Dr Gilbert Ross.
Enviornmental Group theories Sketchy at the least
A rapidly mutating virus has leaped from plants to honeybees, where it is reproducing and contributing to the collapse of colonies vital to the multibillion-US-dollar agricultural industry, according to a new study.
Tobacco ringspot virus (TRSV), a pollen-borne pathogen that causes blight in soy crops, was found during routine screening of commercial honeybees at a US Department of Agriculture laboratory, where further study revealed the RNA virus was replicating inside its Apis mellifera hosts and spreading to mites that travelled from bee to bee, according to the study published online on Tuesday in the journal mBio.
Better Living Through Chemistry (If Permitted)
By Gilbert Ross : Thursday, May 5, 2011
The overwhelming body of scientific evidence supports the safety of myriad chemicals in use today.
A fusillade of recent items by the New York Times, US News, CNN, and others purports to show how certain common pesticides lead to reduced IQs among children of women exposed to these chemicals while pregnant.
Dismayed, I carefully went over the paper that lies at the ground zero of the media frenzy. It is a study of the organophosphate (OP) class of pesticides by a group of researchers based at the University of California at Berkeley and led by Brenda Eskenazi.
Anti-pesticide camps should be the ones accused of lower IQs
via Anti-pesticide camps should be the ones accused of lower IQs > Facts & Fears > ACSH.
Just in time for the 41st annual Earth Day last Friday, the news media went wild reporting on a trio of highly flawed studies published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, a periodical now notorious for reporting on junk science research.
In the main study, Brenda Eskenazi and her colleagues from the University of California-Berkeley conducted a birth-cohort study of 400 children, most of whom came from Latino farm worker families in agricultural communities in California. Researchers followed the children’s health — beginning with the mothers during pregnancy, whose urine they analyzed for dialkyl phosphate (DAP), a metabolite of organophosphate (OP) pesticides. IQ tests were performed when the children reached the age of seven.
It was found that children in the highest quintile of maternal pesticide metabolite concentration had an average deficit of seven points on IQ tests compared to children in the lowest quintile. The authors did note, however, that the children’s urinary metabolite concentration was not consistently associated with cognitive scores.
The study findings went viral almost immediately, providing further ammunition for environmental activists’ campaigns against pesticide use — chemicals they claim lead to a slew of health maladies, now including a supposedly lower IQ. But ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross analyzed the study and notes that the authors didn’t control for some very basic variables known to influence IQ, such as smoking, alcohol or drug use nor any paternal traits. “The study is flawed methodologically, and assumptions are made based on simple assertions with no scientific support. The authors acknowledge that the metabolites they measured did not necessarily come from the OP chemicals — they could have also come from ingestion of trace amounts of the metabolites themselves that had already formed elsewhere. In addition, missing data is imputed — some arbitrary value is just stuck in where none existed. It’s a sham.”
ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan further points out that the study didn’t even postulate a potential mechanism of action of how pesticide exposure in utero might affect cognition later on. “Actually, there is no plausible biological hypothesis that could explain this association, but we do know that this journal has an environmental agenda that they stick to very closely.”
Since today marks the World Health Organization’s World Malaria Day, Dr. Ross emphasizes how beneficial pesticides are in terms of fighting global starvation as well as combating infectious diseases. “An overwhelming body of scientific evidence has clearly shown that OP pesticides have no adverse health effects, a finding also replicated by the EPA. Nevertheless, activists who persist in campaigning against pesticides fail to take into account the many benefits they provide, such as enhancing crop yields and the quality of the produce. Without these valuable chemicals, food would be significantly less healthful due to insect and other pest infestations that introduce disease microbes. But apparently, these chemophobes are happy to relegate others to starvation and potentially fatal insect diseases like malaria in order to serve their own anti-chemical, anti-technological political agendas.”
ACSH gets an A (for Apples!) for unveiling NRDC-inspired Alar scare
via ACSH gets an A (for Apples!) for unveiling NRDC-inspired Alar scare > Facts & Fears > ACSH.
Rewind to the year 1984 when the EPA first announced that Alar, a plant growth regulator (NOT a pesticide), caused cancer in animals. Now fast-forward five years to 1989, the year that the agency proposed banning this chemical based on what the EPA perceived to be an unacceptably high cancer risk to humans as well. The decision may have had something to do with a 60 Minutes special that ran at the exact same time and was successful in scaring 50 million Americans about the alleged dangers of Alar.
ACSH is proud to say, however, that thanks to our hard work and unrelenting commitment to sound science, we were able to help uncover the truth about Alar: It never posed any health threats or an increased risk of cancer at the levels found on apples.
Once the flaws in the anti-Alar studies began to surface, prominent public health professionals confirmed our message about the safety of Alar, including former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, several U.N.-W.H.O. panels, the Chairman of the National Safe Kids Campaign and the senior medical advisor to the American Medical Association.
We were not surprised to learn that facts don’t concern Wendy Gordon, who wrote a recent article for the same “environmental” alarmist group — the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) — which promulgated the Alar scare in the first place (ironic?). Her piece in OnEarth Magazine continues to trumpet fears of Alar, underscoring that ACSH had a pivotal role in reiterating our “contention that Alar is not harmful to humans, that animal tests cannot prove a product’s carcinogenicity in humans, and that NRDC was crying wolf.” Ms. Gordon further comments that “ACSH had a clear goal and an effective strategy — ‘to impeach the credibility’ of environmentalists by systematically making the case that the ‘Alar Scare’ was a false alarm.” Well, Ms. Gordon, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves, and we’d like to take this moment to pat ourselves on the back for our own handiwork that you’ve so kindly pointed out.
She even cites a Columbia Journalism Review piece from 1996 by Eliot Negin, which concluded that, “In all, of the roughly eight articles, editorials, op-eds and book reviews that commented directly on whether Alar actually posed a risk, all but a handful present the Alar affair as much ado about nothing.” Thanks again, Wendy!
ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan says this resurrection of Alar comes as no surprise. “Here we are 22 years after the great Alar scare of 1989, and the self-appointed environmentalists still won’t admit that the science prevailed. They keep coming back, and they will continue to do so even though the editor of Science magazine himself came to the conclusion that the whole thing was a hoax. To this day, I still receive press calls about various public health topics and get asked, ‘Is it just another Alar scare?’”