Number of the Month

May  2003

The lost boys in Never Never Land

Various epithets have been applied to Number Watch over its short life but hysterical is a new one. Perhaps it is appropriate for the first piece of this month, since the word is derived from the Greek for womb. In Sorry wrong number!, a piece entitled The Magnificent Seven describes how portentous statistics extrapolated to the national population could be tracked back to just seven excess boys in the original survey. The target in that case was tobacco advertising. In this one (Decreased sex ratio following maternal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls from contaminated Great Lakes sport-caught fish: a retrospective cohort study) the target is that trusty old standby of the epidemiologists, PCBs, here linked to the proportion of male births. The magic words Harvard School of Public Health always suggest that we are in for something special. The article is a festival of numerical prestidigitation with many fine examples of the art of misdirection but, as in the other example, nowhere does it actually mention the number of boys it is dealing with. Give them their due, however, at least they avoid the usual sex ratio scam and stick to the proportion of males, which for reasons of obscurity they call the secondary sex ratio. Perhaps the message is beginning to get through.

Anyway, trawling through the welter of statistics and adjustments we find table three, which gives us the number of mothers in each quintile of exposure to PCBs (of the order of one part in a billion of blood) and (if you will pardon the expression) the crude sex ratio. We can deduce from this our own table in terms of the number of boys:







No of mothers






No of boys






From the totals in each row, we can deduce that the overall sex ratio is 0.572 and the expected number at random in each quintile is 20.  Assuming a binomial distribution, the expected standard deviation would be about 3. Thus the number of boys in each quintile is within two standard deviations of the expected value; in other words the variation is insignificant. For simple folk like us non-epidemiologists a picture is always a help, so here is the binomial distribution for p=0.572 and n=35:

Thus the number of boys in each group of about 35 is just about what you would expect if you allocated them at random. From this numerical molehill a statistical mountain is built; complete with exponential decay functions, adjusted odd ratios and a startling claim of an 82% reduction in male births between the lower and upper quintiles (still can't hack that one!). Since the deviation of the number of boys from the randomly expected number does not even reach seven, this must go down as one of the eternal mysteries of epidemiology.


A bit of a breakthrough …….. but then…

Can it be? Has a journalist from Times Newspapers broken his sacred trust and printed the scientific truth? The story in the Sunday Times of May 4th was one of those fatuous EU build-ups to a totally unjustified ban by diktat. In a story headlined Smoky bacon crisps face EU ban Nicholas Rufford writes:

Although epidemiological studies have shown an increased risk of certain types of cancer in places such as Hong Kong, where there is high consumption of smoked foods, the link is by association only. There is no scientific evidence.

Critics of the new regulations — which could be law by this summer if passed by the European Council — described them as unnecessarily severe. They say the facts that smoked foods, unlike tobacco, are not inhaled and that the flavouring is present in small doses mean there is no realistic risk.

Interestingly, the version on the web that purports to be the Newspaper version omits the sentence picked out in bold above. Rufford must be a new boy. What does he think he is doing? Stealing the bread from the mouths of his colleagues?

Fear not! <name removed>. Scientist who pressed GM panic button raises new food health fears is his headline. It is all about Arpad Putsztai, who is the sort of “scientist” who gives us old dodderers a bad name. He started the whole GM scare with a piece of tacky research, which he published by media hype rather than in a scientific journal. <name removed> claims that Pusztai’s new warnings have been echoed by the Royal Society. Well, we know how that revered institution has become diminished, when its president writes pseudo scientific hogwash in support of politically correct myths.

Move on a few more pages and you find Jeremy Clarkson, who prides himself on being controversial. His story is entitled You think Sars is bad? There’s worse out there. His theme is the Ebola virus – “If Ebola ever gets on a plane, experts say that 90% of us will be dead within six months”. Unfortunately the irritating fellow is right again. The hopeless UN, the entirely useless WHO and the rest of the international organisations fiddle about with barely relevant scares and completely ignore the serious ones like Ebola and, of course, Malaria, which kills millions but has an easy solution that is politically incorrect. The Ebola virus, however, has one great weakness; it is too efficient, killing its victims (horribly) in days, whereas AIDS is more patient. Also, it hasn't managed airborne transmission, which gives the mutating flu virus the edge. Nevertheless, if it did get established in a major conurbation the scare stories would suddenly come true and the WHO's prattling about obesity and passive smoking would be put into stark context.


