Unhealthy Practices at Public Hospitals

At an inquiry into the problems facing cash-strapped public hospitals in New South Wales, Australia, neurologist Dr Suzanne Hodgkinson explained that doctors sought financial support of drug companies. "I had insufficient clerical support and so as to try and remedy that I approached a company to help me with that on a temporary, part-time basis. ... Quite a few senior doctors do try to raise money to help with the provision of services," she said. Hodgkinson raised A$20,000 for the position, but would not name the drug company funder.


Ultraviolet Without the Sunlight

A review article published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggested that tanning at the beach or an indoor tanning booth can help avoid the dangers of vitamin D deficiency. However, the NEJM didn't disclose that the article's author, Michael Holick, has received more than $150,000 in research funding from the artificial tanning industry.


Special Offer: Free Grass to Subject Your Children to Sludge

Sludge keeps rearing its ugly head. Scientists used federal grant money to "spread fertilizer made from human and industrial wastes on yards in poor, black neighborhoods to test whether it might protect children from lead poisoning in the soil." The residents were not alerted to any harmful ingredients in the sludge, and were assured that it posed no health risks for their families.


This Earth Day, Let's Scrape off the Greenwash

Today marks the 38th annual celebration of Earth Day, and once again the event comes with its fair share of PR hype and misleading marketing campaigns. In the spirit of dedicating ourselves to genuine concern for the planet, today is therefore a good time to look carefully at corporate environmental claims, some of which consist more of empty rhetoric than real substance. Companies like Wal-Mart are announcing environmental initiatives. General Electric has its "Ecomagnation" advertising campaign. In Singapore, a shopping center is advertising that customers can "shop to save planet earth" -- and if they buy enough, they might win a new car! The ritual of green hypocrisy frequently requires that companies and politicians redefine environmental progress in increasingly creative ways. Last week, for example, George W. Bush announced a plan to address the problem of global warming by "halting the growth" of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2025. Beyond the fact that this target date is 17 years in the future, what really means is that during those 17 years not only will greenhouse gas emissions continue, the amount of those emissions will continue to grow. As columnist Gail Collins observed in the New York Times, this would be akin to having an overweight person announce a plan to achieve "an 18 percent reduction in the rate at which he was gaining weight, to be reached within the next decade."

Audit Reveals the PR Machine Behind Canadian Global Warming Skeptics

An audit review (pdf) of over $507,000 (Canadian) contributed to two University of Calgary "research accounts" has revealed that C$123,427 was routed to Friends of Science (FoS) -- a group lobbying the Canadian government against taking action on global warming.


Obama and Clinton Get Down & Dirty with "Clean" Coal

The Associated Press reports, "Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are walking a delicate line as they promise to aggressively tackle global warming while trying to assure voters that they continue to believe in the future of coal," the energy source responsible for "nearly 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, each


More Heart Attacks for Merck

Prescription pillsTwo studies of internal Merck documents concluded that the pharmaceutical company had "violated scientific-publishing ethics by ghostwriting dozens of academic articles, and minimized the impact of patient deaths in its analyses of some human trials." The internal documents surfaced during l



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