Be Wary of Often-Repeated, But False Claims

How often do you see false statements being made by anti-chemical advocates that never seem to get corrected? Mark Twain wrote, “One of the most startling differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.” Many activists’ lies are perpetuated by media reporters who don’t or can’t take the time to verify the accuracy of every fact. Soon the reporter’s version of the activist’s lie is quoted, and like the Energizer Bunny, the falsehood goes on-and-on-and-on-and-on. Here are a few recent ones:

U.S. male sperm counts are dropping due to chemical exposures. False. No changes in U.S. human sperm counts have been seen during the last 60 years. A June 14 report in the Wall Street Journal on human sperm count studies notes that some researchers now think normal geographic and seasonal variations may have “confounded” earlier research linking suspected sperm count declines to estrogenic-like chemicals. Harry Fisch, director of Columbia University’s Male Reproductive Center, is reported as giving a “reassuring” review of 29 U.S. sperm count studies between the late 1930s and the 1990s. In his study, published in the Journal of Urology, he found “no significant changes in sperm counts during the last 60 years.”

Research proved exposure to pesticide mixtures has synergistic effect on hormones. False. The Tulane University research study on hormones and pesticides mixtures which reported the erroneous finding was proven false and withdrawn. The controversial study is back in the news. According to the June 18 issue of Science, a faculty review panel has cleared principal author John McLachlan of any “misconduct” in the research paper published three years ago and retracted one year later. However, the panel found that the research of Steven Arnold, who did most of the work and resigned after the paper’s retraction, failed to support the paper’s “major conclusions.” Study sponsor W. Alton Jones Foundation is said to be “ready to close the books on the affair,” saying the hypothesis “has fallen by the wayside.”

Environmentally caused cancer rates are climbing, especially among young children. Both are false. Children’s cancer rates are stable. The National Cancer Institute reports that cancer rates among U.S. children 0 – 14 years of age have remained stable for two decades. According to the June 16 issue of the Institute’s Journal, NCI scientists analyzed data from nine longstanding NCI regional registries and found “no consistent large increases or decreases in incidence for the major categories of cancer” among children in that age group from 1975 to 1995. In the same issue, NCI noted that although the overall human death rate from major cancers has increased 6.8 percent since 1950, if lung cancer (primarily from smoking) is excluded, the rate actually has declined by 17.7 percent.

Excerpted from OFS Update, Oregonians for Food and Shelter

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is President of the American Policy Center and National Grassroots Coordinator for CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow) working to help local activists organize into Freedom Pods ( He is also the author of three books, including Now Tell Me I Was Wrong, ERASE, and Sustainable: the WAR on Free Enterprise, Private Property, and Individuals.