Nature notes

By Old Ned

Old Ned’s first nature notes were one of our most popular features and comments poured in. They both said that they would never think of organic produce in the same way again. It was good of Miss Smallpiece to stand in for old Ned while he was abroad, but we are glad to have him back again.

I promised to be with you again about muck-spreading time, but I extended me little holiday to help out a widder woman in California. It was there I got me big idea. We bain’t afarming of horganics no more, we’m afarming of WIND. What with that plumbago in me back and old George’s arthuritis, we got fed up with the horganic farming, even though it was a nice little earner. Any way, to cut a long story short, we have rented out our land to a wind farming company and they built these giant windmills on our hill. Wonderful sight they are and you can see them for twenty miles around.

Acorst, some people didn’t like it. Old Miss Smallpiece went orf ’er rocker. She sent letters all over the place, then suddenly stopped. Old George and me heard ’er a telling of the vicar when we was sitting by the open window of the pub. “Such an unpleasant young man called at my little cottage yesterday.” She says “He wore a dark suit and sunglasses. He told me if I knew what was good for me I would learn to keep my trap shut.” ’Ow we did larf! We haven’t seen ’er out since.

I don’t know what they’m all acomplainin’ about. As Old George says “If them daft taxpayers wants to give us their money for something that don’t work ’alf the time, ’oo are we to deprive them of the pleasure?"

Acorst, we won’t be living up there no more. It’s too damned noisy and our cottages ’ad to come down to make way for a couple more windmills. Well, that old thatch ’as bin in my family for over three ’undred years. About time it come down. I got a nice little town ’ouse down in the valley now. Only a tiny bit o’ land, but I soon ’ad that concreted over.

Next time I ‘opes to be givin’ you a few tips on ’ow to compost ’eaps of dead birds.

 Panic attack

The Spiked conference Panic Attack (adumbrated last month) was a remarkable event as, indeed, was the setting up of Spiked itself. The historic, if uncomfortable, Faraday Lecture Theatre was filled with an enthusiastic audience. It was all fortuitously timely, with the minor epidemic of SARS closing down whole economies and the EU on the verge of banning large numbers of chemicals on dubious epidemiological evidence. The speakers were almost uniformly eloquent and entertaining and many of the papers will eventually be published in Spiked.

The most positive outcome of the debate was a solid consensus that the precautionary principle is stifling human development, particularly in the EU, whose structure tends to reinforce it and impose it on other parts of the world. The most negative outcome, for those who share the obsessions of Number Watch, was a complete lack of interest in the evidence that many of the facts and figures being bandied about were of doubtful, and often fraudulent, provenance. As number watcher Simon Scott remarked over tea, “They just don’t get it, do they?” This was particularly evident in the debate on Global Warming. Central to this was Bjorn Lomborg, sailing under his usual false colours as a sceptic. Six out of six for style, one for content. We had all the standard illustrations, such as the temperature record taken around the famous urban heat island of Birmingham, and some extraordinary statements, the most egregious of which was “The IPCC data is best we have.” He must be referring to a different IPCC, not this one or this one.  Mark Saunders (Head of the Climate Prediction Group at Imperial College) also took the view that anthropogenic global warming was certainly happening  (well, if you were funded to research fairies at the bottom of the garden, you would not set out by denying their existence would you?) but he did advance the opinion that the predictions of the consequences were being grossly overdone. Sally Baliunas put it all down to the sun. All three declined to comment on the hundreds of well-maintained weather stations that appear to show no sign of it at all (see, for example, here and here).

There were several contributions that were well worth being there to listen to: Dr Michael Fitzpatrick on Scares of our time and Frank Furedi on The future of risk were particularly notable. Because some sessions were parallel, there were some invidious choices to be made. On the whole, the conference was well organised and enjoyable. Major omissions were name badges for the ordinary punters and a list of participants. One of the best parts of any conference is the informal discussion during breaks, but it is helpful to know whom you are talking to.

It is to be hoped that Spiked will be encouraged to organise further events of this kind.

Welcome back

Number Watchers will be pleased to learn that Trash Talk has been reincarnated here.

