Reimagined and Revamped. Fighting the spread of nonsense often feels like a Sisyphean task. However, the joy is in making the information available, not the hope of conversion.

Discovery News Follows the New Scientists Act

The latest on the war against "Toxins" from discovery news.

Good news:

...the levels in people in the United States are lower than they were two years ago," said Donald Patterson, formerly of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and now president of a company called EnviroSolutions Consulting
Bad News:
...we can still measure them," added Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park
Then they go on to list all the bad actors they were able to measure.
The chemicals in question include dioxins, PCBs, DDT, and a variety of other pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides, many of which are banned. All belong to a group of chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
They measured levels of 68 of these bad actors (and most of these are, in fact, in high enough doses, certainly bad actors) in 1800 people. Good work. Not once in the entire article did they mention either of two relevant things:
  1. What were the concentrations?
  2. What were the negative health effects that arose from these concentrations?

Why would they leave out that information? Here is why: Its because we can measure concentrations that are far, far lower than is relevant with respect to health. We measure toxicity levels for many, many chemicals, including all the of the ones mentioned above (and you can find the answer in MSDS sheets - material safety data sheets). If there was something shockingly high with respect to the concentration of one of these bad actors, you know that is what the article would have been written about. Instead we get this:
It's not yet clear what the new study means for human health.
The sorts of studies are very useful. They are used to find and catalog hot spots and to baseline for future comparison. I'm glad they do them (I hope this is not on the list of topics that republicans hate and want removed). But to write an article about "toxins" just feeds into the hysteria and de-tox cults.

I stopped reading New scientist because they insist on printing crap like that. This is appearing to be no better.

File Under: