of fish … it generally does not lend itself to fast and easy cooking [and] fish can be relatively expensive for people on a limited budget. … Researchers at the University of Maryland announced in April that they have discovered a way to genetically modify soybeans to produce omega-3 fatty acids.

Activists Threaten World Food Supply.  When Kenyan biologist Florence Wambugu developed a virus-resistant sweet potato that promised to feed millions, the Earth Liberation Front destroyed her lab and her crops.  In another blow to scientific progress, eco-fanatics bombed a Minnesota plant genetics center to keep it from producing life-saving agricultural research.  When activists don't approve, poor people don't eat.

Biotechnology Beat the Drought in 2005.  After this past summer's drought in major corn-producing states, such as Indiana and Illinois, the U.S. corn harvest may establish 2005 as a hallmark year in the genetic modification of plants, industry experts said on September 29.  The federal government is predicting corn production this year will be the second-highest in U.S. history, despite the droughts.

California County Rejects Biotech Ban.  Sonoma County, California voters on November 8 soundly rejected a measure that would have banned cultivation in the county of genetically enhanced crops.  The defeat, 56 percent to 44 percent, was devastating to anti-biotech activists, whose best chances for biotechnology bans are in counties such as Sonoma, where genetically enhanced crops are virtually nonexistent.

California Fruits and Nuts Against Agriculture:  California's referendum process frequently leads to incredibly dumb issues appearing on the ballot — and to some preposterous outcomes.  Among the most egregious examples this year is Measure M, a Sonoma County anti-biotechnology proposal that would prohibit the cultivation of plants or seeds improved with state-of-the-art techniques.

Bugs Not Building Resistance to Biotech Crops.  The superbugs aren't showing up.  In a major disappointment for environmental activists, insects are not building up resistance to the genetically-engineered Bt corn and cotton that have been planted on millions of acres around the world since 1995.

Founder of "Green Revolution" Lauds GM Crops:  Norman Borlaug, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for launching the "Green Revolution" in agriculture that helped curb world hunger, appeared on National Public Radio March 26 to laud genetic modification in agriculture and caution against the organic farming movement.

Monsanto Caves to Activists on Biotech Wheat.  Is it better to feed the poor and make money, or appease Greenpeace and do neither?

Review of "The Frankenfood Myth".  In The Frankenfood Myth:  How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution, food safety experts Henry Miller and Gregory Conko have written a brilliant account of how self-interest, bad science, and excessive government regulation have profoundly compromised the potential of the new biotechnology.  This book is a call to action for policymakers to resist a destructive political process that is currently denying enormous potential benefits to consumers throughout the world.

Planting the seeds of misinformation:  In Europe, the public has become obsessed with the idea that genetically engineered foods are too risky for general consumption.  This uncertainty has been fueled by the distortion and misinformation spread by anti-biotechnology activists.  It is easy to mislead the public on the subject of genetic engineering, because most people are unsure of what genetic engineering is and why scientists consider it so important.

Greenpeace and Poverty:  Greenpeace activist Farida Akthen recently blasted the Bangladesh agricultural ministry for approving research on one of the most promising of all biotech miracles:  golden rice.  By adding a daffodil gene to ordinary rice, researchers gave it a golden color and enriched it with beta-carotene, which people can convert to vitamin A.  Simply by eating a few ounces of golden rice a day, malnourished children can ward off a vitamin deficiency that causes half a million kids to go blind every year and leaves hundreds of millions (including many thousands in Bangladesh) susceptible to disease, intellectual impairment and death.

Why Mandatory Biotech Food Labeling is Unnecessary:  Bioengineering and recombinant DNA techniques have been used to develop crops with traits that increase yields and allow farmers to reduce their use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides.  The technology has made substantial contributions to the production of safe, inexpensive, and healthy foods.  The next generation of products promises to provide even greater benefits to consumers, such as enhanced nutritional value and even foods that act as medicines.  Unfortunately, opponents of this safe and important technology have convinced many consumers that mandatory labeling of bioengineered foods is necessary to give them a choice when making purchasing decisions.  Mandatory biotechnology labeling … is not warranted scientifically, economically, or legally.  It could actually serve to mislead consumers, not provide them with important information.

Dr. Strangelunch — Why we should learn to stop worrying and love GM food.  Plant breeders using biotechnology have accomplished a great deal in only a few years.  For example, they have created a class of highly successful insect-resistant crops by incorporating toxin genes from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis.  Farmers have sprayed B.t. spores on crops as an effective insecticide for decades.  Now, thanks to some clever biotechnology, breeders have produced varieties of corn, cotton, and potatoes that make their own insecticide.  B.t. is toxic largely to destructive caterpillars such as the European corn borer and the cotton bollworm; it is not harmful to birds, fish, mammals, or people.

EPA and sound science validate biotech corn benefits.  Sound science has debunked yet another purported biotech scare, as the EPA on October 16 [2001] declared biotech corn perfectly safe for monarch butterfly consumption.  A 1999 study reported in the journal Nature claimed a high death rate among monarch caterpillar larvae fed milkweed leaves dusted with high doses of pollen from genetically modified corn.  The story was quickly trumpeted by the anti-technology lobby and the mainstream media as a stark warning against animal and human consumption of "Frankenfoods."

The Editor asks...
If your family is hungry, do you care about caterpillars?  When some leftist, tree-hugging, earth-worshipping hippie tells you that biotech corn endangers butterflies, the correct response is, "So what?"  There is no shortage of butterflies!

Spud growers face a decision.  Willing or not, U.S. potato growers are about to be joining corn, cotton, soybean and dairy producers in the biotech fray.  They have thus far avoided the fight only because they have refused to use the pest-resistant and high-starch GM varieties that have been available since 1999.  Processors, unwilling to subject their fast food customers to the "frankenfood" fruitcakes, refused to buy them.

New technology fights old pests, feeds more people.  When I started farming 30 years ago, I never dreamed of how technological progress would revolutionize agriculture.  We still can't control the weather.  Yet recent innovations in biotechnology have improved agriculture beyond anything I ever thought was possible.  We may even be on the verge of making another eternal scourge of farmers permanently obsolete.  I'm talking about pests.

GM Corn Protest Based on Bio-Fraud:  Environmental and consumer groups staged protests and held news conferences across the country in April [2002] to call attention to their claim, as one news release put it, that "the genetic contamination of Mexican native corn varieties threatens not only the genetic integrity of corn, one of the world's most important basic crops, but the food security for millions in the Americas."  The statement is false …and even its author knew it was false at the time it was written.  It is an example of bio-fraud, an all-too-common tactic of radical environmental groups.

U.S. Blames "Green Groups" for Food Shortage.  Environmental groups and biotech companies are accusing each other of exploiting starvation in much of southern Africa for political gain as countries in the region try to determine whether it is safe to use genetically engineered crops to relieve famine.

As the world begins to starve it's time to take GM seriously.  [Scroll down] It is a point stressed by crop experts such as Professor Chris Pollack of the University of Wales.  'To stop widespread starvation, we will either have to plough up the planet's last wild places to grow more food or improve crop yields.  GM technology allows farmers to do the latter — without digging up rainforests.  It is therefore perverse to rule out that technology for no good reason.  Yet it still seems some people are willing to do so.

German universities bow to public pressure over GM crops.  Scientists have decried the decision by two German universities to pull the plug on field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops, calling it a "disgraceful" interference with scientists' freedom to research.

GM crops needed in Britain, says minister.  Ministers are preparing to open the way for genetically modified crops to be grown in Britain on the grounds they could help combat the global food crisis.  Ministers have told The Independent that rocketing food prices and food shortages in the world's poorest countries mean the time is right to relax Britain's policy on use of GM crops.

GM crops:  not against nature.  The Prince of Wales is a man of social conscience who acts with complete propriety in intervening in public debate.  And his concern for the environment is scrupulously politically disinterested.  Unfortunately, his apocalyptic predictions of the effect of genetically modified crops do not enhance public debate, but degrade it.  He maintains that GM crops augur environmental catastrophe.

Green activists 'are keeping Africa poor'.  Western do-gooders are impoverishing Africa by promoting traditional farming at the expense of modern scientific agriculture, according to Britain's former chief scientist.  Anti-science attitudes among aid agencies, poverty campaigners and green activists are denying the continent access to technology that could improve millions of lives, Professor Sir David King will say today.

GM Grapes Raise Hopes for Midwest Wine Industry.  One of the most effective, widely used herbicides in the United States — known as 2, 4-D — has a serious drawback:  It devastates grapes.  That makes it very difficult to raise grapes in the Midwest, because 2, 4-D is widely used on popular staple food crops including corn and wheat, and it can harm grapes up to two miles away from its point of application.  Scientists, however, report a minor genetic modification of Midwestern grapes can make them resistant to 2, 4-D.

Germany to ban US biotech giant's genetically modified corn strain.  Germany has decided to ban genetically modified corn, Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner announced Tuesday [4/14/2009], amid concerns over its environmental and economical impact.

Biotech could save world wheat crops.  Norman Borlaug is the most decorated civilian in history — largely because he was able to cross-breed a super-wheat that fended off the stem rust fungus, which had historically stolen one-fourth of the world's wheat crops. ... Borlaug's wheat breeding success made him "the Father of the Green Revolution."  He and his fellow high-yield farming scientists saved 1 billion people from famine in the 1970s.

A Real Humanitarian.  Though [Norman] Borlaug has passed away, his Green Revolution needn't die.  Aggressive advancements in the research and use of genetically modified foods, which he supported, would carry on the good work he has done.  That would actually be the most fitting tribute to a man whose life was far more important than the legion of lesser lights who garnered much more attention.

Greens:  Apologize to High-Yield Farmers!  Studies show that modern farming techniques — reviled by environmentalists — not only saved billions from starvation, but are tremendously more eco-friendly than "organic" farming practices.

Somewhat related...
Congress bans FDA from approving genetically modified fish.  Genetically modified salmon will not go on sale in the U.S.  The House of Congress has voted to ban the Food and Drug Administration from passing the fish fit for human consumption.  The FDA had said last year that they thought the fish, which grows twice as fast as normal salmon, appeared to be safe.


Urban sprawl, landfill space, overpopulation, and finite natural resources:

The World's Resources Aren't Running Out.  How many times have you heard that we humans are "using up" the world's resources, "running out" of oil, "reaching the limits" of the atmosphere's capacity to cope with pollution or "approaching the carrying capacity" of the land's ability to support a greater population?  The assumption behind all such statements is that there is a fixed amount of stuff — metals, oil, clean air, land — and that we risk exhausting it through our consumption. [...] But here's a peculiar feature of human history:  We burst through such limits again and again.  After all, as a Saudi oil minister once said, the Stone Age didn't end for lack of stone.

Does Environmentalism Cause Amnesia?.  [Scroll down]  In case you're wondering what happened with that battle to feed humanity, the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization has some useful figures on its website.  In 1968, the year Mr. Ehrlich's book [The Population Bomb] first appeared, Asia produced 46,321,114 tons of maize and 439,579,934 of cereals.  By 2011, the respective figures had risen to 270,316,205, up 484%, and 1,289,633,254, up 193%.  It's the same story nearly everywhere else one looks.  In Africa, maize production was up 247% between 1968 and 2011, while production of so-called primary vegetables has risen 319%; in South America, it's 308% and 199%.  Meanwhile, the world's population rose to just under seven billion from about 3.7 billion, an increase of about 90%.  It is predicted to rise by another 33% by 2050.

EPA: Green Gone Wild.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to vastly expand its power.  Last year, the agency paid nearly $700,000 to the National Academy of Sciences to draft the document "Sustainability and the U.S. EPA."  This manifesto rationalizes why the EPA has the right to regulate every business, community and ecosystem in the country.  The key to the EPA's regulatory control is "sustainability," an illusive and ill-defined term even more broadly applicable than the interstate commerce clause.

National Heritage Sites and Agenda 21.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, how many single-family homes damaged by the storm surge will be rebuilt as high density dwellings?  This is after all, the Smart Growth trend across the country — destroy traditional homes in the suburbs because they are "unsustainable" and build high rises in inner cities.

President Obama shows his disdain for the suburbs:
Obama's Housing Agency Spending Millions to Transform Inner Cities Into 'Sustainable Communities'.  The Obama administration's effort to create government-sanctioned "sustainable communities" moved ahead this week, with the announcement of almost $5 million in planning grants.  Seventeen poor communities across the U.S. will share the $4.95 million to draft plans for the "next generation" of public housing and other "sustainable" neighborhood improvements, such as better schools, anti-crime efforts, and greater access to health care and grocery stores.  Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan said the "Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants" are intended to revitalize entire neighborhoods — "to improve the lives of the residents who live there."  In other words, the planned infrastructure improvements lean heavily on social engineering.

Overpopulation is a matter of perception.
Green and pleasant land.  The UK has a population density of 255 per square kilometre, placing it at number 13 out of 89 territories with a population of more than 9 million (figures from the UN).  Bangladesh is top of the list at 964 per km², while both the Netherlands and Rwanda come in at just over 400, India has 368 and Vietnam 255.  Clearly, the stage of development is no guide to how crowded a country is.  But there are other surprises.  China, with the world's largest population, has only 140/km², considerably lower than Italy (200/km²).

Quit worrying about "urban sprawl" and start worrying about federal stewardship.  One of the green movement's great gripes with humanity is that people just take up too much [...] room, and ergo put a lot of ecological stress on the land on which they live.  The ever-sprouting world population, they argue, isn't sustainable, as we'll eventually run out of space to put people.  A new graphic from Environmental Trends, however, aptly demonstrates how unfounded these fears are.

Earth is nearing its limits, U.N. says.  The Earth's environmental systems "are being pushed towards their biophysical limits," beyond which loom sudden, irreversible and potentially catastrophic changes, the United Nations Environment Program warned Wednesday [6/6/2012].

The Big Green Money Machine — how anti-fishing activists are taking over NOAA.  For the first time in at least a century, U.S. fishermen won't take too much of any species from the sea, one of the nation's top fishery scientists says."  This is from an article written by Jay Lindsay for the Associated Press and the top fishery scientist is Steve Murawski, who retired early in 2011 as Director of Scientific Programs and Chief Science Advisor at NOAA Fisheries.  So why are so-called "marine conservationists," ENGOs, the handful of billion dollar foundations that support them and the upper echelons at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce still claiming that radical surgery is needed to "save" our fisheries?