Here we go again

Parents warned to cut down salt in children's food is The Times headline. Naturally, New Labour BBC joined in.

Why ordinary table salt should be picked on as a cause of high blood pressure is something of a mystery. It might have arisen through some vague idea of osmotic pressure, but it rapidly became an established tenet of admonitory medicine, without the slightest iota of evidence. Considering it was once a substance so valued that Roman soldiers were partly paid in it (hence the word salary) this is a massive turnaround. Recently, however, a review of 56 clinical trials of hypertensive and normotensive individuals, concluded that this was nonsense. There is even evidence from a study of hypertensive men that a low sodium diet actually increases risk of heart attack. (Hypertension. 1995;25:1144-1152). The salt debate is one of the long running sagas of epidemiology, involving endless arguments over marginal statistics. For a full review by Gary Taubes see here

Of all the substances, Sodium chloride is one of the most essential compounds for the existence of life on earth. It makes up about three percent of the mass of the sea. The trick by which animals were able to leave the sea was to carry it around inside them in the form of blood plasma. You need it to manufacture hydrochloric acid, which is the main component of the gastric juices. Without salt in your diet you will die. You can get a sufficient dosage from a natural diet, as it is also essential to other life forms, but it adds a harmless piquancy to many dishes. Of course, if you overdose, you will also die.

But now salt has its own group of SIFs, Consensus Action on Salt and Health, which has campaigned for ten years to lower salt consumption, saying that a 3g reduction in salt intake in the next five years could prevent 35,000 deaths and 70,000 strokes and heart attacks. Oh yeah?

No smoke without ire

Hell hath no fury like the PC scorned. The outrage stirred up by a study that claimed no significant deleterious effects from passive smoking was wondrous to behold. Sceptics, of course, knew this truth, because they have seen that, when the manipulations and fraud are stripped out, the original EPA meta-study on ETS clearly showed that passive smoking was harmless. The establishment latched onto the fact that these new results depended on funding from tobacco companies at the very last stage of the research, when establishment funding has been withdrawn, presumably because it failed to show the “correct” results. New Labour BBC took a characteristic PC stance with the headline Row over passive smoking effect. A spokesman for the American Cancer Society told the BBC the research was "inaccurate and unreliable". The establishment media dutifully followed the party line. Typical is the coverage in The Independent. Instead of reporting the actual research they concentrate on the fulminations of the relevant SIF group ASH (Campaigners fume over low-risk passive smoking claim).

The backlash was led by the establishment organisation that published the results, the BMJ:

The study was also criticised by the British Medical Association, the owner of the BMJ. Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics, described it as flawed, and said most of the data had been around for decades and was judged by many expert groups to be inadequate to measure passive smoking accurately.

"There is overwhelming evidence, built up over decades, that passive smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease, as well as triggering asthma attacks," she said.

Overwhelming evidence? Like relative risks of 1.19 at a significance level of P<0.1? As for measuring passive smoking accurately, who has? And talk about the pot calling the kettle black, the control freaks came back with: 

Amanda Sandford of Ash, the anti-smoking pressure group, said: "This paper is just the latest in a long campaign to sow the seeds of doubt about the dangers of breathing in environmental tobacco smoke. The authors appear to be deliberately downplaying the findings to suit their tobacco industry paymasters." She added: "Questions will inevitably be asked about the decision to publish research conducted by scientists in the pay of the tobacco industry. This could be very damaging as it will be used by industry lobbyists to argue against laws to ban smoking in public places and workplaces."

The self-satisfied arrogance of these people is quite breathtaking. They demand the right to censor anything that does not conform to their prejudices. When funding is denied to those who do not conform, they attack on the basis of where the funding is obtained; in this case only virtually at the point of publication. Such ad hominem attacks are always a sure sign of a weak scientific argument.

Now admittedly, on the basis of real science, this research is a little bit tacky. It assumes that exposure to passive smoke is determined by living with a smoker. What if the smoker was only allowed to indulge in the coal shed, or the smokee actually worked in a smoke-filled bar? But this criticism applies equally to the research that purports to produced positive results and by comparison this study is relatively well conducted, with a reasonably sized cohort, no obvious statistical fraud and covering a lengthy period.

The whole farrago tells us more about the state of our society and its media than about this particular health issue.

