The Toronto Star recently summarized the Top 10 false health scares outlined by the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). Many such scares are driven by the news media’s desire for attention-grabbing copy, since “If it bleeds, it leads.” Yet a look at the Star‘s list of scares shows the involvement of agenda-driven activist groups in several of them — in this case, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, American Institute fro Cancer Research, Environment California, and Environmental Working Group.
This shouldn’t be surprising, since overheated constant-danger rhetoric drives such groups’ funding much like scandalous copy drives media audience share. And for some organizations, particularly Naderite groups like Public Citizen and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (which are surprisingly not mentioned in this list) scare mongering is their lifeblood.
This brings up a rhetorical question. If the nanny statists were to succeed in banning every food that isn’t tapioca and all beverages that aren’t water, what would they do next? It’s not like we can well expect them to leave the rest of us alone. (Thanks to Megan McLaughlin for the Toronto Star link.)