Greens to Launch New Scare Campaign

Get ready. The greens are set to terrorize us with yet another junk science-fueled campaign intended to advance their mindless anti-chemical agenda.

The new campaign is part of what the greens are calling "the broadest and most ambitious operation ever attempted by the national environmental community."

"Environmentalism in the U.S. could be permanently transformed by the intensity of the strategic planning," writes prominent environmental reporter Keith Schneider, who notes the greens have more than $120 million to push their radical agenda.

Keying off an upcoming government report on human exposure to chemicals in the environment, this latest campaign will have a new twist -- shameful exploitation of individuals with cancer and other diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will release on Jan. 29 its second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. The report will include data on 116 substances detected in humans -- such as metals, PCBs and pesticides.

Importantly, the CDC report won't link any of the detected substances to health effects. This makes sense since the trace levels detected aren't harmful. A fundamental principle of toxicology, after all, is "the dose makes the poison."

The greens, however, aren't planning on mentioning these key facts. Instead, they're scheming to use the CDC report as an opportunity to launch the mother of all scare campaigns.

The Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) -- a new umbrella group of virtually every extreme environmental group -- plans to hold a media event around the release of the CDC report to provide the media with its own spin.

CHE plans to roll out a group of alleged experts available to answer health-related questions. Many questions should be expected as CHE claims chemicals in the environment cause disease in more than one-third of the U.S. population at an annual health care cost of $325 billion.

The CHE point of view, of course, is chemicals in the environment cause virtually every case of virtually every disease -- despite the utter absence of supporting evidence.

CHE's experts likely will be more communications -- rather than science-oriented. They're being assembled and directed behind the scenes by the scare-mongering experts at Fenton Communications -- the shady public relations firm that masterminded the notorious Alar and silicone breast implant scares.

The activist group Physicians for Social Responsibility will simultaneously release its own report to provide "valuable tips for the public on what to look for in CDC's Report" and describe "sources, routes of exposure, and health effects of specific chemicals."

And there's word the Environmental Working Group will shift from its current campaign -- scaring consumers about rocket fuel supposedly detected in lettuce -- to the CHE circus.

EWG plans to exhibit cancer victims who have been tested for chemicals at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the home of activist-researcher Philip Landrigan. EWG is said to be planning advertisements in major newspapers featuring these victims and naming consumer products claimed to be the source of their ailments.

CHE also has lured numerous disease-victims groups into the mix, such as the African American Breast Cancer Group, Endometriosis Association, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, and Parkinson's Association of Minnesota.

The greens apparently have told these groups their fundraising will be enhanced through CHE. That may be true in the short-term, but in the end, CHE's efforts actually distract and detract from efforts to find treatments and cures for the various diseases.

Despite more than 40 years and countless billions of dollars of research, no credible scientific evidence exists to link typical exposures to chemicals in the environment with disease. To the extent CHE forces scarce public and private resources to be wasted chasing myths, fewer resources are available for more productive medical research on treatments and cures.

CHE also plans to draw attention to kids and chemicals.

But as the American Council on Science and Health exposes in its new book, Are Children More Vulnerable to Environmental Chemicals, CHE's efforts are just more of the "disturbing pattern in which activists with a non-science agenda manipulate the public's legitimate and appropriate concern for children's health in an effort to promote legislation, litigation, and regulation."

Finally, there's some irony attached to CHE. The group's acronym recalls Fidel Castro's revolutionary comrade-in-arms, Ché Guevera, a physician who opted for violent communist revolution rather than more humane and useful service treating the sick.

Given the absence of credible science in CHE's efforts, our own leftist greens seem to be sending us a subliminal message.

Steven Milloy is the publisher of, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and the author of Junk Science Judo: Self-defense Against Health Scares and Scams (Cato Institute, 2001).

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