While on the other

An industrialist was advised that he ought to bring in an academic consultant to help with a particular problem. "All right" he said "but only if he has no hands." On being asked why, he explained "Whenever I call in an academic, he tells me on the one hand.... while on the other...." 

Number Watch often quotes The Times in its commentaries on the bizarre state of modern society. Well, you get a better class of junk there. It is sometimes a relief (but not total) to read the Telegraph for a change. Here are a few stories from the Sunday Telegraph of May 18th.

They tell us autism is increasing dramatically in California. You might, of course, take the view that anyone of intelligence growing up in the Dark State of Insanity would adopt an unwillingness to communicate as a form of defence. On the other hand, you might assume it all arises from an enhanced eagerness to diagnose. Rest assured, however, that this is not so, because it has been checked by an epidemiologist.

Much of the sanity in the scientific reporting of the Telegraph comes from Robert Matthews, who seems to be mounting a bit of a take-over bid, occupying three pages. He has a regular QED column, which answers reader’s questions (often astonishingly naïve) with good grace. He is one of the few correspondents to take a rational view of this month’s passive smoking story. Nice headlineWarning: the health police can seriously addle your brain. The story even provoked a fairly rational leader.

Matthews seems, however, to have suspended his scepticism in reporting yet another free energy device. Of course, this might be the one miracle among the thousands of duds, but Number Watch is not betting its overdraft on it. Some collectors’ items of quasi-scientific jargon here. Hydrogen is said to exist in a so-called metastable state that harbours an extra source of energy. To a simple old-fashioned scientist, hydrogen has one proton and one electron. The latter might be excited to a higher state by the addition of a quantum of energy, but the lifetime of such a state is very brief (about 10-8 seconds) and it soon sends the quantum back whence it came. The quantum nature of the hydrogen atom is fully understood and is exactly manifest by the emission spectrum arising from an electrical discharge through the gas; so where in our quantum mechanical textbooks do we find this metastable state?

On yet another page we suddenly descend from the metastable to the unstable         Butterflies take flight as summers get too hot. It reads like a bit of pure <name removed>, but it is by Environment Correspondent David Harrison. Here is another fine collectors’ item:

One of the most disturbing findings was that butterfly numbers are diminishing in the South as a result of habitat loss and changing weather patterns. Last year was the fourth warmest since records began nearly 350 years ago and butterflies, being creatures of habit, began migrating north in search of temperatures to which they are accustomed.

“Oh” says the butterfly to itself “It’s getting a bit warm here, and by a considerable fraction of a degree. I think I had better migrate north”. Nothing, of course, to do with, for example, the fact that farmers have changed from hay to silage, resulting in the disappearance of the meadow flowers.

The page to turn to in the Sunday Telegraph is Christopher Booker's notebook. Here you can find coverage of the often unbelievable diktats coming out of the EU bureaucracy. The latest is Waste laws will cost UK firms £6bn a year. Believe it or not, British firms will have to pick up the cost of recycling electrical goods; even those manufactured abroad. And they wonder why the European economy is going pear shaped. Also in this edition is Britain's most expensive myth. Regular number watchers will be more than familiar with this one; the link between BSE and CJD, which was going to cause millions of deaths. Well now, according to Prof. Roy Anderson's killer computers (to which we paid tribute last year), the total number of future deaths is likely to be, wait for it, 40. For this Britain has crippled its farming industry. Who needs enemies when we have such politicians?


 Is this a record?

A number watcher in the other Washington has spotted what could be the record low for a claimed relative risk. The honour goes to The Seattle Times and University of Washington scientists. The study claims a relative risk of 1.02 for death due to stagnant air. The whole thing is an absolute classic, from the impressive Trojan Number down to the final propaganda message that is a total non sequitur.


Within minutes of the posting of the above two more regular number watchers pointed out that the above number was for respiratory diseases. In the same article the RR for cardiovascular diseases was 1.005. This really must be the record.

The increase in deaths “confirms the guidelines – if the air has been stagnant and you have pulmonary disease, it’s good to restrict your outdoor activities,” said one of the researchers, Dr. Therese Mar ..."  

Next thing they will be wailing about the rise in obesity in Washington State.


Shamed and disgraced!

