We have to wonder if Environmental Working Group is having a really bad fiscal quarter because their website has become littered with even more anti-science, scary chemical verbiage than usual. It’s clear they know what their donors think about actual science and evidence, since now they are going after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for its “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) classification, which applies to food additives that can’t harm anyone.
They say that all of those career scientists at the FDA are wrong and political science majors who became policy directors at EWG are right because their “Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives” insists the FDA is allowing scary chemicals that cause “reproductive and developmental effects seen in animals”.
What compound are we talking about? Chocolate. It contains theobromine, as does cola, tea, and coffee. It isn’t just chocolate they are going after, since they have apparently run out of other products to demonize. They also say bottled water must be dangerous because it has Tylenol in it, even if the detectable level is 1 part per trillion.
People who understand science and health understand that technology is so good now that almost anything can be detected, even 10 or more orders of magnitude below no effect levels. As Dr. Josh Bloom, Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at The American Council on Science and Health, notes on Science 2.0, the level that excites EWG fundraisers is one drop of water diluted into 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Even homeopathy charlatans think that is far too diluted to be meaningful.
“There are two possibilities: 1) They are lying; 2) They are incapable of making any rational judgments about anything even vaguely related to chemical toxicity,” says Bloom. To the evidence-based world, Environmental Working Group probably can’ t tell the difference by now.
Alzheimer’s Disease remains a huge problem; some progress is being made - Dr. Gilbert Ross and ACSH friend Dr. Henry Miller have taken to Forbes.com in an opinion piece describing the state of affairs in Alzheimer’s disease research and treatment. The current state is a sad one as many obstacles remain to be cleared. However, there are hopeful signs. Read more.
Memory-based dietary information leads to inaccurate guidelines - More confusing news about nutrition for consumers. Scientists put dietary data into doubt, saying that reliance on memory undercuts accuracy of intake information. No wonder nutritional guidelines keep changing! Read more.
NYTimes: reducing time for urgent delivery of care for heart patients - A new series of articles by the NYTimes’ Gina Kolata focuses on improvements in dealing with emergency cardiac events, and indeed the progress has been remarkable. But that’s not the solution to reducing the toll of our nation’s leading killer: coronary disease Read more.