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
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.
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  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.
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."
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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."
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.
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.
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
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
The Bird Flu Pandemic is a Hoax.
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
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."
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
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
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.
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:
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.
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,
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.
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.
There is a bunch of material about CO2 on this page.
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.
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.
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
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 now has its own page.
DDT has its own page, too.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
This subsection has moved to this page.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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].
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.
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
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.
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
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.
about fluorescent light bulbs.
This subsection has moved to this page.
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
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.
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
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,
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
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.
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: 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.
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
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.
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."
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.
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,
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
This very large subsection has moved to this page.
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.
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.
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
"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.
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  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.
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."
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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  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.
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
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
does not lend itself to fast and easy cooking [and] fish can be relatively expensive for people on a
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  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."
Editor's Note: 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  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.
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
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.
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:
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).
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
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.
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).
Global warmists throw in the towel.
Even the people who thrust this man-caused global warming into the public's face have given up beating that pony.
That horse is deader than Secretariat. They even have retreated from climate change. The new threat to the
world that requires more government is — sustainable development. That is an odd phrase that means
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.
"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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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."
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
There is more information about air pollution in the Radon and Urban Sprawl sections
above, and in the EPA subsection
on this page.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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."
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
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.
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
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
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.
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."
False Alarm: Heat 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:
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
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.
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:
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.
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:  America's air is already safe to breathe and it is
much better than the EPA would have the public believe; and that  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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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:
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.
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.
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."
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This subsection is
'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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Seattle salts its streets. Readers
may recall three winters ago when I mocked and ridiculed the city of Seattle, Washington, for failing to salt its
streets despite tons of snow clogging its streets. The whack-job liberals in charge of City Hall cited
environmental reasons for not salting their streets. ... From Alex Wiggins, chief of staff for the Seattle Department
of Transportation, in December 2008: "If we were using salt, you'd see patches of bare road because salt
is very effective. We decided not to utilize salt because it's not a healthy addition to Puget Sound."
The Puget Sound is a body of salt water.
AP, they found your missing caribou.
The story two Octobers ago by Charles J. Hanley of the Associated Press was a sad one. Caribou were
dwindling due to mankind's global warming! A survey found that a quarter-million caribou had disappeared.
Wrote Charles J. Handley: "Global warming has boosted temperatures in the Arctic twice as much as
elsewhere, and Canadian researchers say the natural balance is suffering." Two years later, those missing
caribou have been found. In Saskatchewan. ... So, it was a false alarm. The herd did not die out.
It switched locations.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
2008: The year of living stupidly.
[Scroll down] Bad TV happens. So does bad government. The worst was the reaction by the Food
and Drug Administration to an outbreak of salmonella that made nearly 1,000 people sick. The FDA panicked
and blamed tomatoes. And so tomato farmers had to destroy up to $500 million worth of crops.
McDonald's stopped serving tomatoes for a while in some areas. It turned out that tomatoes had nothing
to do with the salmonella.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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