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon: let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide;
Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English,
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof-
Fathers that like so many Alexanders

Have in these parts from morn till even fought,
And sheath'd their swords for lack of argument.
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeomen,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding- which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit; and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

Henry V

It comes to something when Britain is described by an American as Our undemocratic ally, particularly as every word is true. Yes, the Great Leader has taken it upon himself finally to destroy a constitution that has taken a thousand years to build and replace it with a bureaucratic dictatorship from Brussels. What has this to do with numbers? Do a search for “EU” in Number Watch and you will see. Almost every other country in Europe is going to put the issue to its people in a referendum, but not the socialist paradise of the United Kingdom. The EU under the influence of its dominant Greens is progressively adopting policies that will trammel its industry and drive its economy into the ground. Look at the once great German economy; now a classic basket case.

There is an extraordinary complacency in among the British, carefully nurtured by the Establishment media, particularly of course New Labour BBC, but The Sun and The Mail at least are  trying to tell the people what is about to happen to them. What is most depressing is the cowed state of the English. Ruled by a largely Scottish New Labour Government, they are the only Britons not allowed their own parliament. The Union, which once governed a third of the world, is in tatters. Referendums were allowed for the creation of the Mickey Mouse parliaments in Scotland and Wales, but one is to be denied for the final dissolution of the nation. Which all goes to make the quotation above the more poignant.

Grate News

The world is going for tobacco control.

An African is dying every 30 seconds from malaria because of the DDT ban; but they are only Africans and anyway we are going to save them from tobacco.

But the world is going for tobacco control.

Millions are dying for the lack of pure water.

But the world is going for tobacco control.

There is a worldwide plague of hard drugs that are destroying millions of young lives.

But the world is going for tobacco control.

The EPA metastudy on environmental tobacco smoke has been exposed as the greatest statistical fraud in the history of science.

But the world is going for tobacco control.

The biggest public lies, frequently exposed, concern the number of deaths from tobacco. For example “Smoking kills five million people a year through tobacco-related diseases and is the single greatest cause of preventable death in the world (malaria, dirty water?). Medical experts warn that half of all persistent smokers will die because of their habit unless they manage to quit.”

But the world is going for tobacco control.

What would we do without the WHO?

Coming soon

How the WHO will save Africa from the obesity epidemic.


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She who must be obeyed

Abandon hope all ye who enter here.
Dante’s Inferno

Regular number watcher Dennis Ambler has tracked down the principal source of the eco-theological lunacy that is producing all the bizarre and destructive policies, such as those mentioned above, that are plunging Europe into economic disaster. It is the unelected commissar for the environment, Margot Wallström, who celebrates her Green policies (i.e. a characteristic combination of ignorance and arrogance) in her own web site. She actually believes, for example, that the Greenhouse Effect, which is crucial to the very existence of life on earth, poses a threat to humanity. She boasts that “The EU now has more than 200 legal acts covering nearly all areas of the environment. About 40% of all infringement proceedings brought against Member States are concerned with the environment.”

 She revels in the junk science of the Global Warming myth – “At current rates, greenhouse gases will heat up our planet by between 1.4 - 5.8°C in the next 50 years. Researchers' climate predictions conjure up visions of heat, drought, failed harvests, floods, famine and mass migration.” How bare faced can you get? Even the big liars of IPCC stretched it out to 100 years.

There are many quotable quotes – 

Today, in the Ruhr area – for my generation a symbol of industrial exploitation of the most environmentally destructive sort – people have not only been able to establish new industries but also to get hundred-year-old seeds found in the soil to grow.” Yes, we call them granny’s weeds in our village, and a damned nuisance they are. 

The first groundwater has been "restored", and the water shortage dealt with by revealing new areas of soil to allow the rainwater to seep into the earth, instead of being wasted on the interminable landscape of asphalt and concrete.” Perhaps she hasn’t noticed that old Two-Jags, the self-proclaimed environmentalist, is planning to concrete over southern England.”

I am convinced that stringent environmental targets in this area will be of benefit to all, and not least to the competitiveness of European industry. Some companies have already realised the advantages of environment-friendly production: they benefit from lower costs and new markets, consumers have less waste to dispose of, everybody gets a better environment.” Hang on, some of us are getting a bit lost here. How does fining UK electronics companies £6bn a year to recycle equipment manufactured by their rivals in low labour cost areas produce a benefit of lower costs?