Growing Out of Poverty.  According to a just-published World Bank report, the percentage of people living on less than $1.25 per day — or its local equivalent — has plummeted from 52 percent of the global population in 1981 to 22 percent in 2008.  The World Bank doesn't provide more recent data, but other indices show that the 2008 financial crisis did not interrupt this trend.  For millions of households, crossing the symbolic $1.25 threshold means leaving destitution behind and moving toward a more dignified life — no trivial achievement.  Moreover, this escape from poverty happens while the global population continues to grow.  Doomsday prophets who warned about a ticking "population bomb" have not been vindicated, to say the least.  Global warming messiahs, beware:  human ingenuity proves able to cope with the predicaments of Mother Nature.

Welcome to Sustainable City.  As I walked through Washington, D.C. Ronald Reagan National Airport Terminal C on my way to the gate, a large electronic billboard caught my attention. ... Capturing the site on my iphone, the typical fare of environmentalism popped up, presenting Siemens as the leader in "sustainable development," "green buildings," "intelligent buildings," "smart grid," "sustainable urban development," "sustainable communities," "environmental care," and health care. ... Familiar with the UN Agenda 21 propaganda and its buzzwords preceded either by "sustainable" or "green" everything, in the name of saving the planet from human behavior, a clever and devious attempt to control every facet of human activity and life, I stopped immediately.

The Nazi Roots of Sustainable Development.  Much of the European Union's green sustainable development plans are largely based on government controlled land use planning theories rooted in the lebensraum tradition.  Literally, lebensraum means "living space."  Lebensraum was originally developed by German geographer Friedrich Ratzel (1844-1904) and then greatly expanded under the banner of National Socialism (1933-1945).

Come on in, the Earth Is Fine.  Last week the United Nations Population Fund released a report heralding the birth of the world's 7 billionth person.  The milestone is important, the United Nations explains, because their calculations now project that global population is likely to hit 9.3 billion by 2050 and could go as high as 15.8 billion by the end of the century.  As you might imagine, these dire warnings were greeted with eager and solicitous concern by the alarmist media.

Smart Growth America!.  I received a robocall two days ago.  It was my Magisterial District Supervisor, inviting me with all his Smart Growth friends to a tour of Belmont Bay, a mixed-used residential area with a new George Mason University environmental science facility.  He called the right person for the wrong reasons. ... The words he used, Smart Growth, flagged my attention immediately, since I recognized one of the euphemisms used by UN Agenda 21 to hide land use control, regulation, and confiscation under the guise of environmental protection.

The Bicycle Overlords.  If you sometimes scratch your head while sitting in traffic and ask yourself why transportation planners and local political leaders make such odd decisions that result in more congestion, wasted fuel, and increased pollution, you may want to check out the urban planning doctrine called Smart Growth (or, New Urbanism) that is the current fad in many communities across the country.  Chances are, your local government is fully wedded to it already.

How "Smart Growth" Intensifies Air Pollution.  For years, regional transportation plans, public officials, and urban planners have been seeking to densify urban areas, using strategies referred to as "smart growth" or "livability."  They have claimed that densifying urban areas would lead to lower levels of air pollution, principally because it is believed to reduce travel by car.  In fact, however, EPA data show that higher population densities are strongly associated with higher levels of automobile travel and more concentrated air pollution.

The Socialist Phobia of Scarcity.  If you are a socialist, chances are you believe that there is only a limited amount of wealth in the world.  People are impoverished only because rich capitalists are hoarding it.  You probably also believe that global natural resources are scarce, the world's water supply is drying up, and irreplaceable species are becoming extinct.  This irrational fear of scarcity is what drives the socialist advocacy for abortion of the unborn and euthanasia of the aged and infirm.  As it turns out, the "population bomb" has thus far been a dud.  Paul Ehrlich's 1968 book of the same name predicted mass starvation and global social upheavals by the 1980s.  Although this never happened, it has not deterred true believers.

Are climate models lying about food too?  Computer models at Stanford University have just "told" us that man-made global warming has already sapped some of the yield potential from our food crops.  They say wheat yields would have been 5.5 percent higher since 1980 without the earthly warming; corn yields would have been 3.8 percent higher.  Stanford's computers apparently didn't tell their programmers that U.S. corn yields have actually risen by more than 60 percent since 1980 -- during a period when they were supposedly hampered by too much heat.

Fast Train To Hell.  Public sector planners appear to be smitten with rail as the answer to environmentally friendly transport that will reduce automobile use -- the b$#234;te noir of righteous greenies.  And even better, rail transit adds considerably to their desire to re-settle populations to prevent "sprawl," a condition they find repugnant.  Most Americans call sprawl "neighborhoods," however, little realizing that ramping up urban rail transit creates the cutting edge of the ax designed to control where they live.  Localized rail transit is a planner's dream and a city's nightmare.

Food chain not stretched to limit — yet.  The cable network MSNBC is warning that the world food chain "has been stretched to the limit" by rising world demand and a series of crop failures in several countries.  The TV network's warning is premature.  The U.S., in fact, could ease the current global food price spike with one administrative action — limiting the amount of U.S. corn that gets turned into corn ethanol.

More about ethanol.

Gasping for Water and Other Lies.  The "water shortage" wail is an elite ruse that has been around awhile.  It is identical to the population explosion cry that says "...the planet is over-populated, our resources are rapidly vanishing, and millions are going to starve to death."  We have six billion (+) people on the planet and enough food to feed them 2,100 calories a day, according to world food experts. ... The world could feed nine billion if it had too.

In Defense of Plastic.  The fact is, according to Angela Logomasini of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, plastic bottles are not filling up landfills.  They represent less than one percent of landfill waste.  She goes on to agree that they don't degrade, "but nothing does."  In addition, we have an artificial shortage of landfills because environmental regulations prevent the creation of new ones.  We have no shortage of land in America and could open numerous new land fills to meet growing needs.  Angela Logomasini agrees that we have plenty of landfill space and adds, "one large landfill 44 miles by 44 miles could manage 1,000 years of our waste.

Isn't all this talk of an apocalypse getting a bit boring?  This year is the 40th anniversary of Paul Ehrlich's influential The Population Bomb, a book that predicted an apocalyptic overpopulation crisis in the 1970s and '80s.  Ehrlich's book provides a lesson we still haven't learnt.  His prophecy that the starvation of millions of people in the developed world was imminent was spectacularly wrong — humanity survived without any of the forced sterilisation that Ehrlich believed was necessary.  It's easy to predict environmental collapse, but it never actually seems to happen.

The Real Population Bomb:  It's been 40 years since Stanford University population biologist Paul Ehrlich warned of imminent global catastrophe in his book "The Population Bomb."  As it turns out, the book was aptly, though ironically, named. … Forty years later, no such mass starvation has come to pass.

California's Man-Made Drought.  The efficient solution is to allow a water market to develop so that allocations can be made in a competitive environment.  The way to get consumers voluntarily to use less water is to allow the market price to rise to reflect its decreased availability.  At higher prices, consumers will have an incentive to conserve.  Water will be demanded only for its most highly valued uses.  An efficient allocation results, and no regulatory intervention or costly policing is needed.

Green Lies and "Open Spaces":  To hear environmental zealots tell it, they are just trying to save the last few patches of greenery from being paved over.  But in fact the land area of the United States covered by forests is more than three times as large as the land area covered by all the cities and towns across the nation.

"Smart Growth" Policies Hurt.  There is mounting evidence that smart growth policies have already prevented thousands of American households from their claim of the American Dream of owning their own home.  Designed as an environmentally-sensitive response to perceived suburban overcrowding or "sprawl," smart growth policies crowd housing units together into clusters of dense, skyward structures.

Are the Communists Coming?  [Scroll down]  When a candidate uses terms such as "smart growth," and "sustainability," don't take these words to be meaningless.  Know that they come from Agenda 21, a product of the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development.  This is the same conference that produced the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Climate Change Treaty.  Agenda 21, and its policies seek to take elected officials out of the policy-making arena and place that authority in the hands of appointed "stakeholder councils," and the like.  "Stakeholder councils" serve much the same function as "soviets" in the old communist regimes.

Global Warming on Steroids:  We are being subjected to demands that we alter our economy to accommodate an utterly false assertion of global warming.  At the same time, environmentalists are actively involved in schemes to put as much of the U.S. landmass as possible off-limits to any development.  All of this has been neatly spelled out in a United Nations plan alleged to insure "sustainable development", but which in fact is designed to inhibit and prohibit any development anywhere.

Going Green = $4 per Gallon.  [Scroll down]  Such policy is driven by the Sustainable Development lobby.  Led by massively wealthy and powerful special interests like the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, the National Resources Defense Council and Earthjustice, to name a very few.  With their dollars and lobbyists, they are forcing Congress to implement the policies outlined in the UN's Agenda 21 soft law document.  It pretends to be environmental policy, but is really a complete transformation of our society and economy to a top down control, leading toward global governance.  The environment is just the excuse to convince unaware Americans to give up their liberties "to save the earth."

Livable communities is a socialist trap!  Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) has authored a bill S.1619 titled the "Livable Communities Act."  It is one of the most dangerous bills to ever threaten our liberty.  Worse even than the Obamacare scheme.  S.1619 creates a new permanent federal office:  The Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities" for the enforcement of this bill the "Development Czar" if you will.  Sen. Dodd is lying when he says S.1619 is purely voluntary.

Al Gore, the United Nations, and the Cult of Gaia (1999):  [Scroll down]  These people believe in Gaia — an "Earth spirit," goddess or planetary brain — and they think that human beings can have mystical experiences or a spiritual relationship with this entity.  In order to protect Gaia, in their view, the U.S. and other industrial countries have to be prohibited from certain uses of the world's natural resources.  This is called "sustainable development."

Do As We Say, Not As We Do.  So why are so many smart-growth advocates avoiding density in their own lives?  Take Henry Cisneros, a board member with Smart Growth America.  The onetime head of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development came to Los Angeles a decade ago to work for the Spanish-language channel Univision -- and immediately found a home in the plush, gated community of Bel Air Crest.

Fossil Fuels:  Saving the Trees for the Woods.  The phrase "addiction to fossil fuel" has become a modern-day put-down that it ought not to be.  Many today see this so-called addiction as a root problem, yet the benefits are beyond estimate — and long forgotten.  One benefit of our use of fossil energy is the trees we don't burn.  As surely as complaint follows progress, the use of fossil energy saved America's forests.  Until the late 1800s, the yearly consumption of wood for fuel in the United States was more than 300 cubic feet per person. … If we burned that much wood per person today, it would be used up in 10 years.

California Voters Defy Activist Groups, Approve New Home Construction.  Voters in the San Francisco suburbs of Pittsburg and Antioch, reflecting support from key Democratic elected officials, defied the Sierra Club and other activist groups by approving on November 8 two proposed housing developments.  The activist groups have vowed to challenge the new communities in every venue possible, including zoning boards, planning commissions, and the courts.

[This is typical of liberal Democrats.  If they can't win at the ballot box, they head for the courtroom.]

Smart Growth = Crime, Congestion and Poverty.  Urban sprawl has sparked a national debate over land-use policy, launching a movement in the past decade called "smart growth."  Advocates of such policies contend that urban sprawl causes crime and congestion, and limits opportunities for the poor and minorities.

Testimony on Smart Growth and Public Transit.  I do not favor sprawl.  I favor allowing people to live and work where and how they like.  And there is no reason not to allow it.  Even today, urbanization accounts for less than three percent of the nation's land area.  The "Smart Growth" movement seeks to stop or control urban sprawl.  Proponents claim that it will reduce traffic congestion, reduce air pollution and reduce costs.  It is important to understand that smart growth and containing sprawl require higher densities.  Smart growth's goals simply are unattainable without much higher densities.

"Smart Growth" Research:  As much as 20 percent of federal transportation funding goes to transit, which serves less than 2 percent of travelers. … Since transit service is so much slower than cars and is focused principally in the core and central business districts of major metropolitan areas, people who use transit because they do not have a car face limited mobility and diminished job prospects.

Fewer roads for more people.  What does Beijing have in common with Portland, Oregon?  Urban congestion.  It's much worse in Beijing, but Portland's traffic congestion isn't getting any better.  Further, both cities' traffic is worsened by bad government.

What Causes Sprawl?  While many factors spur Americans' shift from urban to suburban living, the main force behind this transition is our increasing wealth.  This has raised living standards and allowed widespread automobile ownership.

Living Wage, Dying City.  Population losses have occurred in most of the developed world's inner cities, with cities such as Paris, London, Milan, Vienna, Stockholm, Tokyo and Osaka sustaining losses.  In general, this international trend toward decentralization and suburbanization can be traced to rising affluence.  As people acquire the income to afford automobiles and larger homes with more space in the suburbs, they move.

Costs of Sprawl Measured in Benefits?  Anti-growth advocates have invoked near hysterical language in characterizing the imperative for dealing with what they claim are the higher government costs of more sprawling development.

The Crusade Against Urban Sprawl:  There is a strong relationship between urban sprawl and air pollution — but not the one the new urbanists suggest.  In the United States, air pollution tends to increase with population density.  Similarly, traffic congestion tends to be worse in higher density urban areas.

What Garbage Crisis?  The general public is, at long last, beginning to take a more cautious, critical attitude toward the claims of the environmental establishment.  Environmental values are still important to the electorate, but so too are other values such as common sense, individual freedom, property rights, jobs, and economic well-being.  Moreover, the general public is beginning to recognize that much environmental hectoring consists of gross exaggerations and sometimes, as in the case of Big Green, directly contradicts elementary scientific principles as well as readily available evidence.

The Increasing Abundance of Resources.  Catastrophism in one form or another is really nothing new.  It can be traced back at least to 1798 with the publication of Thomas Malthus' Essay on Population.  Since that time we have been fed a steady diet of catastrophist predictions of imminent disaster.  The most revealing thing about these predictions is that they have never come true.

