"Last week's release of the much-anticipated new federal dietary guidelines," developed with assistance from the Porter Novelli firm, "is just the beginning of some major PR work from both the government and the food industry," reports PR Week.
A National Academy of Sciences report says up to 20 parts per billion (ppb) of the rocket fuel chemical perchlorate in drinking water could be considered "safe." Perchlorate affects thyroid function, with children believed to be especially vulnerable. The Environmental Protection Agency previously set 1 ppb as the "safe" perchlorate level; the Defense Department suggested 200 ppb.
For a while, it looked as though one lone cow might succeed.
Government officials promised to implement food safety measures long championed by consumer, family farm, health, environmental, and public interest organizations. Industry groups -- and their former lobbyists now working for regulatory agencies -- were on the defensive.
Concerns about the safety of Pfizer's Celebrex, Merck's Vioxx and other so-called COX-2 inhibitor drugs represent "perhaps the clearest instance yet of how the confluence of medicine and marketing can turn hope into hype - and how difficult it is for the Food and Drug Administration to monitor the safety of drugs after they have been approved f
On December 3, 1984 a toxic gas release from a Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal, India killed at least 7,000 people. Two decades later, 15,000 additional people have died and 100,000 have health problems stemming from the leak of poison gases. Activists worldwide have called on Dow Chemical, which now owns Union Carbide, to take responsibility for the industrial disaster and make reparations.
"Many Americans consider television their most important source of news and information on health," but TV is also "one of the least trusted sources." A study of 840 TV news health segments by communications professor Gary Schwitzer revealed "10 troublesome trends," including extreme brevity, little or no data, exaggeration and commercialism. "Rather than reporting on a company's hopes for its product or the potential sales, journalists could better serve their audiences by reporting on the evidence for and against a product," Schwitzer writes.
"When federal drug officials suspected in 1992 that a popular allergy pill might cause heart problems, they turned to their own scientists. Their trial confirmed the danger, and the drug was pulled from the market," writes Gardiner Harris. "Eight years later, similar worries surrounded the arthritis pill Vioxx.