A Pro-Pesticide Victory You Won't Find In The Newspaper
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
It's been a while since I've had time to visit this forum but I think this information is worth sharing with you all. The following was sent to me by a friend & fellow industry "watch-dog". Thank you Larry.
We all need to stay current on these issues or our industries detractors will have the upper hand. In the past, I have engaged in debate with various anti-pesticide "cooks" in this very forum. Since I often have posted my e-mail address, I have been verbally attacked by them in private which is fine. I allways enjoy a good debate. Some have gone so far as to quote from "Our Stolen Future" with it's forward by Al Gore. To them all I say; Hah!
A Bioterrorist Caught-But Not Punished: by Dennis T. Avery
A bioterrorist has been caught. An American scientist who terrified the U.S.
public, hoodwinked the scientific press, and panicked the congress has been found out. The Federal Office of Research Integrity just ruled that Steven R.
Arnold, a former researcher at the Tulane University Center for Bioenvironmental Research, "committed scientific misconduct by intentionally falsifying the research results published in the journal of Science and by providing falsified and fabricated materials to investigating officials."
Arnold claimed that the U.S. food supply was dangerously contaminated, and sent federal authorities off on a costly wild goose chase that continues to this day. He used high-level political allies to publicize a scientific fraud that imposed untold amounts of anxiety on the public. He cost the United States economy billions of dollars, with the toll still mounting. His punishment? He will not be allowed to receive any federal scientific grants for five years.
It is one of the most dramatic scientific frauds of modern times. A major scientific laboratory published remarkable new information in the world's top science journal, confirming one of the public's worst fears. The Tulane Center said it found that various pesticides, safe when tested individually, were 1,000 times more dangerous when tested together. It raised the specter of modern agriculture's chemicals undermining the health of the human population and the natural ecology through a blind spot in our regulatory testing.
The environmental movement claimed for decades that this danger existed, but never produced any evidence. A book was published in early 1996, with a remarkable title - Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence and Survival? - A Scientific Detective Story. The book speculated that man-made chemicals were causing ailments ranging from cancer to attention deficit disorder by disrupting our endocrine systems. The book's forward was by then-Vice President Al Gore, who called it a legitimate sequel to Rachel Carson's famed Silent Spring.
Our Stolen Future was widely noted in the media and just as widely criticized by respected scientists. Even the book's author, Theo Colbert, admitted she had only suspicions linking anecdotes. But then, in June 1996, came the Tulane study, claiming that combinations of pesticides were radically more dangerous endocrine disrupters than we had known. Carol Browner, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency said, "The new study is the strongest evidence to date that combinations of estrogenic chemicals may be potent enough to significantly increase the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, birth defects and other major health concerns." The EPA's pesticide chief, Lynn Goldman, noted, "I just can't remember a time where I've seen data so persuasive . . . the results are very clean looking."
The U.S. Congress was just then writing rewriting pesticide law, and the Tulane study stampeded near-unanimous approval in July 1996, for a statute that established an expensive new set of tests for pesticide endocrine disruption. The EPA was also given dramatically increased authority to tighten residue limits for any pesticide which the agency though might endanger the health of children.
The EPA is currently using that authority to drive off the market safety-proven pesticides that for decades have protected our fruits and vegetables from bugs and bacteria, and our homes from termites. The resulting increases in termite damage alone are probably costing billions of dollars per year. Because of the EPA's new FQPA authority, we're currently in danger of losing a host of effective minor-crop chemicals that help protect cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables from voracious pests.
By scientific standards, the Tulane fraud began to unravel quickly. Within six months, other scientists were reporting that they couldn't reproduce the Tulane results. The Tulane lab director was forced to sign a Science retraction in August 1997, admitting that Tulane couldn't reproduce its own results. But Arnold still did not admit his fraud. He merely said, "I can't really explain the original findings." In August 1999, an expert committee of the National Research Council-a panel that included representatives of the activist community as well as mainstream scientists-reported there was no evidence that chemicals in the environment were disrupting hormonal process in humans or wildlife.
Arnold not only committed scientific fraud, he lied about it afterward. To this day, activists still loudly warn that pesticides have been "linked" to endocrine disruption; and American consumers needlessly worry about the healthiness of their food. The flawed Food Quality Protection Act remains on the books. And, farmers are losing still more of the tools that have allowed them to feed more people on less land. Is this really a victimless white-collar crime, calling for nothing more than a federal tap on the wrist?
Is bioterrorism a harmless prank when committed by a "scientist"? If the answer is "yes, " it's a dangerous precedent.
-------------------------------------------------- Dennis T. Avery is a senior fellow for Hudson Institute of Indianapolis and was formerly a senior policy analyst for the U.S. Department of State.
Readers may write him at Hudson Institute, 1015 18th Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036.
Posted at www.eco.freedom.org, January 1, 2002