Help for Americans.  John Stossel says that one writer, worrying about Niger, said that birthrates must be reduced drastically or the world will face permanent famine.  Viewers and readers are left with the idea that the problem is the number of people, but that's nonsense.  Niger's population density is nine people per square kilometer; however, population density in the United States is 28 per square kilometer, Japan 340, the Netherlands 484, and Hong Kong 6,621.  One would have to be brain-dead to argue that high population density causes poverty and starvation.  A better argument is oppressive and corrupt governments.

Britain's colossal food waste is stoking climate change.  Annually, the UK dumps 6.7 million tonnes, meaning each household jettisons between £250 and £400 worth of food each year.  Most of the waste — which nationally costs £8bn — is sent to landfill where it rots, emitting the potent climate-change gas methane.

The Editor says...
Quite a bit of methane is produced if all that food is digested, too.  So what's the difference?  And of course the food is "sent to landfill where it rots."  That's the idea.  If it didn't rot, the landfill would be teeming with garbage from decades ago.  The article is replete with one-sided arguments, meaningless statistics, and global warming alarmism.

Recommended books for Christmas Giving:  Another book that debunks much organized hysteria is Sprawl by Robert Bruegmann.  If you or someone you know happens to believe the "open space" and "smart growth" advocates — or even take them seriously — the plain facts and no-nonsense analysis in this book will make the hysteria collapse like a house of cards.

No Lefty Left Behind.  ACORN is the group most responsible for imposing living wage laws in many of America's cities, and it's currently conducting a sustainable development campaign that, by limiting the growth of the suburbs, would make it more difficult for people to flee the high-tax cities.

San Francisco Imposes Green Building Codes.  Green building codes signed into law by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) may cost city residents and businesses $700 million each and every year in expenses and lost economic output, the city's Office of Economic Analysis is reporting.  The green building codes, signed in August, will force residents and businesses to pay significantly higher construction costs and rents and will likely drive many of them out of the city, the agency warns.

Fake Christmas Trees Not So Green.  [Scroll down] Another huge drawback to fake trees is that eventually, they will end up in a landfill where they will linger in the environment forever, whereas live trees are recycled and made into mulch," [Clint] Springer explains.

The Editor says...
So what?  When the landfill is "full", whenever that is, the local government will cover it with dirt and make a golf course.  And if there's a pile of plastic and glass under the golf course, what difference does it make?

False Solutions and Real Problems.  There were certainly places here and there where it took half a family's income just to put a roof over their heads. ... Almost invariably, these severe local problems had local causes — usually severe local restrictions on building homes.  These restrictions had a variety of politically attractive names, ranging from "open space" laws and "smart growth" policies to "environmental protection" and "farmland preservation."

Liberal Fantasyland.  Plastic diapers, plastic bags and disposable coffee cups, turn out to be non-threats to the environment, according to the green Conscious Consumer and the Union of Concerned Scientists.  While the environmentally aware were quick to preach to the rest of us how our use of disposable diapers, for example, was ruining the planet, they seem slow to catch on to this news.

How Much Does Climate Change Naturally?  [Scroll down]  There is no doubt humans alter the world, however, it is far less than depicted in environmentalist reports and documentaries.  The world map shows vast areas virtually unoccupied.

What a dope!
Human race 'must colonise space or face extinction', warns Stephen Hawking.  The astrophysicist says that our only chance for long-term survival is to move away from Earth and begin to inhabit far-flung planets.  In an interview with the website Big Think, Professor Hawking said he was an optimist but the next few hundred years had to be negotiated carefully if humans were to survive.

'Sustainable' Poverty:  The Real Face of the Leftist Environmental Agenda.  Paying homage to a long legacy of radical environmentalism, President Obama's faithful followers have advanced the Livable Communities Act to attack nonexistent problems like sprawl and overpopulation, as well as sub-issues like pollution.  Humans will be punished for seeking to improve their quality of life, with new limits on mobility and Orwellian guidelines dictating where citizens will be allowed to live and work, with the justification of ushering in "sustainable growth."  The facts do not matter to Obama and the left.


Rain forests:

Killing Animals to Save Animals: A Conundrum.  In the 1990s, E. O. Wilson [...] popularized various numbers ranging from 4,000 to 100,000 species a year being lost, and these numbers were repeated over and over again in environmental groups' fund raising literature, in congressional testimony, and in speeches by Al Gore (who in 1993 said that 'one-half of all species' could disappear in our lifetime), apparently an extrapolation of Wilson's pronouncement, reports Stephen Budiansky.  Yet, after more than 90 percent of the Atlantic coastal forests of Brazil were cut down, mostly in the 19th century, the actual number of animal extinctions has been zero, even though many of the Brazilian species are highly endemic, found nowhere else in the world.

The Rain Forest News Crunch:  The fact that the rain forest has come and gone in the imagination as a fad ought to make some take pause and consider that the same fate is likely to await the global warming absolutists.

After Climategate, Pachaurigate and Glaciergate:  Amazongate.  It seems that, not content with having lied to us about shrinking glaciers, increasing hurricanes, and rising sea levels, the IPCC's latest assessment report also told us a complete load of porkies about the danger posed by climate change to the Amazon rainforest.

Rainforest Eco-tastrophe Claim Confirmed as Bunk.  A new study, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) refutes a claim in the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 report that up to 40 percent of the Amazon rainforest might disappear imminently.  According to the IPCC's assessment, this disaster would be triggered by a relatively slight drop in rainfall of the sort to be expected in a warming world.  It now appears that just such conditions have already occurred, and in fact, the Amazonian jungles were unaffected, says Gerald Warner, a columnist with the Telegraph.

New Study Debunks Myths About Vulnerability of Amazon Rain Forests.  A new NASA-funded study has concluded that Amazon rain forests were remarkably unaffected in the face of once-in-a-century drought in 2005, neither dying nor thriving, contrary to a previously published report and claims by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Amazongate: At last we reach the source.  Last week, after six months of evasions, obfuscation, denials and retractions, a story which has preoccupied this column on and off since January came to a startling conclusion.  It turns out that one of the most widely publicised statements in the 2007 report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a claim on which tens of billions of dollars could hang — was not based on peer-reviewed science, as repeatedly claimed, but originated solely from anonymous propaganda published on the website of a small Brazilian environmental advocacy group.  The ramifications of this discovery stretch in many directions.

No convincing evidence for decline in tropical forests.  Claims that tropical forests are declining cannot be backed up by hard evidence, according to new research from the University of Leeds.  This major challenge to conventional thinking is the surprising finding of a study published today in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences by Dr Alan Grainger, Senior Lecturer in Geography and one of the world's leading experts on tropical deforestation.  "Every few years we get a new estimate of the annual rate of tropical deforestation," said Dr Grainger.  "They always seem to show that these marvellous forests have only a short time left.  Unfortunately, everybody assumes that deforestation is happening and fails to look at the bigger picture — what is happening to forest area as a whole."

Fossil Fuel is Nuclear Waste.  If a tree falls in the forest it matters not whether there is any sound.  That fallen tree represents a potential resource.  Man can fashion that tree into useful products or he can burn the cellulose material and recover chemically stored solar energy.  Or man can chose to let that tree rot in the forest.  There is nothing inherently superior to the 'rot in the forest' option.  Rotting wood provides a food source for disease and predatory insects.  The outcome is exactly the same with regard to the wood.  Portions are returned to the air as carbon dioxide and portions are returned to the soil.  The question becomes, is the planet better off if humans 'control' the forest or if insects and disease control the forest?

Can Rainforests Be Saved With Cash Injections?  Protecting the world's rainforests is a central issue at this month's Climate Change Conference in Cancun.  Huge sums are to be offered to countries that protect their forests.  However, experts fear that these rewards could be misused, and that they could actually promote deforestation.


Air pollution:

There is more information about air pollution in the Radon and Urban Sprawl sections above, and in the EPA subsection on this page.

If only EPA stood for 'Enough Protection Already'.  The air we breathe is also cleaner than it's been for 60 years.  In a rational world, environmental bureaucrats would now say, "Mission accomplished.  We set tough standards, so we don't need to keep doing more.

De Blasio wants to ban new wood fireplaces.  Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated Earth Day on Tuesday by proposing more regulations — including a ban on new wood-burning fireplaces.  The mayor made the proposal, along with those for other sweeping regulations that he said would update emission standards and help curb air pollution.  Instead of wood-burning fireplaces, de Blasio wants to allow only cleaner-burning units, such as those that use natural gas.

The Editor says...
It snows in New York.  Don't people have a right to stay warm in their own homes?

EPA Bans Most Wood Burning Stoves In a Corrupt Scheme, Fireplaces Next.  As of January 3rd, the EPA banned about 80% of the wood-burning stoves and fireplace inserts in the United States.  Stoves which are used to heat 12% of the homes in America and are especially needed in outlying rural areas.  Fireplaces are also being looked at.  The EPA is attempting to reduce particle pollution with new rules.  Instead of limiting fine airborne particulate emissions to 15 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³) of air, the change will impose a maximum 12 µg/m³ limit. [...] The draconian EPA regulations will be spread out, one will take place in March and the next in five to eight years.  Stoves currently in use will not be affected but obviously, getting them repaired will become more and more difficult.

The Power-Mad EPA.  A federal appeals court recently heard a case about the EPA's interpretation of the 2012 Mercury and Air Toxics Rule, yet another effort in the "war on coal" that would shut down more coal-fired plants that provide the bulk of the electricity the nation requires.  The EPA is asserting that the rule would annually prevent 11,000 premature deaths, nearly 5,000 heart attacks, and 130,000 asthma attacks.  Moreover it asserts that it would help avoid more than 540,000 missed work days, and protect babies and children.  These statistics are plucked from various studies published in journals and are typical of the way the EPA operates to justify its rulings.

Never Cleaner.  By any demonstrable measure, the environment in the U.S. has never been cleaner in our lifetimes than now. [...] As a measure of the quality of air in our country, the EPA maintains data and statistics that quantify air quality from 1980 to the present.  Based on the EPA's own data, the national ambient air quality standards for certain target pollutants have all steadily and dramatically reduced.  As a national average:
  •   Carbon monoxide has been reduced 82%
  •   Ozone has been reduced 28%
  •   Lead has been reduced 89%
  •   Nitrogen oxides have been reduced 52%
  •   Particulate matter as PM10 has been reduced 38%, and fine particulate matter as PM2.5 has been reduced 27%
  •   Sulfur dioxide has been reduced 83%

China smog emergency shuts city of 11 million people.  An index measuring PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), reached a reading of 1,000 in some parts of Harbin, the gritty capital of northeastern Heilongjiang province and home to some 11 million people.  A level above 300 is considered hazardous, while the World Health Organisation recommends a daily level of no more than 20.

The Editor says...
The EPA standard is 12 micrograms per cubic meter, and "As a practical matter, the average level of PM2.5 in U.S. air is about 10 micrograms per cubic meter," according to Steve Milloy.  The level that is "considered hazardous" is 30 times the U.S. average.  In other words, the EPA's work is finished.  The air here is as clean as it has ever been.

The Epidemiologist Fallacy Strikes Again. EPA, CARB, And Air Pollution.  Jerrett and his fellow authors published an immense work (under CARB contract) which suffered fatally from the epidemiologist fallacy.  This is when an epidemiologist says, "X causes Y" but who never — not once — measures X. [...] Jerrett et alia said that small particles in the atmosphere — no! ozone — no! nitrogen dioxide — caused early deaths.  X caused Y.  Problem is, they never measured, not even once, the actual exposure of any individual to dust, O3, or NO2.  X went missing.  In essence, they looked back into public records and found addresses of people who may or may not still live in California and discovered how far these people lived from a highway.  The (statistical) distance from the highway was said to equal the amount of exposure to pollutants.  That's the proxy.

Ozone, Mo'Zone and NoZone.  The Environmental Protection Agency's war on economic growth, jobs, poor families, modern living standards, and people's health and welfare is about to get a lot more damaging.  The Clean Air Act says EPA must set standards for ozone and other pollutants — and periodically review existing standards, to determine whether they are adequately protecting public health, or need to be tightened further.

The EPA's work is finished.
Tier 3 Tyranny.  [Scroll down]  The latest example involves a third layer (or tier) of rules the agency says will clean the nation's air and save lives by forcing refineries to remove more sulfur and other impurities from gasoline.  EPA and refiners call the proposal Tier 3 rulemaking.  Tier 3 tyranny is more accurate, as the rules would cost billions of dollars while bringing infinitesimal benefits, and will likely be imposed regardless.  Since 1970, automakers have eliminated some 99 percent of pollutants that once came out of the tailpipes of the nation's cars.  "Today's cars are essentially zero-emission vehicles, compared to 1970 models," says air pollution expert Joel Schwartz, coauthor of the book Air Quality in America.

Stricter EPA Ozone Rules Could Put 'Entire Country' Out of Business, Industry Group Warns.  American Petroleum Institute Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Howard Feldman warned that new ozone regulations currently under review by the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency could put "nearly the entire country" out of business.  "Such strict standards are not justified from a health perspective and are not needed to continue air quality progress," Feldman said Thursday on a conference call with reporters.

The Steady March Toward Cleaner Air.  Air quality in the United States is getting cleaner, but sadly many Americans believe the opposite.  In order to explain the reality of America's improving environmental quality, Steven Hayward has spent years compiling environmental data with his Almanac of Environmental Trends. [...] Hayward writes:  Virtually the entire nation has achieved clean air standards for four of the six main pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act (carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and lead).  The only pollutant where the clean air standard is still widely exceeded is ozone.  In the case of ozone and particulates, the areas of the nation with the highest pollution levels have shown the greatest magnitude of improvement.

Earth Day Lesson: Environment is not Climate.  In China the demand for electricity is so great that coal is burned very inefficiently, without any controls, and the air makes Los Angeles of the 1950s look good.  Of the ten most air-polluted cities in the world, eight are in China.  India likewise needs to clean up.  It's easy for Americans to criticize, but they're sacrificing air quality to get faster economic growth.

