Toxins move up on worry list
By Dennis T. Avery
Forty thousand researchers and clinicians have just written to the journal Science —through their professional societies—asking for broader and quicker testing of "new chemicals in our environment." Eight societies, including the geneticists, endocrinologists, developmental biologists and others say that 12,000 new substances are being registered with the America Chemical Society every day. They admit that not many of these "new substances" will ever make it into the environment.
Still, the societies are asking the federal government to broaden testing beyond toxicology, into such unproven dangers as trace levels of bodily toxins and potential endocrine disruption. This would, of course, employ far more of the learned societies' members.
Do these professional societies think they have learned a lesson from the climate modelers? To whit: if you want more of your members profitably employed, get the Feds to give them lots of nice, salaried government jobs with hefty retirements—to solve some newly concocted media-driven scare The public is always looking for another scare to tickle their fear genes and the congress will happily fund such projects, with your money.
Climatologists are now the third-best-paid profession in the world, with many billions of dollars flowing into their research projects—since they elevated a net global warming of 0.2 degrees C over the last 70 years into an international emergency.
I recently got invited to a lecture on detoxifying my body, presented by a genuine "former professional tennis player." I managed to resist the invitation, but I did go on the Web to look at the detox alternatives out there
Some of them were outright shilling for organic farming:
Then there are the product-pushers: Toxin detox capsules; Detox blood purifier capsules with Goldenseal, a potent, cleansing herbal combination; Liver Renew Capsules; and the Hot Seaweed Bath 3-packs (save 15 percent).
My favorite is the website of the ayurvedic healing system from India. "You need this 'renewal' periodically if you feel 'a general lack of zest for life', feel 'spaced out'; if you have 'a general sense of malaise'." Naturally, they recommend cleansing your system under the care of an ayurvedic physician. Some of the advice they give is actually pretty sound: Stick to lighter, easier-to-digest foods, and eat lots of cleansing fruits and vegetables. However, their "detoxifying tea" is probably just tea.
I prefer to heed the wisdom of Dr Graham Colditz, a cancer epidemiologist from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, on the occasion of another cancer scare report being delivered to President Obama last May
"We already know what causes most cases of cancer, and it's not pollution or chemicals lurking in our water bottles. It's tobacco use and other unhealthy behaviors. . . . Maybe up to 4 percent of cancer in the western world is caused by contaminants and pollution and yet we are chasing new, unknown causes. . . . The damage is it distracts us, as a society, from actually acting on the things that are already in our grasp." He mentioned giving up smoking, eating a pound of fruits and vegetables per person per day (cutting cancer risk by 25 percent), drinking less alcohol, and eating less red meat.
Thanks to our secure and safe food and water supply and world-class access to modern medicine, we are living long enough to get the diseases associated with old age. As baby boomers see 65 in the rear view mirror, they may treasure the remaining years enough to take Dr. Colditz's advice.
Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, is an environmental economist. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Hundred Years, Readers may write him at PO Box 202, Churchville, VA 2442; email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us on the Web at www.cgfi.org.