Administration Honors Scientist, But Ignores His Work

Washington, DC, April 27, 1999 – The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) today congratulates Dr. Bruce Ames for his receipt of the National Medal of Science, but wonders why his most important work is being ignored by the Administration. “At the same time that Dr. Ames is being honored by the White House for his work on cancer, EPA continues to launch one cancer scare after another, in blissful ignorance of Dr. Ames’ demonstration that these scares are groundless,” stated CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman.

Much of Dr. Ames’ recent work has centered on the fact that man-made pesticides pose negligible health risks. He has shown that human exposure to man-made carcinogens, such as pesticide residues on foods, is far outweighed by exposure to natural carcinogens—namely, the chemicals that plants naturally produce to fight off infestation. Nonetheless, consuming fruits and vegetables is one the best means of reducing cancer risk. In short, the carcinogens that are naturally present in the produce we eat pose minimal risk, and pesticide residues pose even less risk. Any move to restrict pesticides would end up raising the cost of produce, with adverse health effects on the public at large and most especially on the poor.

Nonetheless, EPA continues to claim that we are at heightened risk from one manmade chemical after another. “If scientific ignorance is bliss, then EPA is flying sky-high. Nothing could better demonstrate the irony of EPA’s approach than today’s award to Dr. Ames,” Kazman continued

Dr. Ames is featured in a CEI video documentary, “Science Under Siege—Politicized Science and Toxic Scare Stories.”

CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, please contact Emily McGee, director of media relations, at 202-331-1010, ext. 209, or 703-728-0138 (cell).