When It Comes To FUD, Activists Understand PR Better Than Chemical Companies Do

When It Comes To FUD, Activists Understand PR Better Than Chemical Companies Do

Imagine a scenario where a group of people get together to frame the debate about science and even set out to conspiratorially place papers in highly-respected journals, selecting the ideal names to have on the paper and which publications would be most likely to publish it.

It must be those evil corporate chemical shills again, right?

Not this time, it was the International Workshop On Neonicotinoids in 2010 and it explains a lot about how the anti-science contingent has managed to maintain so much mindshare in media: they know how to work the system and created a 4-year plan to do just that.

The meeting notes start off as you expect – how to use Haber’s Rule in order to force risk assessment using the US National Research Council’s “Red Book” (NRC, 1983) guidelines for studying possible health effects of chemicals on humans and ecosystems. Haber’s Rule says that multiplying the same concentration of a chemical compound by the same duration of exposure will yield the same biological response.

Environmentalists love to believe this, because it means that really low levels of any pesticide could be harmful over time, it just isn’t true and never has been. In a study of 21 well-known chemicals the lowest observed adverse effect levels (LOAEL) using sub-acute, sub-chronic and chronic durations showed that the value of p, assumed to be 1 in risk assessment methodology, wasn’t 1 for any of the chemicals. It’s certainly Haber’s Guideline For Environmental Activism, but not really a science rule and that is why impartial scientists say it shouldn’t be used systematically for risk assessment in public health decision-making, like banning products. Instead, actual studies should be done that are not reviews of other papers.

Regardless, invoking Haber’s Rule is just one approach in A time-honored strategy to manipulate science to achieve a political goal. This strategy has worked since the 1960s and I present it to you here, free of charge – because I do not work for an environmental corporation or anyone else so they can’t pay me for it:

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