The EPA can no longer justify its existence.
EPA: Hiding One's Light Under a Bushel.  In 1970 [when the EPA was created,] 31 million tons of sulphur dioxide, a prime contributor to smog, was emitted into the atmosphere.  In 2008 it was 11 million tons.  In 1970 34 million tons of volatile organic compounds were emitted.  In 2008 it was 16 million.  In 1970 204 million tons of carbon monoxide; in 2008 it was 72 million.  The EPA recently declared carbon dioxide a pollutant (which means we pollute the atmosphere every time we exhale).  And the only major country in the world where carbon dioxide emissions are declining?  The United States.  We emitted less CO2 in 2012 than in 1992.  Water pollution has similarly abated.  Unhealthy air days in major U.S. cities these days are a rarity.  Even Los Angeles had only 18 in all of 2011.  Manhattan had exactly none.

Oil industry, lawmakers say EPA fuel rule would hike prices at the pump.  The proposal, released Friday morning [3/29/2013], aims to reduce sulfur in gasoline by more than 60 percent in 2017.  The agency claimed the change would save lives and cut down significantly on respiratory ailments by making the air cleaner.  But critics questioned those claims, and said the plan would impose higher gas prices on hard-hit families.

The Editor says...
The amount of sulphur dioxide in the air is about one third of the levels experienced in 1970 — when there were less than half as many vehicles on the road.*  In 2011, there were 244,778,179 vehicle registrations.*  In 1970, there were 108,407,306 vehicles on the roads in the U.S.*  It is therefore safe to conclude that sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere isn't killing anybody — and thus any claims that the new EPA regulations "would save lives" are specious.  The purpose of this new regulation is to justify the EPA's existence and to turn the screws a little tighter on "big oil."

Chinese air episode exposes EPA fraud on PM 2.5 levels.  According to EPA risk estimates, the day the PM2.5 level spiked to 886 micrograms per cubic meter, the daily death toll should have increased to about 518 deaths — that is, if what the EPA says about PM2.5 is true.  Thus far, however, there is no evidence from China that the EPA's claims about PM2.5 are anywhere close to being true.  The Chinese media have reported on four deaths related to the current air pollution crisis.  Two Chinese boys were reportedly killed in a train accident caused by visibility problems.  Two other people were apparently killed in a car accident, again caused by visibility problems.  Yet there are no reports of a spike in deaths caused by breathing the heavily polluted air.

An Imaginary Dustup? The Incalculable Harm of Regulation.  [Scroll down]  If you operate a grain elevator in St. Joseph, Missouri, or a fertilizer business in my home town, what incentive do you have to grow, to expand, to invest?  You're on notice that you are dangerous, that your activities are a threat to others.  If you are that fertilizer dealer, you've also learned something else.  You've learned to be extremely cynical about the whole enterprise.

China air pollution "beyond index".  According to the government monitoring, levels of PM2.5 particles were above 700 micrograms per cubic meter on Saturday [2/9/2013], and declined by Monday to levels around 350 micrograms — but still way above the World Health Organization's safety levels of 25.

The Cost of Obama's Regulatory Explosion.  [Scroll down]  Of course, the Obama White House fancifully contends that, in addition to costing colossal sums of money, its regulations also save colossal sums of money.  But only the truly credulous could believe this is true — or that there's any accurate way to quantify the "savings" that would ensue from, say, cleaner air (to the extent that these regulations even legitimately advance such goals).

China's bad air puts the lie to EPA scare tactics.  In scientific documents, the EPA has repeatedly concluded that any exposure to PM2.5 can kill, and it can kill people within hours or days of inhalation.  The EPA has estimated that every 10 microgram-per-cubic-meter increase in PM2.5 increases daily death rates by about 1 percent.  That rate is asserted to be higher for vulnerable subpopulations like the elderly or sick.  What should all this mean for China?  On the worst day so far of the ongoing Chinese air pollution event, Beijing's PM2.5 levels peaked at 886 micrograms per cubic meter — an incredible 89 times greater than the U.S. daily average.  Based on EPA risk estimates, we should expect the daily death toll in Beijing to have skyrocketed by 89 percent on a same-day and next-day basis.  Remember that PM2.5 essentially causes "sudden death," according to the EPA.

Obama's Second Term Regulations That Will Destroy America.  Although President Obama previously admitted that the "regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty" of tightening an existing ozone standard would harm jobs and the economy, he still pointed to the fact that it will be reconsidered in 2013.  EPA itself estimated that this would cost $90 billion a year.  Other studies project that the rule could cost upwards of a trillion dollars and destroy 7.4 million jobs, and put 650 additional counties into a category of "non-attainment".  This is the equivalent of posting a "closed for business" sign on communities which will suffer from severe business and job losses resulting from large numbers of plant closures.

EPA's statistics not science, but nonsense.  The scientific and medical reality is that ambient air pollution — even as grimy, stinky, eye-watering and ugly as it is in China — does not kill or hasten death.  Fine particulate matter was such a public health problem, in fact, that no one knew about it until EPA-funded researchers invented it in 1993 — 30 years after the Clean Air Act was enacted.  Since the Clinton administration, the agency has been using its invention to impose billions and billions of dollars of costs on our economy in return for the entirely imaginary benefit of tens of thousands of lives saved annually.

Grill a Burger, Go to Jail?  [T]he regulatory juggernaut never rests.  Now they're after our flame-broiled whoppers, our animal-style In-n-Outs, and other cavalcades of carnivoric calories.  At least that's how I read the news of the new study from UC Riverside (a prime contractor for pro-smog regulator research) that finds that "Air Pollution from Burger Joints Worse than Trucks." [...] It seems to me the lede here is exactly backwards:  the real story is how dramatically we've been able to cut diesel emissions through a combination of engine emission controls and reformulated, low-sulfur diesel fuel.

Regulatory Tsunami To Hit Business If Obama Wins Second Term.  Last fall, President Obama decided to cancel a hugely expensive new EPA rule designed to cut smog levels across the country.

The Editor says...
There isn't any smog in this country except in a few large metro areas in the summer.  The EPA is squandering billions of dollars to fight a problem that does not exist.

EPA's scary-air sniffers.  Americans on their way to work or school may soon be reaching for a new high-tech device as they head out the door — a personal air-quality monitor.  That's the vision of bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who are trying to develop a portable sniffer that measures the body's reactions to pollution in the air.  It's bound to take fear-mongering to a new level.

Poisoning the Kids.  As a measure of the quality of air in our country, the U.S. EPA maintains data and statistics that quantify air quality from 1980 to the present.  Based on the U.S. EPA's own data, the national ambient air quality standards for certain target pollutants have all steadily and dramatically reduced.  As a national average:
  •   Carbon monoxide has been reduced 82%
  •   Ozone was reduced 28%
  •   Lead has been reduced 89%
  •   Nitrogen oxides have been reduced 52%
  •   Particulate matter as PM10 was reduced 38%, and fine particulate matter as PM 2.5 has been reduced 27%
  •   Sulfur dioxide has been reduced 83%
Regardless, according the Obama administration and its supporters, the quality of the air in our country is literally killing our kids.

EPA Misrepresents Benefits of Ozone Restrictions.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is overstating the benefits of new rules to further tighten ambient air quality standards regarding ozone, according to a study by NERA Economic Consulting.  EPA's statements about its proposal to cut ground-level ozone "grossly misrepresent what EPA is actually estimating as the potential benefits of reducing public exposures to ozone," according to the report.

Age of environmental fear.  The United States is among the cleanest nations on the planet.  U.S. environmental programs have set the standard for the world.  Many other nations copy our regulations wholesale.  We have set tough goals and achieved them.  Lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide levels have declined precipitously.  Likewise, levels of benzene, arsenic, mercury and many other pollutants have decreased.  Perhaps most important, the life expectancy of the average American has risen from 71 to about 77 years.  But don't expect the government or environmentalists to talk about this success.

Where is the evidence for EPA's claims?  [By implementing the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule,] EPA claims it will "protect hundreds of millions of Americans, providing up to $280 billion in benefits by preventing tens of thousands of premature deaths, asthma and heart attacks, and millions of lost days of school or work due to illness," because of the cleanup of mercury, sulfur and nitrogen oxides, and other emissions.  Exactly where did the EPA come up with these incredible health benefits?

Horses kill people, too, you know.
Automobiles gave America mobility, prosperity and greater freedom.  Fair-minded people with a knowledge of history understand that we should be exceedingly thankful for the automobile and its crucial role in the economic, social and political progress achieved since Henry Ford put America on wheels in 1908 with the Model T.  Note that average life expectancy in America that year for men was 49.5 years and 52.8 years for women.  Today, the overall average life expectancy in America is 78.37 years, a 58 percent improvement for men and a 48 percent gain for women.  So much for the killer exhaust fumes.

EPA's Ongoing Assault on the Economy.  Affordable energy is critical for a prosperous economy.  Yet, despite the fact that the U.S. is still in the middle of a pronounced economic slump, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the process of proposing or finalizing a number of air-quality regulations that would limit energy choices and increase energy prices, thus seriously retarding the economic recovery.  Economists estimate that just four of these dozens of rules could alone cost the economy trillions of dollars annually.  In addition, the rules will cost millions of jobs and raise energy prices, and all with little or no public-health benefit.

Nation's Air Quality Continues to Improve, Report Says.  [Scroll down to page 14]  The State of the Air 2011 report examines ozone and particulate pollution at official monitoring sites across the United States in 2007, 2008, and 2009.  The report uses the most current quality-assured nationwide data available for these analyses.  Joel Schwartz, a senior consultant with Blue Sky Consulting Group of Sacramento, California, said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and environmental activist groups continue to frighten people into believing national air quality is worsening, despite the evidence.

Beware the Wrath of the EPA.  Just when you think you have heard it all, bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., come up with some hair-brained idea that leaves you scratching your head in wonderment.  The Environmental Protection Agency has apparently run out of things to regulate and tax, so it has come up with new guidelines for regulating "particulate matter emissions" — more commonly known to you and me as "dust."

Chicken Little eats crow.  Doomsayers who make a living warning that the sky is falling victim to human-induced pollution need to take a deep breath.  It turns out Mother Nature has her own resources for cleaning up the air. ... Good news for most earthlings isn't necessarily appreciated by leftists who butter their bread spreading hysteria over purported global warming, which they recently rebranded as "climatic disruption."  For them, the revelation that the atmosphere exhibits self-cleaning properties is as unwelcome as another snowstorm, the most recent of which left Americans as far south as Georgia shoveling the white stuff this week.

EPA's Smoke-and-Mirrors on Smog and Soot.  This article begins a series examining the science behind the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed proposed tighten air quality standards for ground-level ozone (O3 or smog) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5 or soot).

EPA's Unethical Air Pollution Experiments.  The people at the EPA claim that they must control air pollution to prevent the deaths of thousands.  Then they expose human subjects to high levels of air pollution.  Is it possible that they are lying, or unethical, or both? [...] The only way out for the EPA in this episode is to acknowledge the reality that ambient levels or even higher levels of PM2.5 are not toxic or lethal, based on their own research, and to admit that their claims of thousands of lives lost from small particles is nonsense.

EPA to propose tougher rules on soot.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolled out plans Friday [6/15/2012] to toughen standards for fine particulate matter, or soot, which is dangerous microscopic pollution emitted by factories, power plants, diesel vehicles and other sources.  The proposal, which the agency is issuing under a court-ordered deadline, would pare the current annual exposure standard of 15 micrograms per cubic meter down to between 12 and 13.

EPA Proposes Stricter New Standards for Soot Pollution.  Adding to the Obama administration's mounting heap of regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed Friday [6/15/2012] new air quality standards to curb the purportedly fatal repercussions of soot emissions.  In reducing the emission of such particles, which environmentalists say are one of the most hazardous air pollutants, oil refiners and large manufacturers will be forced to invest in costly pollution-reduction upgrades.

The EPA's Flawed Zero Tolerance Policy.  For the last three years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has justified new air quality regulations — unprecedented in stringency and cost — on the assumption that even trace levels of particulate matter can cause early death.  The EPA's guiding principle in this effort has been that there is no price too high to preempt further particulate reduction, says Kathleen Hartnett White, a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.  The EPA has gone so far in this endeavor as to claim that its rules will save 230,000 lives by 2020.  However, such rhetoric is built on implausible assumptions, biased models, statistical manipulations and cherry-picked studies.

What's EPA smoking?  As reported in an October 2003 study published in the American Medical Association's Archives of Internal Medicine, the risk of sudden death among those who smoked as long as 10 years was zero.  If you can smoke for 10 years and have zero chance of sudden death, you can breathe average U.S. air for thousands of years with zero risk of sudden death.  Given that the "worst" U.S. air has, perhaps, twice the level of PM2.5 as average U.S. air, you even could breathe the "worst" U.S. air for thousands of years with zero risk of sudden death.  Therefore, the EPA's claim that PM2.5 is killing people and the nation stands to reap billion of dollars' worth of health benefits from its new rule are without merit.

EPA Sued Over Heinous Experiments on Humans.  After accumulating evidence via the Freedom of Information Act that showed the Environmental Protection Agency conducted disturbing experiments that exposed humans to inhalable particulates the agency has said are deadly, sound science advocate Steven Milloy has sued the federal government.

The American Lung Association's Fear Campaign:  In the July issue of Environment & Climate News I showed how the American Lung Association (ALA) misleads Americans about air pollution levels and trends in their communities and the nation.  This month, I will document the evidence that even air pollution levels far higher than any we experience in the United States are perfectly safe, and that the nation's air does not cause adverse health effects.  ALA claims, "Over 136 million Americans … are exposed to unhealthful levels of air pollution."  Even in terms of actual federal standards, this is a vast exaggeration.

Facts Not Fear on Air Pollution:  Most of what Americans "know" about air pollution is false.  Polls show most Americans believe air pollution has been steady or rising during the last few decades and will worsen in the future, and is a serious threat to people's health.  But these widely held views are based on myths that are demonstrably false.  Air quality in America's cities is better than it has been in more than a century, despite the fact that Americans are driving more miles, using more energy, and producing and consuming more goods and services than ever.

EPA Data Show Fewer Children Affected by Air Pollution.  The Environmental Protection Agency's new report — 'America's Children and the Environment' — notes that air pollution declined, but asthma prevalence continues to rise.  One possible conclusion from this is that air pollution is not actually a cause of asthma.  In fact, that's the most plausible conclusion.

