Asbestos can kill you. We’ve all been warned about the dangers of breathing it in. That is why we test buildings for it and have rules to protect construction workers from exposure to it. But how do we know asbestos is harmful? Because scientists have done studies of the dangers it poses to our health. And I’m glad they have so we can avoid these threats. Read More
June 11th, 2013
April 15th, 2013
Today is April 15, a day that many Americans dread: Tax Day. And it’s not just you and I who need to file our taxes. American corporations have to do their taxes too. (The Supreme Court ruled that they are people now, after all.) And while I definitely don’t look forward to doing my own taxes, I am interested in seeing what information comes back on corporate foundation tax forms. Read More
February 14th, 2013
It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air. The President loves the First Lady’s bangs. Grammy-winner Kelly Clarkson loves fellow winner Miguel (now that she knows who he is). Babies (apparently) love Beyoncé.
And the Monsanto Company, the world’s largest seed and agrichemical seller, is making sure we all know how much they love American farmers.
October 24th, 2012
Last night, FRONTLINE premiered its new documentary, Climate of Doubt, a chilling chronicle of the decade-long-plus campaign to confuse the public and policy-makers about the reality of human-induced climate change. As the PBS press release puts it, “Climate of Doubt describes the individuals and groups behind an organized effort to attack science by undermining scientists, and to unseat politicians who say they believe there is current climate change caused by human activity.’ Read More
October 11th, 2012
UPDATE: March 18, 2013, 3:15 pm: See bottom of post for an update on coverage of this story.
Big Ag has worked hard for decades to instill a belief—in farmers, policymakers, and the public—that its chemical-intensive industrial farming methods are more productive than low-input methods, and more profitable for farmers. In recent years, study after study has cast doubt on this view, and now a team of government and university researchers has published perhaps the most compelling data yet showing that more sustainable farming systems can achieve similar or greater yields and profits, despite steep reductions in chemical inputs. Read More
September 27th, 2012
Scientists find themselves under scrutiny now more than ever before, and that scrutiny intensifies when their research is at the center of a public policy debate. Sometimes, this scrutiny helps educate the public and clarify what we know; at other times, this scrutiny is designed to confuse the public and policymakers. Today, UCS is releasing a guide that helps scientists deal with harassment and other unwarranted attacks on their integrity and their work. Read More
July 3rd, 2012
The Monsanto Company is raking it in—last week they reported third quarter profits of $937 million. Yes, you read that right: Monsanto’s profit for the three-month period ending May 31 amounted to nearly a billion dollars, up a whopping 35% from the same quarter last year. That raging river of cash flowing in must make it easy for the company to finance a flurry of advertising and lobbying extolling the virtues its products. According to Monsanto’s PR, the company is feeding a growing population, protecting natural resources, and promoting biodiversity.
July 2nd, 2012
Misinformation about climate science is a dangerous thing. Scientists have been telling policymakers for years that climate change poses serious threats to our health and economic well-being. But too many polluting corporations have pursued a strategy of delay and denial to protect their near-term bottom lines rather than the public interest. Read More
May 2nd, 2012
It is ironic that 50 years after the drug thalidomide was found to have caused serious harm to tens of thousands of babies in Europe and Great Britain, but not the U.S., both the Administration and Congress are backing efforts that could unravel the safety net and erode the power of American agencies to protect public health and safety. Read More
April 13th, 2012
Experts on FDA advisory panels with financial conflicts of interest can influence the approval of a drug in multiple ways, not only by voting to approve a drug but also by dominating the discussion and pressuring other panelists. In the case of the popular contraceptive drug Yaz, four scientists with financial conflicts of interest were enough to push the vote in favor of the drug, with significant consequences for some women. Read More