But then comes the bully-boy bit:

A law is only as effective as the way it is applied. Member States cannot be allowed to ignore EU legislation. If a Member State does so, it must live with the consequences. I am determined to deal with those who do not observe the rules and I will continue to take Member States to the European Court if necessary.

I must stress that the implementation of EU law is of particular importance for prospective new Member States, and they may have to be supported in different ways to enable them to meet their obligations.

I have held a number of "name, fame and shame" seminars to show how much progress Member States have made in applying various environmental Directives. This is also a way to put pressure on the Member States while informing the general public about the environmental situation in their own country.

 East European countries are queuing up to join this little lot. The word lemmings comes to mind.

A jolly wheeze

Several regular number watchers spotted this one, which appeared in most papers and, of course the BBC. It comes from researchers at the Catholic University of Louvaine. This time asthma is blamed on the chlorine in swimming pools. Of course, childhood allergies have been ascribed to almost everything. In Sorry, wrong number! a study from Munich is quoted that claims childhood allergies are all down to margarine or, to be more accurate, one component of it, linoleic acid.

Correspondents commented on a number of features in this study, such as the use of a proxy, some small numbers compared with the Trojan one, overcooking of some sparse numbers and a separate data dredge. It does, however, offer an interesting illustration of our remarks on the dangers of linear trend fitting. Here is figure 5A from the paper but with the trend and significance lines removed:

As we have observed, only the points at the two extremes of the data set contribute to a calculated trend. In fact in this case only four points actually contribute significantly. We can illustrate this by removing those four points:

The trend has now disappeared, so eleven of the fifteen points made no contribution to it at all. Even with them in, the evidence of a trend is less than persuasive, so that is where the cooking comes in. After “adjusting” for pool height, pets and (wait for it) passive smoking, the trend looks more impressive, but mainly due to one outlier. Try the same exercise of removing four points and, hey presto, it disappears again. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand numbers.

They did not adjust for other factors that some might consider relevant, such as fitted carpets and central heating, but perhaps these do not contribute to a "correct" result.

Interestingly, just one media outlet took a sceptical view, Channel 4. Could this be the great breakthrough? Pity, however, that they did not actually read the paper before adding the statutory reference to passive smoking

Number of the month 200

We cannot let the month pass without full acknowledgement of the contribution of Margot Wallström, as adumbrated above. It is strange how much women have been responsible for the propagation of junk science, from Rachel Carson, through Devra Lee Davis and Carol Browner, to this new champion. 200 is the number she proudly proclaims to be exceeded by the number of environmental acts that the EU has visited upon the benighted continent, with many more to come. If you have difficulty sleeping, just print off a few megabytes of PDF files of EU directives on chemicals. They have placed the burden and expense of the welter of regulations on European industry and they wonder why the whole economy of the continent is going down the tubes. Of course some of this is down to dim Wim and the serial deflators at the central bank, but the shackles on the wealth creators are major contributors. No doubt there are toxic substances that need to be carefully controlled, but this list comes from the wider reaches of the fantasies of epidemiologists and sacrificers of specially bred tumour-prone rodents.

Just look at the stuff they produce on dioxins alone. The whole cast of junk science promoters is there (WHO, the US EPA etc.) As we noted two years ago “For the record dioxins have been shown to cause nothing other than a skin complaint chloracne, and then only after massive exposure.”

In July, no fewer than 320 (yes three hundred and twenty) pesticides are to be withdrawn from the market. Many of these have been used without harm for generations (for example: Gentian Violet, traditionally used for such treatments as nipple soreness in breast feeding, a dye derived from rosaniline, used in chemistry as an indicator and in medicine as a fungicide, bactericide, anthelmintic, also in the treatment of burns; or hexachlorophene, which many of us oldies used to treat our teenage acne, and oddly we are still alive.) As we have remarked before, among the biggest losers will be those of us who like to grow our own food. Got potato eel worm? Hard luck, you will just have to stop growing potatoes. How long will it be before various pests get completely out of control? The chemical industry will become a replica of the drug industry, where only global giant corporations can afford the certification procedure and have to resort to aggressive marketing in order to get a return on their investment. It is all being done in the name of the damned Precautionary Principle, compounded by the ignorance and arrogance of those dictators in Brussels.





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