How the EPA Is Like DDT.  Asthma is a perplexing disease for which, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is no known cause.  According CDC statistics, the percentage of the general population with asthma increased by 265% from 1980 to 2009.  According to EPA statistics, from 1980 to 2009, the emissions of sulfur dioxide when down by about 76% and, from 1995 to 2009, emissions of nitrogen dioxide went down by about 48%.  There is no statistical relationship or known causal relationship between asthma and emissions of these compounds.  Yet, when announcing the new cross-state emissions rules in 2011 to further restrict emissions of these compounds, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson claimed, without evidence, the new regulations will prevent 400,000 new cases of asthma each year.

Environmental groups petition U.S. to regulate air fresheners.  A group of heavyweight environmental organizations is asking the federal government to crack down on air fresheners, products that scientific studies show can aggravate asthma and pose other health risks.

Air Quality:  Air pollution in western world cities has been improving for decades as technology has improved vehicle internal combustion engines and also lower sulphur fuels have reduced SO2 emissions.  These vital facts so inconvenient to the Greens, and the over green EPA bureaucracies plus the anti-car brigade, have been very slow to penetrate the screen of green media bias and it is only since 2000 that scraps of truth slip out saying that AQ is improving.

Testimony before a Texas Senate Hearing on Wind Turbines:  I have practiced medicne for 36 years in the United States, and I assure you that people do not die from a change in temperature of 2 degrees or even 4, they do not die from air pollution in the United States.  Not one person.  Killer air and toxic air pollution are an historical problem, not a current problem, created by old industrial pollution more than 50 years ago, combined with a less capable medical system.

Air Pollution Risks Exaggerated?  Although the authors claim to have demonstrated a substantial risk from air pollution, they may have mistakenly attributed to air pollution health risks that are actually caused by other factors omitted from their analysis.  Furthermore, even taking the results at face value, the study found a relatively small risk from particulates when compared with other risks people face.

What Americans 'Know' about Air Pollution Is False.  The nation's spectacular progress on air pollution began long before the 1970 Clean Air Act federalized air quality policy. … Air quality has continued to improve since 1970.  Virtually the entire nation now attains federal standards for carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and lead, and levels of these pollutants continue to decline.  What makes these air quality improvements so extraordinary is that they occurred during a period of rapid increases in pollution-generating activities.

The Condition of Our Nation:  The Press Is Always Wrong.  Contrary to the pervasive negativity in the media, the U.S. today is in the best shape it has ever been. … For example, pollution is way down.  As a boy raised in the 1940s and 1950s on the shores of Lake Erie, it is truly a miracle to me that Lake Erie is now clean.  The Cuyahoga River no longer catches on fire; even the Hudson River in New York is back to its pristine state. … Over the past 30 years, the percentage of days per year in the Los Angeles area that have violated federal air quality standards has fallen from over 50 percent to less than 10 percent.  In addition, the number of federal "health advisory" days per year in California has fallen from 166 to 11 over the same period.

Houston Sees Record Low Ozone.  The Houston metropolitan area, often cited as having the nation's most polluted air, exceeded federal ozone standards for a record-low 16 days in 2008.  The official tally from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality contradicts a recent claim by the Houston Chronicle that "the region's goal of consistently healthy air remains elusive."

Air Quality False AlarmHeat Advisory, a recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), claims that increased temperatures resulting from global warming will cause higher ozone smog levels and therefore harm Americans' health.  In other words, in addition to other harms, NRDC claims global warming will cause future air pollution to be worse than current air pollution levels.  For example, NRDC asserts that the number of days per year exceeding the EPA's 8-hour ozone standard will increase by an average of 60 percent in America's metropolitan areas.  This report shows that air pollution will decline in the future, regardless of whether there is global warming, and that NRDC exaggerates likely future temperature increases in any case. [PDF]

THIS is an air quality problem:
Global warming gets cold shoulder.  [Bjørn Lomborg] nominates as the most important, urgent and solvable problem facing the world:  "Air pollution in the Third World.  More than 1 billion people don't have access to electricity and many use really poor fuels, such as wood and dung, that pollute the air."

Three Things to Know About Pollution:  (#1) Air quality in the United States has markedly improved.  Between 1993 and 2002, aggregate emissions of the six principal pollutants (nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and lead) decreased 19 percent.  During the same time period, United States gross domestic product grew at an average of 5.15 percent annually.  Volatile organic compound emissions from cars and trucks have fallen 73.8 percent since 1970, and carbon monoxide emissions from cars have been reduced 64 percent.

Air Quality Rule Costly for Wisconsin Families.  The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board has unanimously approved regulations that will bring the state into compliance with the Bush administration's Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR).  Compliance will cost the state's residents more than $1 billion, or more than $500 per household, according to state officials.

Ozone,  a major component of smog, is widely believed to form from pollutant precursors (such as NOx oxides of nitrogen produced during combustion, (read auto engines and power plants).  However the more I examine data the more I am convinced that this is not the whole story and that much tropospheric (lower atmosphere) ozone, which includes urban ozone of course, is in fact natural in origin, the product of peak afternoon temperatures on hot days acting on reactive particles in the air which are very often chemicals given off from vegetation, forests, sea foam and soil, not necessarily in urban areas at all.

N.Y. adopts clean air rules, stricter than EPA's.  New York environmental regulators adopted stricter air pollution rules on Tuesday [1/6/2009] to prevent power plants and factories from belching out more smog and soot.

The Editor asks...
Where is there a factory in New York, or any other state, that belches smog and soot?  You'd have to go back to the 1960s to find such a place.  In any case, since smog is a mixture of fog and smoke, I doubt if factories emit smog.

Dangers of high-speed governing:  "The days of Washington dragging its heels are over," said President Barack Obama the other day as he hastened to destroy the auto industry, eliminate jobs, render Americans less safe when they drive and gouge more dollars out of them.  When you are president, such things can be easy, a virtual snap of the fingers, simply a matter of issuing a couple of executive orders, one of which says the following in so many words:  The administration is going to go through some motions with EPA and then let California and other states set their own tailpipe emission standards even though they are much tougher than national standards.

Detroit Takes One (More) for the Team.  Never mind the absurdity of the issue.  California has received waivers to set its own Clean Air Act rules since the very beginning because California suffered unique air pollution problems.  California does not suffer unique global warming problems.  In no way is the state uniquely affected by the climate risks posed by tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide.  California politicians were acting purely in a grandstanding capacity to seek such a waiver.  Mr. Obama would be acting from purely a least-cost political calculation in granting it.

Plants Absorb More Carbon Dioxide Under Polluted Hazy Skies.  Plants absorbed carbon dioxide more efficiently under the polluted skies of recent decades than they would have done in a cleaner atmosphere, according to new findings published this week in Nature.  The results of the study have important implications for efforts to combat future climate change which are likely to take place alongside attempts to lower air pollution levels.

Environmentalism vs Creativity:  It's not a coincidence that countries with the most government controls are also the most polluted.  I've breathed the dirty air of a few former totalitarian, Eastern European nations, and I can attest that Hungary and Bosnia, for example, are far more polluted overall than, say, Houston or L.A.  If industrial progress was as harmful to mankind as environmentalists would have us believe, then the life expectancy of people living in the most industrialized nations would be decreasing, not increasing.

Car emissions order could affect Texas motorists.  Texans might drive cars designed for California attitudes if federal regulators agree to permit state-by-state auto emissions standards, a prospect that emerged Monday in President Barack Obama's first major environmental policy action.  Obama ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to review the Bush administration's refusal to allow California and 13 other states to set the nation's toughest vehicle emissions standards.

The Editor says...
This is why it is necessary for the other 49 states to squawk when California does something stupid:  Their worst ideas have a way of spreading across the country.

Report Shows Air Quality Improved During Bush Administration.  A recent report from a Washington think tank shows that levels of numerous gases linked with air pollution, like carbon monoxide, have fallen off since 2001 and air quality in the U.S. has improved significantly over the last decade.

U.S. Air Quality Continues to Improve.  Sulfur dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants have fallen sharply this year, according to a recent report by energy research firm Genscape.  Emissions of other pollutants have dropped as well.  For the first half of 2009, SO2 emissions dropped 24 percent versus the first half of 2008.  Emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) fell 5 percent in May and 11 percent in June compared against the same months last year.

California's Toxic Air Scare Machine:  James Enstrom, southern California native, earned a Ph.D. in elementary particle nuclear physics at Stanford, then received postdoctoral training in epidemiology and a Masters in Public Health from UCLA. ... In 2005, Enstrom published his results of a robust and current (50,000 people, 1973-2002) study on the effects of small particle air pollution in California.  He found no premature death effect in California from small particle air pollution.  California's air pollution of the '50s and '60s has declined for thirty years, and Enstrom was also familiar with the improvement in air quality and the conundrum of increasing rates of asthma that was being misrepresented by CARB.

This might not be off topic:
Excessive cleanliness may boost allergies.  Put away the hand sanitizer.  It's not necessarily the grime, dust bunnies, cat dander or pollen causing those miserable springtime allergies.  The culprit actually may be too much cleanliness.  "Allergies have become widespread in developed countries:  hay fever, eczema, hives and asthma are all increasingly prevalent.  The reason?  Excessive cleanliness is to blame," said Dr. Guy Delespesse, an immunologist and director of the Allergy Research Laboratory at the University of Montreal.

Air quality improving despite population, vehicle growth.  Most Americans are breathing cleaner air, even as cars flood the roads and populations boom, according to recent environmental data.  An Environmental Protection Agency report shows air pollution declined dramatically between 1990 and 2008 thanks to increasingly stringent vehicle, industry and consumer standards.  Ozone levels nationally are down 14 percent, lead, 78 percent, and carbon monoxide, 68 percent, among other reductions in the six most common air pollutants, the report said.

Air pollution is not a major public health problem.  [Scroll down to page 12]  Air quality is better today in virtually all parts of the U.S. than at any time since measurements began.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), emissions of the six "criteria" air pollutants dropped 57 percent between 1970 and 2007, while GDP increased 207 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 179 percent, energy consumption increased 47 percent, and U.S. population grew by 49 percent.  Concentrations of particulate matter (PM10) have decreased by 28 percent and of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) by 11 percent nationally since 1990.  Virtually the entire nation meets federal standards for carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and lead.

EPA Goes Ape Over Power Plant Emissions.  [Scroll down]  What do Americans really die from?  Genetic dispositions to illness.  Accidents.  Poor diets.  And bad lifestyle choices that include smoking, drinking, and taking illegal drugs.  With the exception of asthma that affects about seven percent of the population none of this has anything to do with air quality.  Indeed, the causes of asthma remain somewhat shrouded in mystery even if the symptoms do not.  None of this empirical knowledge and data has the slightest effect, however, on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Lung Association that profits greatly from any claims about air quality.  Both are inclined to making wild claims.

EPA's Clean Air Act: Pretending air pollution is worse than it is.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to tighten air quality standards at considerable societal expense under the guise that new standards are necessary to protect public health.  Focusing on the EPA's proposed Clean Air Transport Rule (CATR), this analysis shows that:  [1] America's air is already safe to breathe and it is much better than the EPA would have the public believe; and that  [2] The EPA relies on health studies that exaggerate harm and economic studies that understate regulatory costs in order to maintain the fiction that its ever more stringent regulations are providing meaningful public health benefits.


Nitrogen:

Beyond Carbon:  Scientists Worry About Nitrogen's Effects.  Public discussion of complicated climate change is largely reduced to carbon:  carbon emissions, carbon footprints, carbon trading.  But other chemicals have large roles in the planet's health, and the one Dr. Giblin is looking for in Arctic mud, one that a growing number of other researchers are also concentrating on, is nitrogen.

On the other hand...
Can Nitrogen Be Used to Combat Climate Change?  Growing evidence suggests that as humanity pumps more nitrogen into the environment, forests could become bigger carbon sinks and help mitigate climate change.  But experts warn that it's a dangerous experiment that could have serious consequences.

The Editor asks...
Where is "humanity" getting this nitrogen that it is supposedly "pumping" into the environment?  No matter how much additional nitrogen "humanity" has at its disposal, it's only a microscopic fraction of the atmosphere's nitrogen content.  The mass of the atmosphere is about 5.14 x 1018 kilograms, or about 5.67 billion megatons, over five quadrillion tons, and 78.08% of that (by volume) is nitrogen.  There is simply no way that "humanity" can add more than a drop to that bucket.


Peanuts:

Gov't: Food allergies may be disability under law.  The Justice Department said in a recent settlement with a Massachusetts college that severe food allergies can be considered a disability under the law.

The War On Peanuts:  North Carolina is the fifth-largest peanut grower in the U.S., yet peanut-allergy nazis have persuaded even officials in that state to crack down on PB&Js.

Harvard prof slams US nut allergy hysteria.  A Harvard professor of medical sociology has agreeably warned that increasing hysteria over nut allergies in kids bears the hallmarks of mass psychogenic illness (MPI) — described as "a social network phenomenon involving otherwise healthy people in a cascade of anxiety".  Writing in the British Medical Journal, Nicholas A Christakis cites the extreme example of when a potentially fatal peanut was "spotted on the floor of a school bus, whereupon the bus was evacuated and cleaned (I am tempted to say decontaminated), even though it was full of 10-year-olds who, unlike two-year-olds, could actually be told not to eat food off the floor".

Free lunch "safety":  Some people can die from eating ordinary wholesome foods like salmon or peanut butter.  If the government banned every food that was fatal to someone, we might all die of malnutrition.

Sound Public Policy or Hysteria?  As someone with a background in public policy making and enforcement, I find it alarming that so much public policy today, particularly in schools, is motivated by fear-of-lawsuit hysteria rather than sound research, cost-benefit analysis, least restrictive means to meet the policy objective and other rational criteria.  One extreme example of hysteria-based decision making is the banning of peanut products in schools.

Nut allergies — a Yuppie invention.  Your kid doesn't have an allergy to nuts.  Your kid has a parent who needs to feel special. ... Genes don't mutate fast enough to have caused an 18% increase in childhood food allergies between 1997 and 2007.  And genes certainly don't cause 25% of parents to believe that their kids have food allergies, when 4% do.  Yuppiedom does.

The fear about peanut allergies is nuts.  What constitutes a peanut allergy for a parent is not what constitutes it for a doctor.  If a child has diarrhea or vomits after eating nuts, it may signal a food allergy, but it may also mean food poisoning.  The FAAN study did not confirm its subjects' claims that they were allergic to nuts.  That would have required medical records and testing, neither of which were included in the study.

