The Endocrine-Disruptors Scare
More junk science takes aim at another American industry — agriculture.

Tyrone Hayes


None of these claims stands up. Syngenta has been entirely independent of Novartis since 2000. That five-year research grant expired as long ago as 2004. And the idea that atrazine poses any risk to human health has been rebutted in an astonishing 7,000 scientific studies around the world, which have examined — and rejected — its potential to cause everything from birth defects and genetic mutations to cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency concurs, finding that atrazine poses “no harm” to the “general U.S. population, infants, children, or other major identifiable subgroups of children.”

It is an unfortunate measure of the persuasive power of voodoo science, the precautionary principle, and environmental activism that not all regulatory bodies have been quite so robust as the EPA. After years of campaigning by activists such as Hayes, both the United Nations and the EU have now embraced endocrine-disruptor theory.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization issued a joint report earlier this year on the potential health risks of endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The European Commission, meanwhile, is finalizing laws that could mandate a Europe-wide ban not only on pesticides but also on fruits, vegetables, and grains bearing even the tiniest trace of alleged endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

This has infuriated and appalled the genuine experts in the field. The editors of eight leading scientific journals specializing in chemical hazards recently signed a joint editorial attacking the Commission’s decision. They accused it of acting “contrary not only to science but to the very principles of enlightened governance and social contract.” Meanwhile, 73 leading scientists have written an open letter protesting that the rules “could rewrite well-accepted scientific and regulatory principles . . . without scientific evidence.” As John Block, former secretary of agriculture to Ronald Reagan, has argued, “Bad science could kill the global trade talks.”

It could do serious damage to American agriculture-commodity exports, too, 40 percent of which would be affected by the new regulations — at a cost to the American economy of $4 billion.

To those of us wearily familiar with the ways of the environmental movement, however, this regulatory assault on the capitalist system — justified by the flimsiest of scientific evidence — will come as no surprise whatsoever.

From anthropogenic global warming to biodiversity to species loss to pesticides and GMOs, the story is the same: The scientific method is being abandoned and the practice of peer review has been grotesquely corrupted, all to advance the dubious causes of environmental activists.

Endocrine-disruptor theory shows all the signs of being yet another pseudoscience pushed by the unscrupulous, championed by the overzealous, and accepted by the credulous in an ongoing campaign that will probably do nothing to save the planet but will most certainly cause enormous harm to Western industrial civilization.

— James Delingpole is a blogger, author, and scourge of junk-science environmentalist doommongers. His latest book, The Little Green Book of Eco-Fascism, has just been published by Regnery.