For cynical manipulation of science, NRDC never disappoints

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Last week, the respected scientific journal Nature published a superb editorial castigating the Breast Cancer Coalition, a nonprofit ostensibly devoted to reducing the toll of breast cancer. The editorial pointed out that the goal put forward by the BCC, to “cure breast cancer by 2020” was irresponsible, given the complexity of cancer in general and breast cancer specifically.

Somehow, the chief spokesperson of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Dr. Jennifer Sass, tries to trick anyone who reads her blog into swallowing the falsehood that there is anything in the Nature editorial supporting her group’s crackpot theories of the chemical causation of breast cancer. Nothing could be further from the truth: Nowhere in the editorial was a chemical causation of breast cancer even hinted at; quite the opposite, in fact. No reputable scientist or physician, nor any authoritative textbook on cancer or its causation, considers environmental exposure to “toxic chemicals” a credible factor. Indeed, the Institute of Medicine, a major federal advisory group on health and science, issued a report exonerating environmental chemicals as having any link to breast cancer only a year ago.

Do these inconvenient facts deter Sass and the NRDC? Not for a moment. Carrying on in the manner of their other well-known crusades to exploit junk science in the guise of promoting public health, Sass used the editorial to “remind” us that we can indeed hope to cure breast cancer — and reproductive problems, autism, and most every other major health problem — if only we tightened regulations on all those darned toxic and carcinogenic chemicals!

This completely baseless attack reminds us of NRDC’s similar irresponsible, manipulative campaigns against the plastic hardener BPA (the Food and Drug Administration slapped them down on that one) and the safety of Gulf seafood after the BP oil spill — the FDA and the Gulf states’ own public health officials basically told them to butt out, but the damage to those fragile economies had already been done. Further, one of their “scientists” testified before the U.S.Senate in 2011 that there were numerous clusters of illness and disease linked to “toxic chemicals” — an assertion we debunked in a peer-reviewed publication. And lest we forget, they promulgated one of the most infamous hoaxes of all time, the Alar scare.

By throwing the words “toxic” and “carcinogenic” around so often, the alarmist junk science advocates at NRDC hope that people will just believe it if they say so. By referring to the editorial in Nature as being “dead right,” Sass and her acolytes hope to bamboozle her readers into thinking that the allegations are somehow supported by Nature — which is utterly false. That is pure sophistry, hypocrisy rampant — nothing other than what we have come to expect from NRDC.

ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom adds, “perhaps it is the end of their fiscal year, and they need to ‘scare’ up some more contributions or grant money. These folks know what they’re doing — fear sells.”

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