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The public speaks out against crummy formaldehyde science

We got a few direct e-mails in response to the "More bad science on formaldehyde health effects" posting. In composite, they asked the following questions:

  • Are many others—besides your blog—speaking out against crummy and politicized science?
  • Where are the objective scientists? Don't they care about this state of affairs?
  • Is everyone on the take to bend science in the direction of where the money is flowing?

Here are my answers...

1.     There are certainly some others out there, but most of them work for trade associations that are quite narrowly focused, whereas the opposition (EWG, NRDC, USPIRG, GoodGuide, etc.) simply focus on "evil industry." Thus, we see the effects of divide and conquer.

Also, the trade associations hardly ever get aggressive in attacking the fear entrepreneurs. If they did, maybe they wouldn't get invited to all the right cocktail parties.

One exception is the American Council on Science and Health.

2.     Most scientists don't care because the bar has been set too low, and they have to play the game to survive. The holy grail is simply getting the paper published. Whether or not it is a crock does not matter. Editorial standards are non-existent, since there are too many journals that need material. Consequently, almost anything can now be published somewhere.

3.     Yes, virtually everyone IS "on the take" to bend science in the direction of where the money is flowing.

I would add that most of the granting agencies are very PC, and know surprisingly little about practical science. Indeed, some agencies such as the EPA make their impractical approach a badge of honor. Making matters worse is that Congress, like most Americans, know little of science, and can be easily buffaloed. After all, who wants to be against "children's health" or the "environment"?

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