Monthly Archives: February 2011

Soft drinks don’t raise blood pressure

A new study in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension reports that consumption of one sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) per day increased the systolic/diastolic blood pressure among study subjects (N=2,696) on average by +1.1 mm Hg/+0.4 mm Hg. The researchers conclude that SSBs are directly associated with blood pressure. We conclude that this study is meaningless.

Even accepting the study results at face value, they are of no clinical significance. The average BP in the one-SSB-per-day-group was 119.5/74.0 — under the ideal BP of 120/80. In the more-than-one-SSB-per-day group, mean BP was 122.5/75.5 — again, perfectly normal. Moreover, the study did not link SSB consumption with any clinical health effects.

You’ve heard of Coke Zero; this study is Hypertension Zero.

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Claim: Vegetables grown with pesticides better

“A controversial new study… suggests produce grown using modern, artificial, methods may well be better for you,” reports the Daily Mail.

This claim is unlikely to be true — an orange is an orange, no matter how it’s grown. This report does underscore, however, that organic produce is not more nutritious than conventional produce.

National Geographic recycles nuclear winter

National Geographic claims a limited nuclear war could reverse global warming for years on the basis of yet another round of PlayStation® Climatology. But rather than wishing to immolate millions of people, why not just resume atmospheric testing if they are so keen to chill the planet? 

Delaware waste site: 36,000% chance of cancer?

We’ve all heard of giving the mythical 110% in terms of effort. Now reporter Jeff Montgomery writes about a hazardous waste site in Delaware that is way more than guaranteed to give a visitor cancer. Continue reading

EPA, not PCBs, the problem in NYC schools

About the PCBs-in-schools scare, the NY Daily News opined:

Overzealous enforcers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New York regional office have whipped parents into a frenzy and are threatening to force the city into spending untold millions on a crash cleanup. They need to back off… Only recently did the EPA come up with what the agency considers an acceptable level of PCBs in the air of a classroom. It defines an “elevated level” of the chemical as anything more than 300 nanograms per cubic meter of air – an extremely conservative guideline that leaves a huge margin of error. By the agency’s own math, it’s 300 times less than the amount that would give a child a 1-in-10,000 chance of suffering harm even after long-term exposure.

Even the media can debunk a needless $700 million clean-up in cash-strapped times.

Toothpaste eaters the problem, not fluoridation

About the recent controversy concerning municipal water fluoridation, this Fort Smith Times Record editorial hits the nail on the head:

“In our neck of the woods, fluoride overdose is largely limited to children who eat large amounts of toothpaste.”

Fluoridation hasn’t failed us; parents have failed their children.

CSPI: 40 years of food libeling

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Evelyn Theiss says CSPI has “educated Americans for 40 years.” We say CSPI, not food, should be labeled as hazardous to health. Continue reading

PCB-IVF study fails implantation

Just published online in Environmental Health Perspectives is a study attempting to link failed in vitro fertilization with PCBs. But the researchers ignored the classic multiple comparisons problem. Here, 57 congeners were tested and only one produced significantly elevated dose-dependent odds of failed implantation — less than you’d expect by chance at a 5% error level. Moreover, the association between all PCB congeners and failed implantation wasn’t significant. Finally, the researchers considered no other confounding risk factors for the failed implantation. No wonder this was published in EHP.

Walmart discounts science on flame retardants

Walmart has announced that, starting June 1, it will begin testing and rejecting its retail inventory for polybrominated diethyl ethers (PBDEs), heretofore used in flame retardants — even though there’s no evidence of harm, plenty of evidence of effectiveness and no government action against PBDEs. The Washington Post labeled this sort of action “retail regulation.”

Bloomberg: PCBs in schools not so dangerous

Faced with a $700 million remediation effort, Mayor Bloomberg says school kids are exposed to more PCBs from a tuna fish sandwich than the light fixtures in city schools. But when cash-strapped New Yorkers turned to local waterways for food in 2009, the Mayor said “common sense” dictated that anglers shouldn’t eat fish from PCB-contaminated water.

Indy reporter put words in Dyson’s mouth

Epic fail on the part of The Independent‘s Steve Connor Letters to a heretic: An email conversation with climate change sceptic Professor Freeman Dyson (Independent)

Claim: Climate models too “optimistic”

“Computer models predicting future climate change are underestimating emissions and overestimating technology, warns climate scientist Kevin Anderson.” The Guardian Continue reading

Pile: Skepticism fueled by ‘astroturfing’?

George Monbiot is convinced that ‘astroturfing’ outfits are influencing on-line discussion. Climate Resistance Continue reading

Cuccinelli’s right to subpoena upheld

While some academics and AGW advocates huff about a “Mannhunt” the Virgina House of Delegates has blocked an attempt to remove the attorney general’s power to issue subpoenas for academic research at state universities. Assembly Upholds right to subpoena, The Cavalier Daily

NOAA Climategate report clears scientists?

NOAA tries its hand at whitewashing Climategate. Ignore that and checkout Steve McIntyre’s New Light on ‘Delete Any Emails’.

House Dems call for climate science hearings

Henry Waxman and Bobby Rush say two new studies link climate change to extreme weather. But Roger Pielke Jr. says there’s no foundation for claims of increased flooding or extreme weather at all.

Marcellus shale gas ‘dirtier’ than coal?

That’s what Cornell scientists claim, but two times a non-detectable effect is still a non-detectable effect. Baltimore Sun

Hey Kent German… meet Devra Davis

… no, is not trying to compete with We’re just trying to keep naive media types from falling for old junk scientists. Continue reading

Glover: Gasland’s Fracking Nonsense

“… Gasland is, by turns, eloquent, congenial and emotional. But then so is Sesame Street…” Gasland’s Fracking Nonsense, Energy Tribune

Wrightstone: Marcellus Shale Facts

“This white paper will serve to provide factual information concerning the Marcellus Shale.” Marcellus Shale Facts, Energy Tribune