Doubt Is Cast on Many Reports of Food Allergies.  Many who think they have food allergies actually do not.  A new report, commissioned by the federal government, finds the field is rife with poorly done studies, misdiagnoses and tests that can give misleading results.

Is There a Reason to Ban Peanuts From Flights?  The Transportation Department has asked the public for weeks to comment on whether the once-popular, but increasingly rare, snack for passengers should be banned or restricted on airline flights for the sake of those who suffer serious allergies.  But whichever way public sentiment falls, there can be no ban on peanuts without scientific proof to back it up.


Bisphenol-A:

FDA Confirms BPA Poses No Realistic Health Risk.  The FDA just commented on a new peer-reviewed study which found no health impact from low doses of bisphenol-A.  BPA is a plasticizer often found at low doses in things like foods, children's milk bottles, and toys.  Anti-chemical activists responded by sending out waves of demands to parents that this useful chemical be banned from the shelves.  The FDA said, "The study reported no effects of BPA at any dose except at the very highest levels, and is consistent with the FDA's current position that BPA is safe at the very low amounts that occur in some foods."  The FDA found BPA's "low dose" safety range is huge:  from 2.5 to 2700 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day.

The Top 10 Unfounded Health Scares of 2012.  [#10] BPA and receipts: [BPA] has been used to harden certain plastics and resins and can be found in water bottles, baby bottles, cups, toys and other consumer goods, as well as in the coating used inside metal food containers in order to prevent spoilage and food-borne illness.  Some research has indicated that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers made with BPA and now apparently BPA can leach into your body from a store receipt. [...] According to Justin Teeguarden, a toxicologist and senior research scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Research Lab in Washington, BPA poses no danger to humans because it is rapidly metabolized and excreted in the urine.  A person would have to consume hundreds of thousands of times more than the amount they do now, in order to even measure significant levels in the blood.

BPA Replacement Faces the Same Attacks as BPA.  Anti-chemical activists claim Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical providing strength and flexibility to plastic products, poses threats to human health.  The activists point to studies showing rats develop health complications when continuously fed mega-doses of BPA.  Scientists report, however, that humans do not ingest nearly enough BPA to pose a threat to human health.  Clinical tests and observational studies confirm the scientists' reports.

FDA Affirms Bisphenol A Is Safe in Food Packaging.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reaffirmed that bisphenol A, a chemical used in certain plastics and resins, poses no identified risks to human health at current exposure levels.  FDA's decision came in response to a Natural Resources Defense Council petition for the agency to ban BPA in food packaging and containers. [...] Health risks, however, have never been documented in humans.  In addition, the studies suggesting BPA may cause negative health effects in rats have been criticized for their methodology and are dependent on huge doses that are not comparable to any foreseeable human exposure levels.

Ignoring Science, 97% of [News] Stories Hype BPA as Health Threat.  In just the past two years, the three broadcast networks and top five national newspapers have continued to report on the "hidden danger" of BPA, labeling it "carcinogenic" and "toxic" often with small or flawed reports from activists.  Ninety-seven percent of two years' worth of newspaper and TV news stories that discussed BPA were about the supposed danger or potential threat of the chemical.  This despite an Institute of Medicine study (funded by Komen) and government agencies' findings about the chemical.  Just two of the 87 stories focused on research that found BPA wasn't the risk the left claims it is.  A popular charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure (which recently angered the left when it rescinded grants to Planned Parenthood), paid the Institute of Medicine to do a study of environmental risks of breast cancer.  When the findings did not call BPA a risk factor breast cancer, some on the left were furious.

Food and Drug Administration Prepares BPA Decision.  Anti-BPA activists allege BPA exposure threatens reproductive health, can cause cancer, and increases the risk of child behavior problems.  The assertions are based on some studies indicating rats may suffer these effects when they are fed mega-doses of BPA.  The asserted health risks to rats, however, have never been documented in humans.  The studies suggesting BPA may cause negative health effects in rats have been criticized for their methodology and are dependent on huge doses not comparable to any foreseeable human exposure levels.

Food and Drug Administration Prepares BPA Decision.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is preparing a decision on whether to ban bisphenol A, a chemical widely used in plastics and the linings of metal food containers.  To settle a lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, FDA agreed to issue its decision by March 31.  The NRDC filed a petition with the FDA in 2008 requesting the agency ban BPA.

Harvard Prof Spins Scary Soup Study: Media Swallow.  Unfortunately, if journalists don't bother to wrestle with the regulatory science, they'll never know whether they are being spun or whether, in this case, Professor Michels is not as familiar with the research literature on BPA as a professor with two Ph.Ds should be.

The Big BPA Lie.  BPA is not carcinogenic or mutagenic; BPA does not adversely affect reproduction or development at any realistic dose; BPA is efficiently "metabolized" and rapidly excreted after oral exposure.  So where does the worldwide anti-BPA public relations campaign originate?

Connecticut, Chicago Ban Bisphenol-A in Baby Bottles.  The Chicago City Council has banned bisphenol-A, a chemical that strengthens plastics, from food and beverage containers intended for use by children under three years old. ... The chemical known as BPA, widely used in baby bottles, has never been shown to endanger human health, but it has affected laboratory rats fed extremely high doses.

A Chemical Scare Campaign Is Good Business for Some.  If you're unfamiliar with Bisphenol A (BPA), it is a chemical used to make lightweight, versatile, durable, high-performance plastics.  It's also one of the most extensively tested products in the world.  For example, as Norris Alderson, the FDA's associate commissioner for science, said just last year, "a large body of available evidence" demonstrates that products made with it are safe.

More about BPA:
The Tangled Web of Green: Manufacturing a Public Scare.  In addition to the "incestuous" relationship among some scientists, there seems to be an "incestuous" relationship between newspapers and environmental activists claiming to be health experts.  Consider that the "health advocates" quoted in the December 29 Journal-Sentinel article by almost-Pulitzer Prize winner Meg Kissinger are Janet Nudelman of the Breast Cancer Fund and Alex Formuzis.  The Breast Cancer Fund's agenda, despite its name, is environmental issues.

Senate May Ban Chemical That the FDA Says Is Safe.  When it returns from Easter break next week, the Senate is expected to vote on a bill that would ban the commonly used chemical Bisphenol A (BPA), despite repeated assertions from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that the compound is safe.

The Government and the Food Safety Modernization.  The recent target of radical environmental activists and ratings- seeking media alarmists, BPA has been accused of being associated with an assortment of adverse health effects, none of which are supported by acceptable scientific evidence or have been validated by FDA.  BPA critics have called the widely-used chemical the "biological equivalent of global warming," and claims of its health effects run the gamut from autism to cancer to genital and reproductive abnormalities.  Not to be outdone by the global warming alarmists, the anti-industry BPA fear mongers continue to propound flimsy "evidence" unsupported by any reputable scientific body.

Plastic water bottles won't hurt you.  Canada has announced it will ban the chemical bisphenol A — known as BPA — which is used to make plastic water and baby bottles.  The head of the Canadian environmental group Environmental Defence is thrilled:  "Kudos to the federal government. ... We look forward to seeing BPA legally designated as 'toxic' as soon as possible."  But the evidence doesn't actually show that BPA is toxic.  Europe's equivalent of the FDA concluded:  "(T)he data currently available do not provide convincing evidence of neurobehavioral toxicity."


Swine flu:

The Deadly Obama Virus.  In the beginning of the 2009 flu season, Barack Obama declared the H1N1 swine flu a national emergency.  By October of that year 1,000 people had already died, and according to the president there was the threat of a pandemic. [...] Speaking of pigs, according to the CDC, after the swine flu scare was over, in a country that typically sees 36,000 deaths from the flu annually, that year 12,000 Americans died of the swine flu.

The Swine Who Live to Scare You.  We live in a world of competing lies, all swirling around us and generated by government and what are now called "non-governmental organizations." ... These are the swine who live to scare you because they know this is the way to benefit from your ignorance, gullibility or because you will not take the time to check out the "facts" they are telling you, using them like cattle prods to make you and others move in the direction they want.

The Administration's Flu Fear-Mongering.  'In keeping with the administration's proactive approach" to swine flu, the White House has announced that President Obama has declared the disease "a national emergency."  It's the second such declaration, with the first in late April.  And in case you didn't know what "proactive" meant before, now you do:  "hysterical."

Millions of swine flu shots wasted.  Germany is stuck with €250 million worth of swine flu vaccine ordered during the height of the flu panic last winter but never used because the mass immunisation campaign was a failure, according to a Friday [5/7/2010] media report.

No More Crying 'Spanish Flu'.  Flu season has officially ended.  We had about 12,000 fatalities, a third the usual number according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates.  Yet almost all infections were H1N1 swine flu.  The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed 18,036 swine flu deaths over the past year, somewhat shy of the 250,000 to 500,000 it estimates die annually of seasonal flu.  So it's hard to imagine that a year ago top public health officials and the media were comparing swine flu to the Spanish flu of 1918-19.

It's Official:  WHO Says H1N1 Pandemic Is Over.  The World Health Organization declared the swine flu pandemic officially over Tuesday [8/10/2010], months after many national authorities started canceling vaccine orders and shutting down hot lines as the disease ebbed from the headlines.

The Editor says...
At long last, the "all clear" signal is given.  According to the WHO, the "pandemic" was still underway a year after anybody else thought so.  They got as much mileage out of this manufactured crisis as they could, but eventually they finally had to give it up.


Ebola:

This subsection has moved to a page of its own, located here.


SARS:

More than a decade later, SARS offers lessons on Ebola.  It was a novel virus whose early symptoms could easily be mistaken for a dozen other common afflictions.  With no treatment or vaccine in hand, it bubbled up — and quickly mushroomed — in a group of poor, populous countries.  Healthcare workers who treated the infected died by the hundreds.  Eventually, the virus boarded airplanes and crisscrossed the globe, infecting thousands in the span of several months.  Millions more came down with a paralyzing fear of the deadly and mysterious pathogen:  severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Here's a rule of thumb about diseases:  The rarer and less likely they are to kill you, the more hype they get.  The New York Times ran more than 2,000 articles on SARS, which ultimately killed zero Americans.

The Fear Equation.  In early March of 2003, when SARS swept into Hong Kong from Southern China, the streets of one of the world's most densely populated areas were practically deserted.  Venders in kiosks sold face masks and hand sanitizer to anyone brave, or foolish, enough to leave home.  The fear of a new highly contagious disease is understandable, and, with no effective treatment or vaccine for SARS, it was difficult to know what to do.  The World Health Organization recommended that officials in the countries most affected warn people with a fever to stay off international flights.  Hong Kong went further, using infrared scanners and thermometers to take the temperature of more than thirty-six million passengers as they arrived.  Nineteen hundred and twenty-one of them had a fever, and forty were admitted to the hospital.  None developed SARS.  (Canada and Singapore also scanned arriving passengers.  Neither country found anyone with SARS.)


Styrofoam:

Bloomberg's Last Crusade: Banning Styrofoam Cups.  With the sun finally setting on the Bloomberg empire, New York City's fastidious mayor attempts to seal his legacy by tackling the most dangerous threat facing America's largest city:  styrofoam cups?

Mayor Bloomberg wants to ban Styrofoam.  At the request of the mayor, the City Council's Sanitation Committee is holding a hearing Monday [11/25/2013] on a bill to prohibit the use and sale of plastic foam cups and plates that have long been ubiquitous in delis, bodegas and even school cafeterias.  Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway will testify on behalf of the administration, which first proposed the ban in the summer and is now rushing to get it enacted into law.

NYC Bill Would Ban Styrofoam Containers.  The New York City Council is considering a bill to ban the sale of food served in polystyrene foam containers.  Mayor Michael Bloomberg and at least 11 Council members publicly support the proposed ban, but consumers and small business owners are rallying against it.  The Bloomberg administration claims the many years it takes polystyrene to break down in local landfills justifies the product ban.  According to the American Chemistry Council, however, polystyrene foam containers comprise less than 1 percent of landfill waste.

New York City's Imperial Mayor Bloomberg Bans Again.  Still pulsing with the power from outlawing big servings of sweet drinks, Michael Bloomberg now wants to run Styrofoam out of his city.  Clearly, he believes that everyone has to live exactly as he wants them to live.  During Thursday's State of the City address, New York Mayor Bloomberg called for a ban on Styrofoam food packaging.  It's all a part of his crusade to eliminate smoking, sugary drinks, salt and other items he doesn't like — and, hence, thinks no one else should have.

NYC Mayor Bloomberg Calling For Styrofoam Ban.  When I sit here lamenting living in the blue state of New York, I take a little solace in knowing that at least I don't live in New York City and I don't have to put up with that tyrant of a Mayor, Michael Bloomberg.  Not only is he telling people what they can eat and drink, now he's going after food and beverage containers.

City considers ban on Styrofoam cups and containers.  First he dictated the size of our cups — now he wants to ban what they're made of.  The Bloomberg administration is considering banning Styrofoam cups and containers — popular at thousands of delis and food carts across the city -- as it prepares to roll out a major recycling announcement in the coming weeks, a Sanitation Department official said yesterday [2/6/2013].

Food Fight Waged Over Congressional Utensils.  More than a decade ago, lawmakers pushed for more robust recycling after a number of environmental groups blasted Congress for having an informal program with questionable results.  After becoming speaker in 2007, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduced the Green the Capitol initiative, which revamped the House with, among other things, new lights and biodegradable cups and utensils, all meant to reduce the Capitol's carbon footprint.

Dems: Congress's Styrofoam cups could cause cancer.  A group of Democrats complain Styrofoam cups in the House cafeteria could contain carcinogens.

The Editor says...
SO?  If that's what you believe, then don't use those cups.  That will leave more for the rest of us.  But really, styrofoam products have been marketed since 1954*, and if there was anything dangerous about it, we'd all be dead by now.  Lots of things cause cancer, apparently.  Get used to it.  Styrofoam is made from styrene, and...

