Toronto Star

There’s no proof that we shouldn’t worry

- David Josephy, Guelph, Ont.

Re Top 10 false health scares

Living, Jan. 4

From the American Council on Science and Health, this article presents a list of “medical stories that made us worry unnecessar­ily.” They include the possible health risks of nitrite-treated meats, ultrafine particles generated by laser printers, phthalate plasticize­rs in PVC plastics, etc. Each hazard is dismissed as false — written off with statements such as, “Nitrites have been used to cure meat for almost a century with no evidence of any risk to human health” and “there is no evidence the small amounts (of lead) in lipstick pose any threat to human health.”

These statements are oversimpli­fied and misleading. Perhaps there has not yet been a conclusive demonstrat­ion of harm from a certain substance, but that does not mean that the substance is safe. Experts may have differing opinions about the degree of risk, but the hazards cannot simply be dismissed as false.

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