ACSH just left the Reservation

I can’t believe the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) sometimes.

I frequently comment favorably on ACSH postings at their website,


I am on the ACSH Policy advisor group, and philosophically support their efforts to promote good science and good public policy making. I generally support ACSH efforts. They never call me though, and ask my advice, so today I am going to give them some advice–get your heads on straight people. You screwed up today, and while I’m at it I’m going to pick another bone with you on your silly statements with regards to cancer.

ACSH in the past bit on the American Cancer Society (ACS) nonsense that cancer is caused 1/3 by tobacco, 1/3 by food and 1/3 by environmental toxins. Nonsense, silly nonsense. Tobacco doesn’t do all the ACSH or the ACS says it does. If you look at Cancers known to be caused by tobacco, nowhere near 1/3. Environmental toxins? You kidding? Food? Again–says who?

And worst of all they ignored known factors like sun light for skin cancer if you want to count them, local chemical and mechanical irritation and trauma. Viral cancers, genetics, and the claim by the ACSH and the ACS forgets a major factor in cancer epidemiology–age, as Bob Greene says–the multiple birthdays syndrome. How many different ways can ACSH and the ACS be wrong when they make their pronouncements about causes of cancer?

So now because they want to keep their big city bona fide’s and fashionable position of hating cigarettes, they bite on a stupid second-hand smoke study.

We all know that smoking increases risk of Lung Cancer, lifetime pack a day or more Relative Risk (RR) of 10, (900% increase) in lung cancer. Heart disease and stroke and vascular disease lesser RR but still there.

HOWEVER, there is no good evidence that second-hand smoke is toxic or harmful–none. All of the studies are data dredging crapola.

And in the past the ACSH stood stoutly in its objections to the second-hand smoke claims.

Now here they are citing a lousy study and allowing junk science on second-hand smoke and agreeing with it? Guess Josh Bloom doesn’t know his history.

I am shocked to see a New York based organization dedicated to good science roll over on an important science issue like junk science second-hand smoke claims. An esteemed and long time member of the ACSH Board did the best study of all to show no effect of second-hand smoke. Named James Enstrom.

Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in … – BMJ

What am I to think. ACSH–shame on you. Josh Bloom study your history.

4 responses to “ACSH just left the Reservation

  1. Unfortunately I have noticed creeping PC-ism on the ACSH. I used to read it regularly, but gave up some time ago. To bad; it was a good site.

  2. First of all, I am responsible for the CIMT/SHS piece posted yesterday, Dr. Bloom was in fact out sick all this week. Next, who wrote the original piece above, allegedly a member of our “ACSH policy advisor group”?? PLEASE identify yourself. Meanwhile, you are wrong on each and every accusation and allegation your rant contains. We have NEVER EVER attributed ANY significant amount of cancer (or anything for that matter) to “environmental toxins.” In fact, historically, our antipathy–based of course on science and evidence–to so-called env toxins ranks second only to our hatred and fear of—yes, CIGARETTES. Plea is Guilty As Charged to that–we hate cigarettes, the #1 preventable cause of disease and death in the world. We love smokers and want to help them quit (we have a Facebook page called “HelpingAddictedSmokers”). We are familiar with the excellent work of our Trustee UCLA’s Dr. Jim Enstrom, way back to his work with our advisor Einstein’s Dr. Geoffrey Kabat–you can’t tell me nothin’ on that (quoting Kanye West of course–their work debunked the link between SHS and lung cancer, had NOTHING to do with kids acute illnesses!). We have a strong skepticism about SHS, but there are strong data showing its causal relationship to kid’s acute respiratory illness (as opposed to its other chronic disease associations, which are weak at best). I was merely using this well-designed study as a tool to urge parents not to smoke! The data are solid, although I/we do realize that the outcomes–ie the actual risk of CVD among adults whose parents smoked–remains TBD. I said that! Be that as it may, I’ll repeat here for you specially: we don’t want ANYONE to smoke, ESPECIALLY if they have little ones at home. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. TERRENCE, so we’re now PC huh? Wow, that’s truly a first. Sorry to see you go, try reading our Dispatch again and see if you still think so–our site has been completely revamped over the past year, it’s super-good now. Anyway, thanks for giving me a chance to vent. Gil Ross MD

  3. Perhaps I’m missing something, but not only did I have nothing to do with the story you cited, but I wasn’t even here that day.
    Please explain.

  4. There are a couple of things I would like to inject into this conversation. I too was surprised at the ‘second hand’ smoke post. I absolutely agree that all the secondhand smoke ‘studies’ were so poorly done they could be considered fraudulent. And all these second hand smoke regulations were based on falsehoods. On that we agree! Personally, the thing that made me sick about tobacco smoke were the jerks who were inconsiderate smokers – so as a personal note – I like those restrictions.

    I don’t really believe small amounts of tobacco smoke exposure, even daily, will impact any healthy a person in ways that can be measured, and I have misgivings about studies on the impact of children, as they have proven to be unreliable in the past, but it is hard to believe that being exposed to tobacco smoke doesn’t play some part in people’s health.

    I also have some concerns about what has appeared on my Daily Dispatch from ACSH from time to time, and I have some concerns over what may be going on over there, but I will continue to read their work daily and I also expect to disagree with them occasionally. That’s normal!

    I wish they had the funding to do another documentary like Big Fears and Little Risks with Walter Cronkite, but that of course is another issue.

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