TODAY'S ACSH EMAIL:
Welcome to the latest "Update" from the American Council on Science and
1) New York, NY, July 13, 1999--Discrediting claims made by
environmentalists, scientists at the American Council on Science and
Health (ACSH) have found no convincing evidence that certain synthetic
chemicals in the environment endanger human health by disrupting the
human endocrine system.
In a newly released ACSH report, Endocrine Disrupters: A Scientific
Perspective, experts challenge the exaggerated claims made by proponents
of the endocrine disrupter hypothesis. The report concludes that typical
exposures to synthetic chemicals in the environment are not linked, in
humans, to alleged endocrine-related health problems such as reductions
in sperm counts and cancers of reproductive organs.
Continued at: http://www.acsh.org/press/releases/endmod062999.html
Who is ASCH?
ACSH is heavily financed by corporations with specific and direct
interest in ACSH's chosen battles. Since it was created in 1978, it has
come to the enthusiastic defense of virtually every chemical or additive
backed by a major corporate interest. In many of these cases,
investigative journalists have already exposed direct connections
between ACSH and its funders. But in almost every instance, it takes
little effort to discover which funder has a vested interest in
supporting ACSH¹s message.
Everything Bad is Good Again
- Cholesterol: ACSH issued a report in 1991 stating that there is no
proven link between heart disease and a high-fat diet and cholesterol.
- Saccharin: According to a 1985 article in the Washington Post by
Howard Kurtz, ACSH received funding from Coca-Cola, Pepsi, NutraSweet
and the National Soft Drink Association, and attacked reports that
saccharin is carcinogenic.
- Formaldehyde: The same article noted that ACSH filed a
friend-of-the-court brief in 1982 in a lawsuit brought by the
Institute. The suit successfully overturned a federal ban on insulation
made with formaldehyde. Georgia-Pacific Co., a leading producer of the
chemical and member of the Formaldehyde Institute, paid its Washington,
DC, law firm to write the brief. ACSH submitted the brief under its own
- Global Warming: In its position paper on global warming, ACSH states
that implementation of fossil-fuel restrictions could "weaken the global
economic system, [and] increase the incidence of poverty-related illness
worldwide" This is a case of selective reasoning choosing the facts
that fit and discarding the rest. Mainstream scientists recognize that
a primary effect of global warming would be an increase in
poverty-related illnesses such as malaria, cholera and dengue fever ‹
diseases dependent upon warm, wet climates.
- Alar: In many ways, ACSH¹s work on the Alar issue is exemplary of the
way the group works. Chemical makers‹ with the assistance of industry
front groups like ACSH‹found a gold mine in keeping the decade-old Alar
controversy alive. Although the chemical was banned by the government
in 1991 and the EPA named it a possible human carcinogen, saying that
"long-term exposure to Alar poses unacceptable risks to the public
health," the American public generally recalls the issue as a case in
which environmentalists were wrong. They are incorrect.
In a 1973 study, Alar, a chemical used to lengthen the amount of time
that apples could be left to ripen on the tree, was found to break down
into a product called UMDH that is 1,000 times more carcinogenic than
Alar itself. UMDH is formed when apples are cooked to make applesauce
or apple juice.
When environmental groups claimed that Alar was a danger, ACSH attacked
the groups, maintaining the chemical was safe and the target of a media
scare. ACSH receives funding from Uniroyal, the company that made Alar.
Over the last decade, ACSH has made the Alar controversy a prominent
part of its hallmark "Facts Versus Fears" report. A review of more than
25 "unfounded health scares," including dangers associated with
saccharin, hormones in beef and DDT, the report is a who¹s who of
products manufactured by ACSH¹s funders.
ACSH¹s disinformation campaign on Alar has been alive almost since the
controversy began; dozens of articles in papers from around the country
have published articles on the "health scare." Though one of ACSH¹s main
points about the "scare" was that it had a devastating effect on the
apple industry, even the Washington Apple Commission noted that only
two to three percent of consumers still were concerned about the
chemical just a year after the story broke.
Less than a year ago, ACSH and "Facts Versus Fears" even made it into
the pages of the New York Times twice. The first piece was summary of
the report¹s highlights. The second was an official correction in which
the Times named Uniroyal as an ACSH funder, and clarified that the Alar
was pulled from the market by the company before an EPA ban could take
C. EVERETT KOOP¹S HISTORY WITH ACSH
Former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop¹s association with ACSH and
its head, Elizabeth Whelan, is longstanding. In 1992, the pair joined
forces in a strategic near-copy of their partnership on the "blue-ribbon
panel" on phthalates.
ACSH sponsored a Washington, DC, press conference on the third
anniversary of the Alar controversy. Koop headed a panel of "experts"
that claimed Alar never posed a health risk. According to an article
in PR Watch, the Hill and Knowlton public relations firm persuaded Koop
to write a statement that apples were safe.
Whelan and Koop teamed up again to denounce Diet for a Poisoned Planet,
a book that warned against the use of pesticides and chemical residues
in foods. That campaign was organized by Ketchum Public Relations
before the release of the book. Lorraine Thelian, the director of the
Washington office of Ketchum, sits on the ACSH Board of Directors.
Thelian is an expert on "environmental PR work," and her office
represents a number of ACSH funders. Koop issued a statement calling
the book "trash."
On May 25 of this year, ACSH announced that it had joined forces with
Koop¹s new Internet healthcare site, drkoop.com. From the release:
"The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), a non-profit,
consumer-advocacy organization is creating an exclusive health wire
service for <drkoop.com> consumers. Guided by ACSH experts and written
by experienced wire-service journalists, the daily ACSH newswire will
help people better understand the health stories they see on the news by
adding the often-missing scientific perspective. This partnership with
drkoop.com gives consumers, who are constantly bombarded with
conflicting and often alarming
health news, an unbiased, scientific analysis of the latest trends in
health and medicine, as well as clarifications of health misinformation
found in the mainstream press."
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