Science

Shifting Focus, Anti-Abortion Groups Oppose Contraception

On June 7, the anti-abortion groups American Life League (ALL) and Pharmacists for Life launched a new national campaign called "Protest the Pill Day 08: The Pill Kills Babies." Their goal is to convince American women to stop using oral contraceptives, which they believe kill people.

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Thanks to Chantix, Quitting Smoking May Be Hazardous, Too

antismoking drug ChantixThe pharmaceutical company Pfizer "is preparing an advertising and public-relations campaign to counter concerns about its antismoking drug Chantix, once trumpeted as a potential billion-dollar-a-year blockbuster." So far, Pfizer has "run ads in five major newspapers in which its medical director explains Chantix's risk-benefit balance." The drug company will soon "start hosting ro

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Less Isn't Always More

crop dusterComprehensive information about what chemicals are sprayed on food crops just got much harder to come by. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that they will no longer conduct and publish annual national surveys of "which states apply the most pesticides and where bug and weed killers are most heavily sprayed to help cotton, grapes and oranges grow." The report is used extensively by farmers, environmental advocates, chemical companies and even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Don Lipton, a spokesman for the American Farm Bureau, said "farmers will be subjected to conjecture and allegations about their use of chemicals and fertilizer. Given the historic concern about chemical use by consumers, regulators, activist groups and farmers, it's probably not an area where lack of data is a good idea." One fear is that information will only be available after there's been a problem. Steve Scholl-Buckwald of the Pesticide Action Network explained, "What we'll end up doing is understanding pesticide use through getting accident reports. And that's a lousy way to protect public health."

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Yucca's Not Quite Dead Yet, but What's Plan B?

Aerial view of Yucca MountainIncreasingly, people are coming to the conclusion that the proposed nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, Nevada might never open. Former Louisiana Senator J. Bennett Johnston, "the lawmaker perhaps most responsible" for advancing the plan for a permanent waste repository at Yucca, now says the "project should never have been billed as a place to hold waste indefinitely," reports Lisa Mascaro.

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Drug Companies: Marketing Machines Gone Awry

Prescription pillsNew York Times reporter Melody Petersen, who covered the pharmaceutical industry for four years, has now published a book titled Our Daily Meds: How the pharmaceutical companies transformed themselves into slick marketing machines and hooked the nation on prescription drugs.

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