Consumer Health Digest #14-34

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
September 14, 2014

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.

Pediatrician group updates fluoride advice. In a new clinical report, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated its recommendations to doctors for advising parents about topical fluoride for cavity prevention. [Clark MB and others. Fluoride use in caries prevention in the primary care setting. Pediatrics, Aug 25, 2014] The report states:

These recommendations are in addition to the AAP's longstanding endorsement of water fluoridation and the use of supplements for children at high risk for developing tooth decay who live in nonfluoridated communities.

ACSH founder dies. Elizabeth M. Whelan, Sc.D., M.P.H., who was the co-founder and president of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), died last week at the age of 71. ACSH was founded in 1978 to "add reason and balance to debates about public health issues and to bring common sense views to the public." ACSH and Whelan strongly supported public health measures (fluoridation, vaccination, and food irradiation), relentlessly attacked the tobacco industry, and published many reports that debunked nutrition quackery. But its main focus has been on issues related to food safety, pharmaceuticals, and environmental chemicals. ACSH's site has a lengthy tribute to her work.

"Food Babe" severely criticized. Three contributors to the Science-Based Medicine Blog have severely criticized Vani Hari—better known as "The Food Babe"—for repeatedly making unfounded claims and organizing attacks on food companies that can undermine public trust in the American marketplace.

Others have noted that Hari has no food science credentials and makes claims that overblown, sensationalized, misleading, and filled with errors and inconsistencies. [Purvis K. Charlotte's Food Babe has lots of fans—and some critics. Charlotte Observer, Sept 8, 2014]

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This page was posted on September 15, 2014.