California Judge Rules Styrene Safe.  Styrene, an organic compound used widely in food packaging and a variety of plastic products, is not a known carcinogen and therefore cannot be listed among California's Proposition 65 chemicals "known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm," a California Superior Court judge has ruled.  The decision is a blow to environmental activists who had lobbied to affix the Prop 65 label to styrene even though no regulatory body anywhere in the world has classified it as a known human carcinogen.

With the country on the brink of bankruptcy, is this a major priority?
House Democrats renew battle against cafeteria Styrofoam.  House Democrats are once again attempting to do away with Styrofoam products in congressional cafeterias, this time with an amendment to a fiscal 2012 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill.  Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) introduced an anti-Styrofoam amendment on Wednesday [7/13/2011] during an Appropriations Committee markup.

Democrat Moran Fails to Ban Styrofoam from House Cafeterias.  Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) has failed in a bid to secure a proposed amendment to the 2012 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill that would ban Styrofoam products from congressional cafeterias.  The amendment, introduced Wednesday, failed to pass the House Appropriations Committee on a 26-18 vote, along party lines.

California Styrofoam Ban Will Hurt Restaurants And Manufacturing Plants.  A California bill to ban polystyrene containers — affectionately known as Styrofoam — won't go into effect until 2016, but people are already up in arms.  Democratic state Sen. Alan Lowenthal's bill to put a stop to Styrofoam use in grocery stores, restaurants, and food vendors is set to pass in the Senate.  It would be the first state-wide ban of Styrofoam in the country, though over 50 cities in California, including San Francisco, have already enacted bans of their own.


Salt:

The FDA's Science-Free Anti-Salt Crusade.  It seems that Michael Jacobson, watch commander of the food police and executive director of the anti-corporate Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), hates food.  On any given day, he is battling with berries, clams, fat free and fat laden foods.  A strict vegetarian, Jacobson has made a lucrative career of attacking America's nutritional products and scaring hungry consumers.  In its last IRS filing, CSPI claimed a budget of nearly $20 million, not including Jacobson's speaking, writing, and appearance fees.  Their latest target is salt, and his agenda-driven scare tactics have influenced government bureaucrats who share his vendetta against U.S. corporate food producers.  This is especially true of the FDA.

Seven foods that were supposed to be incredibly unhealthy — but are actually anything but.  [#4] Salt — Old Wisdom:  Salt kills.  It raises blood pressures, causes hypertension and increases the risk of premature death.  New Wisdom:  Salt is essential to health.  Too little salt can actually lead to premature death.  The new wisdom is actually older than the old wisdom.  Long before it became the number-one evildoer in the Department of Agriculture's hit list, worse than fats, sugar and booze, salt was considered so valuable to body and soul that it was literally used as currency.

Killer salt and other 'scientific' disasters.  Some of you probably missed it, but the Centers for Disease Control announced earlier this month that consuming reasonable amounts of salt is not dangerous at all, despite decades of "science" claiming that salting up your steak and potatoes was tantamount to a death sentence. [...] In fact, the CDC has concluded that everyone ought to be eating between 1½ and 3 teaspoons of salt per day.  If you have been eating less than a teaspoon of salt a day, you may in fact be harming yourself.

Food Nannies Won't Be Stopped By Shoddy Science.  The Food and Drug Administration has begun to look at regulating the amount of salt in "processed" foods, and they're being cheered on by progressives.  ThinkProgress' health reporter Sy Mukherjee asked "why can't the FDA do more to crack down on these additives?", and lamented that foods generally recognized as safe cannot be so easily controlled by regulatory fiat.  Media Matters noted the "positive effects" from diets with reduced salt and said that those who disagreed with FDA regulations are waging a "war on health."

Great news: Government salt intake guidelines useless, may even be dangerous.  After years of government warnings that Americans must lower sodium levels in their diet to avoid heart disease and strokes, a new study commissioned by the CDC finds that the 1500-mg level long championed by policymakers is not just wrong, but so low as to potentially cause health problems.

New study shows lowering salt intake doesn't help.  Say it loud, say it proud:  please pass the salt.  All those people hectoring me all those years to cut back on salt have been pushing phony advice, according to a major new study.

Food cops have sour prescription for our diets.  There are two things that will make finger-wagging food cops go ballistic: sugar and salt. ... In May, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that, among 3,700 subjects studied over time, the cardiovascular death rate was highest among those who ate less salt.  And in July, a review determined that even a 50 percent salt reduction is not associated with a significant decrease in heart disease.


Hydraulic fracturing of shale:

This subsection has moved to this page.


Autism:

Autism Fraud Just the Tip of the Iceberg.  The lead author of that anti-vaccine study, which also appeared in one most respected medical journals, The Lancet, was British physician Andrew Wakefield.  And its consequences include millions of terrified and confused parents, large drops in vaccination rates and death.  Yet while this "deliberate fraud" has been exposed, others continue to go unchallenged, or worse, get trumpeted by reporters who should know better.  Regarding Wakefield, many people, including me, have spent years puncturing his claims and those of his acolytes in the anti-vaccine movement.  But a media that thrives on sensationalism instead played up the phony link.

A Banner Day For Junk Science.  A 1998 British medical study linking autism to childhood vaccines by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, published as fact in the prestigious Lancet journal, was exposed by a rival as a fraud.  According to an investigation from U.K. medical journal BMJ, Wakefield misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 patients in his study.

Medical Journal Claims Doc's Study Linking Vaccines to Autism Fueled By Money.  The link between Autism and the Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine (MMR) is the medical version of the "birther" and "truther" stories.  The findings of the original scientific paper haves never been duplicated, the original paper was withdrawn as false by the medical journal which originally published it and the Doctor who conducted the study lost his licence because of the rules he broke while conducting it.  Despite all of that evidence, there are people for whom there is not enough evidence in the world to convince them the original study was bogus.

Autism Fraud.  The report that first triggered scares that a vaccine to prevent measles, mumps and rubella might cause autism in children has received another devastating blow to its credibility.  The British Medical Journal has declared that the research was not simply bad science, as has been known for years, but a deliberate fraud.

Redefining "Autism," "Poor," and Other Words in Misleading Ways.  [Scroll down]  Genuine autism is a truly tragic condition, both for those afflicted by it and for their parents.  Few people would have any problem with the idea that both voluntary donations and government expenditures are well spent to help those suffering from autism.  "Autism," however, has been sweepingly redefined over the years.  What was discovered and defined as autism back in 1943 is just one of a number of conditions now included as being part of "the autism spectrum."  Many, if not most, of these conditions are nowhere near as severe as autism, or even as clearly defined. [...] Before 1990, 1 child out of 2,500 was said to be autistic.  This year, it is said to be 1 out of 88.


Siloxanes:

Have You Used Siloxanes Today? Yes!  In April of this year, Canadian Environmental Minister, Peter Kent, announced that the government of Canada had concluded that siloxane D5 was not harmful to the environment.  D5 is used in a host of consumer and industrial products including automobile parts, and life-saving medical devices.  Why, then, should you be concerned about siloxanes?  The answer is that you shouldn't.

The EPA's Long War on Chemicals.  Currently in the EPA's chemical action plan crosshairs are siloxanes, a type of silicone which, in turn, comes mostly from sand.  Siloxanes are inert, non-allergenic, odorless and colorless.  They've been safely used for decades in thousands of consumer and industrial products — everything from medical cream and sunscreen to automobile tires, high-efficiency insulation and spacecraft.  There are a wide variety of siloxanes, but the EPA isn't saying which ones have been targeted making it almost impossible for outside parties to provide any sort of meaningful input to the process.  If you wanted to stack the deck against something, that would be a great way to do it.


Methane:

This subsection is located here.


Bees:

Obama's 'Federal Strategy' to Protect Bees Includes DoD, National Security Council.  In a presidential memorandum issued on Friday [6/27/2014], President Barack Obama announced a "federal strategy to promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators" with the help of agencies including the Defense Department and the National Security Council.  Pollinators such as honey bees and butterflies contribute to the economy through benefits to agricultural crops, but their numbers are declining because of a "combination of stressors," including nutrition, habitat, parasites, diseases, pesticides and a lack of genetic diversity, the memo stated.

Bees doing just fine, finds EU, but continues to ban the pesticide which didn't harm them.  [Scroll down]  "Honeybee decline is less dramatic than first thought," the survey admits.  What it also shows is that bee colonies are mainly being wiped out in winter not summer — which is the opposite of what would happen if neonicotinoid pesticides were responsible for their deaths.  The real killer, it turns out, was the harsh winter of 2012/2013 — as shown by the fact that the majority of the affected hives were in the colder countries of Northern Europe, rather than the southern ones.

Bees are in Danger? Another Environmental Lie Exposed.  I cannot say it strong enough.  Do not believe the lies that environmental groups, particularly those that receive millions from liberal foundations and from members who never question the "science" they claim to justify massive scare campaigns.  One such organization is Friends of the Earth (FOE) and its latest claim is that bees are dying all over the world as the result of the use of pesticides in agriculture and by people protecting their gardens.  It is a lie.

Bee Deaths May Stem From Virus, Study Says.  The mysterious mass die-offs of honeybees that have wiped out roughly a third of commercial colonies each year since 2006 may be linked to a rapidly mutating virus that jumped from tobacco plants to soy plants to bees, according to a new study.

Science, Belief and Policy.  [S]ometimes, in the world of realpolitik, a decision to take temporary action becomes by default a mandate for permanent change.  For example, the use of neonicotinoid insecticides in the EU has been temporarily banned as a precautionary measure because of possible (but unproven) links to steep declines in bee populations.  Because it will probably be no clearer in two years' time which are the important factors affecting bee health, it is quite likely this ban will be extended, even if bee populations have failed to increase.  No real attention is likely to be given to the overall balance of costs and benefits to farming, the food supply, the countryside or consumers, simply the hypothetical possibility of harm to bees.  Ratcheting up of restrictions on pesticides is a sign of a highly risk-averse society.

How green bullying, junk science and EU lies killed off yet another successful industry.  [Scroll down]  The Greenies had them in their sights and there was an end to it:  on went the bee costumes, up went the placards, out came Vivienne Westwood and Stephen Fry, and really, if the only place you got your information was the mainstream media that would have been all you would have ever heard of it.  You'd have known — simply because you did:  it was a known fact — that neonicotinoids were killing bees and had to be banned.  Except a) it wasn't true and b) the story gets murkier and murkier.  We now know that the EU ban on neonicotinoids in May this year was enacted not on the basis of any hard scientific evidence, but rather as a result of manoeuvrings by a socialist French ex-MEP [...]

There is no bee crisis.  Contrary to what you may have heard, there is no "bee-pocalypse."  There is lots of alarmist talk about colony collapse disorder, people are blaming pesticides and talking about hundreds of billions of dollars at risk.  But a closer look tells a very different story.  Yes, honeybees are dying in above-average numbers, but the most likely cause is the varroa mite and associated viruses.  Moreover, if you look at the actual numbers, they undermine much of the catastrophic rhetoric.

Washington Ag Department Rejects Asserted Pesticide Link to Bee Decline.  The Washington State Department of Agriculture rejected a request to ban a garden pesticide that environmental activist groups have unsuccessfully attempted to link to declines in the honeybee population.  Responding to environmental activists' assertions, Thurston County commissioners asked the Washington Department of Agriculture to ban homeowners from purchasing neonicotinoid pesticides.  Neonicotinoid pesticides are commonly used to kill aphids and other insects that attack home garden plants.

Looks like "global warming" is off the hook for honeybee deaths.  I published a story about the loony idea that was proposed by some researcher in Europe about "cell phone radiation may be killing bees".  I pointed out that it was garbage then, as it is now. ... Fast forward to 2012, it looks like the culprit for colony collapse disorder has been found and it has nothing to do with global warming.

Parasite Tied to Global Bee Deaths.  The sudden collapse of honeybee colonies around the world, a condition identified in 2004, is most likely caused by the parasite Nosema ceranae, not the human causes alleged by environmental activist groups, Spanish researchers have reported in Environmental Microbiology Reports, a journal of the Society for Applied Microbiology.


Miscellaneous:

Plastic Bag Fantasy Island Vanishes Like Atlantis, Scientist Corrects Million-Ton Floating Estimate.  The scientist whose findings environmentalists used to shame us into bringing our own reusable bags to the grocery store now says that his estimate of one million tons of plastic floating in the ocean may have been off by a factor of perhaps 143.  His latest estimate ranges from 7,000 to 35,000 tons, and even most of that has biodegraded into granules.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Hoax.  A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences could mean bad news for environmental doomsayers.  Forget all those warnings about the million tons of plastic debris floating in the ocean.  Ignore the photos that you think show the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  Andres Cozar of the University of Cadiz in Spain is the man who once extrapolated the 1 million-ton estimate.  Since then, however, he has led research that collected samples at 141 ocean sites.  Cozar's new estimate:  Between 7,000 and 35,000 tons of plastic are floating in the ocean.  Cozar's team didn't find country-sized islands of plastic bags strangling baby birds and sea turtles.  It found "micro plastics."  What people think of as a dump doesn't look like floating junk.  Instead, ocean current "convergence zones" are swirling with flecks of plastic — like a snow globe a half-minute after you shake it — and with considerably less plastic trash than expected.

PETA Needs to [Shut Up} About Autism and Dairy.  If I were to survey my patients' refrigerators, odds are I'd find milk in almost all of them.  With the exception of those with a diagnosed medical problem related to dairy consumption, just about every parent reports that their kids drink at least some milk.  I commonly pass along the recommendation that children have 2-3 cups of dairy during the day, and my own kids certainly put away their share of it.  PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is trying to scare people into changing all that.  As recently reported by The Daily Beast, PETA has launched a campaign that tries to link milk consumption and autism.

Are butter, cheese and meat that bad?  For the past four decades, we've been told to stay away from red meat, dairy and cheese — foods high in saturated fats — because saturated fat is bad for the heart.  But investigative reporter Nina Teicholz says that isn't the case.  "When the dietary recommendations came out in 1961 saying that saturated fat causes heart disease, that was based on total cholesterol," Teicholz said.  "But our understanding of heart disease has evolved enormously."

Coke to drop controversial ingredient entirely.  The Atlanta-based company says brominated vegetable oil is still being used in some flavors of Fanta and Fresca, as well as several citrus-flavored fountain drinks.

The Editor says...
Brominated vegetable oil was "generally recognized as safe" as far back as 1958.

