Anyone familiar with our work here at Vinyl Verified knows that we regularly confront junk studies by agenda-driven parties that are carefully designed to incite public hysteria.  Too often, those studies are deceitfully presented to the public as sound science by members of the mainstream press. Examples of good journalism – where reporters actually spend time doing their homework to examine the integrity of the claims they cover – are few and far between.  That’s why we need more people like dietician Cara Rosenbloom, who recently exposed the Environmental Working Group’s scare tactics in the Washington Post, to give us important perspective on what we shouldn’t fear with regard to our everyday interaction with certain chemicals.

She writes:

Would you worry if you knew your food contained sucrose octanoate esters or tocopherols? They might sound frightening, but don’t fret. These substances in packaged foods are also known as sugar, fat and vitamin E.

But see what I did there? I used chemical names to evoke fear by telling you those items were in your food. For a moment, you were probably wary of ingesting tocopherols. Scare tactics like this are often used by marketers to make people buy one product over another[…]

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that focuses on human health and environmentalism, contributes to this fear.

She also reminds us of this important point:

[EWG] lists chemicals in conventional food and their associated risks — cancer, hormonal problems, DNA damage — but fails to address one very important issue: The dose makes the poison.

That context is consistently missing in regional and national news coverage of chemical issues today.  

Why? Because context isn’t controversial. Context doesn’t boost article views.  Context doesn’t go viral. And context definitely doesn’t sell subscriptions…

All context does is give readers a complete view of the facts, so that they may evaluate for themselves whether a chemical safety claim is, or isn’t, worthy of their attention.    

Well done, Ms. Rosenbloom. Thank you for taking a stand for good science in the public discourse.

MORE: When chemicals are used to scare you about food