"This is a great article, but I'm not loving the "gal science" moniker. "I'm not a scientist, I'm a Gal Scientist!" said no female scientist, ever."
TFA: "“This chemical gave rats cancer in a study, we need to take it out of our shampoo/food/clothing!” (Despite the fact that the rats used in these sorts of studies are specifically bred to grow tumors like they’re going out of style, and to receive the amount the rats did, you’d have to mainline a swimming pool’s worth of shampoo/food/clothing every week.)"
Bovine Love: "Her reasoning on rat cancer is faulty, IMO. Although I agree that cancer rats getting cancer is not a reason to pull a chemical out of everything, it does point to something which should be investigated. So the alarm over it is overinflated, but we shouldn't just write it off cause there was a lot, and the rats get tumours easy."
Well, the best course of action is to understand the science behind the claim. But unfortunately we don’t all have the time to be completely informed on every aspect of all the products we use in our day-to-day lives. A more practical approach? Learn the basics, and then ask all the questions. Pester, pester, pester. Ask the seller. Ask Google Scholar. Ask your friendly local scientist, who will probably relish the opportunity to wax lyrical to an enthusiastic audience. Ask multiple scientists and watch them battle to help you understand. (I guess what I’m trying to say is, be my friend! I’m useful, sometimes!) Then compare the answers, and see which ones fit together to give a plausible explanation.
"By minimizing the risks of untested chemicals or deliberately conflating them with those that are well known and understood. It's basically sneering at you for not being bright or educated enough to know a harmless chemical from a harmful one, and that you can't trust common authorities to tell you the truth. It's implying the default mode of ignorance about chemicals is "it's safe, trust us.""
"While there is a lot of good that can come from untangling marketing claims by cosmetic companies and understanding which substances are harmless to the environment and human health and why, the framing of this is straight from the anti-environmentalist playbook. There is a history behind it, she's not the first to use it, and it's suspect when anyone trots it out. "There's soap in your lungs, therefore surfactants are safe!""
"No. Hydrophiles can be either polar or charged (and they don't need to be "highly" charged). Many of the most important hydrophiles are not charged. Water is the basic hydrophilic chemical and it is not charged. Sugars are hydrophilic and uncharged."
"Which gets to the conceptual error of the piece. The reason for concern with carcinogens and other potentially toxic chemicals is not because they will cause "you" cancer (or other toxicity). It's because, if you expose a million people to this chemical, it will cause morbidity in several people. And cumulatively with many chemicals, that's bad news."
"Science education is usually awesome. Usually. Science education using rhetorical devices perfected by pro-industry propaganda arms is usually less so."
"Clearly not exactly nothing then, since it can mean something in conjunction with other evidence. You are repeating the same falsehood as her: Because the 'experiment' does not provide conclusive evidence on its own, it has zero value. And that is not correct. It does not provide a conclusion, but likewise it does not have zero value; it is a point of data which could trigger other investigation, or be combined with other results. It may, indeed, be misdirection, but all such studies have some false hits, and sometimes generate misleading data. But she (and you) categorically dismiss them. If we want people to better understand science, we need them to start understanding it isn't binary for most things."
"Growing up with scientist mom"
"Or not. From Pew Health Initiatives (emphasis mine)"
"This is pretty egregiously pro-chemical industry, even as it impugns "anti-chemical lobbyists." I'll preface by saying that I'm an epidemiologist from a molecular biology background who has worked in regulatory policy on drugs and chemicals for about the last decade."
"You can, in fact. It looks like this. Tox21 and REACH research are the major portion of what feeds the EWG's dataset. A GC/MSD+robot is roughly a quarter million, btw."
Dietary Exposure to Pesticide Residues from Commodities Alleged to Contain the Highest Contamination Levels J. Toxicol
Probabilistic techniques were used to characterize dietary exposure of consumers to pesticides found in twelve commodities implicated as having the greatest potential for pesticide residue contamination by a United States-based environmental advocacy group. Estimates of exposures were derived for the ten most frequently detected pesticide residues on each of the twelve commodities based upon residue findings from the United States Department of Agriculture's Pesticide Data Program. All pesticide exposure estimates were well below established chronic reference doses (RfDs). Only one of the 120 exposure estimates exceeded 1% of the RfD (methamidophos on bell peppers at 2% of the RfD), and only seven exposure estimates (5.8 percent) exceeded 0.1% of the RfD. Three quarters of the pesticide/commodity combinations demonstrated exposure estimates below 0.01% of the RfD (corresponding to exposures one million times below chronic No Observable Adverse Effect Levels from animal toxicology studies), and 40.8% had exposure estimates below 0.001% of the RfD. It is concluded that (1) exposures to the most commonly detected pesticides on the twelve commodities pose negligible risks to consumers, (2) substitution of organic forms of the twelve commodities for conventional forms does not result in any appreciable reduction of consumer risks, and (3) the methodology used by the environmental advocacy group to rank commodities with respect to pesticide risks lacks scientific credibility.
nzero: "Are you guys seriously arguing that you're just fine with corporations putting whatever the chemical of the week is over at Dupont labs or wherever into anything they want, just because they haven't been particularly shown to be harmful (if you're not arguing this, I apologize in advance, but that's how it comes across to me)? That boggles my mind."
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