That's what chlorine is for.
Teen urinates in reservoir; officials to flush 38M gallons; L.A. weeps.  Shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday [4/16/2014], a 19-year-old in a hoodie and baggy jeans was captured on a grainy black-and-white surveillance video urinating into a reservoir that slakes the thirst of Portland, Ore.'s 600,000 or so residents.  But really, Portland Water Bureau officials, do you have to flush 38 million gallons of potable water for the sake of a cup or two of human urine?  That's how much the bladder comfortably holds, although the bladder in question obviously wasn't comfortable.

[It would take a lot more urine] in the Portland Reservoir to Make It Unsafe to Drink.  A teenager urinated into one of the city's drinking water reservoirs the other day.  That's gross, sure, and aggravating — what a brat!  But in one of the most spectacularly stupid decisions in years, the city is going to drain the reservoir.  The most spectacularly stupid decision in about three years, anyway — if this sounds familiar, that's because Portland did the same thing in 2011.

The Editor says...
Ask yourself these questions:  Is every gallon in that open outdoor reservoir a gallon of pure potable water?  Do birds fly over and poop in it occasionally?  Do ducks spend the night in that water?  Are there any fish in that water?  Doesn't the city add chlorine to that water before pumping it to the city's distribution system?  Have you ever considered where drinking water comes from on the International Space Station?

Portland reservoir as a latrine? It'll be moot once EPA rule kicks in.  Portland's now-infamous teenager who was caught on camera urinating into a reservoir there apparently told an online news site that he was relieving himself on a wall.  Although tests on the open-air reservoir came back clean, the ick factor was enough for officials to go ahead with their plan to drain all 38 million gallons of drinking water and send it into the sea.

Putting the 'pee' in Portland.  Tragedy struck Portland again last week at Reservoir No. 5, this time by a teenage terrorist armed with a bladder of death and destruction, or at least 8 ounces of annoying but harmless urine.  It was shock and awe all over again at the Portland water department.  What happened next is a textbook case of what can happen anywhere when bureaucrats are left loose and unsupervised. [...] David Shaff, the administrator of the Portland Water Bureau, quickly ordered the reservoir drained, all 38 million gallons of the stuff the San Joaquin Valley hundreds of miles south would kill for.  Tests showed the water was actually clear and clean, with no traces of urine, but Mr. Shaff was not thinking about public safety.  It was all about marketing.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Separating Myths from Facts.  Since the 1970s, the use of high-fructose corn syrup in the U.S. food supply has increased dramatically — typically as a replacement for sucrose (table sugar) in soft drinks and many food products.  The prevalence of obesity has also increased substantially between the 1970s and the early 2000s.  Because of this coincidental timing, HFCS has been erroneously demonized as a unique cause of the obesity epidemic in the United States.  Sucrose and HFCS have essentially the same composition, and thus it would be highly unlikely for them to have different effects on body weight or metabolism.

The Top 10 Unfounded Health Scares of 2012.  [#6] Caramel coloring in Coke: A caramel coloring ingredient found in sodas, 4-methylimidazole (4-MI or 4-MEI), was labeled as a carcinogen under California's ridiculous Proposition 65.  This chemical has been under attack previously by the same Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which is bringing it to the forefront again. [...] The doses of 4-MI necessary to kill rodents are so high, that this chemical should not have been attacked in the first place.  Although the soda industry is reformulating products, the previous recipe with 4-MI does not pose a risk to humans and this scare was simply blown out of proportion by the "food police" at CSPI.

An obscure new rule on microwaves can tell us a lot about Obama's climate policies.  Last week, the Department of Energy announced a little-noticed update to its energy-efficiency standards for microwaves, requiring newer models to use less power in stand-by mode.  But there was a surprise buried in the fine print:  The agency is now using a higher figure for the "social cost of carbon" in calculating the benefits of the rule.

The Editor says...
Outside your house, there is a big power transformer that consumes power 24 hours a day (if you're lucky), and dissipates more power than all the idle appliances you own.  And the power company knows about it, and can't do anything to fix it, and nobody cares.  And that problem doesn't cause global warming, either.  Once again, in case you have just tuned in, global warming stopped -- all by itself -- in 1998.

'Crack baby' scare overblown, teen research says.  Research in teens adds fresh evidence that the 1980s "crack baby" scare was overblown, finding little proof of any major long-term ill effects in children whose mothers used cocaine during pregnancy.

The Top Ten Unfounded Health Scares of 2006.  [#2] Benzene in Soft Drinks Cause Cancer:  Yes, benzene is a carcinogen — at high doses — and has been linked to leukemia in workers exposed over years.  The current EPA limit on benzene in water is 5 parts per billion (ppb), and levels found in soft drinks were over that amount.  But what the scaremongers don't tell us is that even levels above that are not necessarily going to present a problem.  The amounts found in soft drinks are extraordinarily small — one ppb is analogous to one second in 32 years.  Back in 1990, when there was a similar scare about benzene in Perrier (naturally present in the spring the water came from), the FDA counseled that the levels (12-20 ppb) should not be of concern.

Bees, pesticides, more green lies.  [Scroll down]  Various neonicotinoids are widely used in Canada to protect its vast canola fields, and Canadian bee populations are thriving, notes science writer Jon Entine.  Varroa-free Australia is likewise one of the world's prime users of these pesticides, and its bee colonies are among the planet's healthiest.  By contrast, bee populations have been severely impacted by Varroa mites in areas of Switzerland where neonics are not used.  Multiple studies point to still other factors that explain why bees are struggling.  They include bees developing resistance to antibiotics, funguses like Nosema, multiple bee viruses and parasites, bacterial infections like foulbrood, exposure to commonly used organophosphates, bee habitat loss, and even long-term bee inbreeding and resultant lack of genetic diversity.

Rachel Was Wrong.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of biologist Rachel Carson's 1962 book, Silent Spring, which argued that man-made chemicals represented a grave threat to human health and the environment. [...] History has proven Carson's claims wrong.  Contrary to her admonitions, a chemically caused cancer epidemic never came to pass.  Researchers who identified environmental factors did not simply target trace chemical exposures as significant, but instead focused on major cancer causes such as tobacco and poor diets.  In fact, people are living longer and healthier lives, cancer rates have declined even as chemical use has increased, and chemicals are not among the key causes of cancer.

Arkansas Representative Declares State of Emergency over Frying Pan Grease.  State Rep. Kathy Webb is seeking to have Arkansas declare a state of emergency due to people failing to scrape grease from their dishes or trap the grease in special grease collectors before washing the dishes in dishwashers or the kitchen sink.  Webb has submitted Interim Study Proposal 2011-201, an act "to declare an emergency" over the alleged crisis.

Mobile phone use 'not linked to brain tumours', say experts.  After decades of fear, using a mobile phone may not cause cancer after all, scientific research has claimed.  An independent panel of experts has found "no convincing evidence of a link" between the technology and brain tumours.  But the panel, from a leading cancer research centre, admitted the possibility of small or long-term repercussions could not be ruled out.

The Government Just Put Formaldehyde On The Cancer List.  The 12th list of the chemicals that give you cancer to be published by the toxicology program at the National Institutes at Health was released on June 10th.  The bad news:  Formaldehyde is one of the eight chemicals listed on it.  Formaldehyde has been expected to join this list for many years and unfortunately, it's already in everything, to the point that it's safe to say you've definitely been exposed to it at some point in your life.  Especially if you've ever been inside a nail or hair salon, worn a wrinkle-free shirt, or smelled the "new house" smell.

Wind farms: Britain is 'running out of wind'.  According to government figures, 13 of the past 16 months have been calmer than normal — while 2010 was the "stillest" year of the past decade.  Meteorologists believe that changes to the Atlantic jet stream could alter the pattern of winds over the next 40 years and leave much of the nation's growing army of power-generating turbines becalmed.

Nonsense has me incensed.  How many times in our own lifetime have the doomsayers, confusing their own mortality with that of mankind, falsely warned we were at the end of days?  Wasn't humanity supposed to have already been cut down by nuclear war?  Global pandemics?  The "population bomb"?  The hole in the ozone layer?  A new ice age?  Acid rain?  Genetically modified food?  Toxic waste?  A catastrophic extinction caused by pollution and pesticides?  Pick your poison.  None of it happened.

Sticky or Non-Stick?  Senate Bill 1313 ... [outlaws] PFOS, PFOA, higher homologues, or precursors to these chemicals, in any concentration exceeding 10 parts per billion. ... [But it] Seems there is little evidence that the chemicals cause any harm; it's found everywhere, yet there's been ZERO reported incidence of health problems caused by the chemicals, even in young children.

A New Cigarette Hazard:  'Third-Hand Smoke'.  Parents who smoke often open a window or turn on a fan to clear the air of second-hand smoke, but experts now have identified another smoking-related threat to children's health that isn't as easy to get rid of:  third-hand smoke.  That's the term being used to describe the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers' hair and clothing, not to mention cushions and carpeting, that lingers long after smoke has cleared from a room.

Pre-industrial CO2 levels were about the same as today.  Why we are told otherwise?  Proponents of human induced warming and climate change told us that an increase in CO2 precedes and causes temperature increases.  They were wrong.  They told us the late 20th century was the warmest on record.  They were wrong.  They told us, using the infamous "hockey stick" graph, the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) did not exist.  They were wrong.  They told us global temperatures would increase through 2008 as CO2 increased.  They were wrong.  They told us Arctic ice would continue to decrease in area through 2008.  They were wrong.  They told us October 2008 was the second warmest on record.  They were wrong.

Making city streets safer for criminals.  In a commentary in Nature magazine (Jan. 1) presaging the 2009 International Year of Astronomy, astronomer Malcolm Smith says that it's time for cities to "turn off the lights" so we can better see the Milky Way, conserve energy, protect wildlife and benefit human health. ... "A fifth of the world's population cannot see the Milky Way," is Smith's headline argument.  "This has a subtle cultural impact.  Without a direct view of the stars, mankind is cut off from most of the Universe, deprived of any direct sense of its huge scale and our tiny place within it," he asserts.  That fuzzy mix of cosmology, sociology and psychology would seem to be an odd argument coming from someone who holds himself out to be a scientist.

Appetite for frogs' legs harming wild populations.  Are frogs being eaten to extinction?  We're used to hearing about how disease, climate change, and habitat degradation are endangering amphibians, but conservationists are warning that frogs could be going the same way as the cod.  Gastronomic demand, they report, is depleting regional populations to the point of no return.  David Bickford of the National University of Singapore and colleagues have called for more regulation and monitoring in the global frog meat market in order to avoid species being "eaten to extinction".

Legless frogs mystery solved.  Around the world, frogs are found with missing or misshaped limbs, a striking deformity that many researchers believe is caused by chemical pollution.  However, tests on frogs and toads have revealed a more natural, benign cause.  The deformed frogs are actually victims of the predatory habits of dragonfly nymphs, which eat the legs of tadpoles.

Frogs bounce back, contradicting warmist doomsayers.  Just a few years ago, we were told that frogs were disappearing because of global warming.  We were told that there was no further time to waste, that soon the world would be frog-bereft, so we had no choice but to limit crabon [sic] emissions or all would be lost.  Now it turns out that this prediction was as valid as the prediction that snow would vanish from Britain, and that Australia was doomed to extreme drought.  As the UK digs out of record snowfall, and Australia copes with extreme floods, the frogs are bouncing back.

Ecologists warn the planet is running short of water.  A swelling global population, changing diets and mankind's expanding "water footprint" could be bringing an end to the era of cheap water.  The warnings, in an annual report by the Pacific Institute in California, come as ecologists have begun adopting the term "peak ecological water" — the point where, like the concept of "peak oil", the world has to confront a natural limit on something once considered virtually infinite.

MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism.  The doctor who sparked the scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine for children changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism, a Sunday Times investigation has found.  Confidential medical documents and interviews with witnesses have established that Andrew Wakefield manipulated patients' data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella was linked to the condition.

The Deadly Toll Of Vaccine Hysteria.  The idea that a preservative once used in vaccines is to blame for rising autism rates has just been authoritatively debunked — again.  Indeed, some of the key early "evidence" now stands exposed as fake.  Sadly, none of this will kill this myth — because it was never based on good science.

CDC Can't Link Human Health to Great Lakes Water Pollution.  The best available scientific data show no firm connection between Great Lakes water pollution and human health effects, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has concluded after an eight-year study.

Study:  Declining Great Lake Levels Entirely Natural.  Like polar bears, hurricanes, and arctic ice caps, recent drops in Great Lake water levels have been a poster child for green activists' claims that the global warming crisis is upon us.

Overheated White House Environmental Campaigns.  [President Obama] has said on global warming, "The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.  Sea levels are rising.  Coastlines are shrinking.  We've seen record drought, spreading famine and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season."  Fortunately for the world, not a single one of those claims is accurate.

Laughing gas is biggest threat to ozone.  Nitrous oxide, better known as the dental anaesthetic "laughing gas", has replaced CFCs as the most potent destroyer of ozone in the upper atmosphere, a study has shown.  Unlike CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), once extensively used in refrigerators, emissions of the gas are not limited by any international agreement.

The Editor says...
The total mass of stratospheric ozone is estimated as 3x10^12 kg.*  That's 30 billion metric tons of ozone.  There must be a lot more dentists than I had thought.

Creating a Drug Crisis:  A rather obscure theory, dear to the hearts of many environmental groups, holds that over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs and pesticides are wreaking havoc on human health and the environment because they act as "endocrine disruptors." ... Such claims are nothing more than nonsense of the sort that environmental groups routinely spout in order to create non-existent crises that their supporters are urged to address.  Not coincidentally, these manufactured crises are used by environmental groups to drum up contributions in order to battle evil corporations bent on destroying the planet.

Political Radicals + Environmental Regulations = Lost Jobs.  In California, the SRC [Scientific Review Committee] is now focused on overturning the state's decision to approve a new chemical called methyl iodide, which is harmless and does not pose a threat when deployed correctly.  Long story short, methyl iodide is used as a soil disinfectant, and naturally emitted by rice plantations.  The decision to not use methyl iodide seriously threatens a $2 billion dollar a year strawberry industry that employs over 10,000 people alone in California.

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Updated October 24, 2014.

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