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Hank CampbellRSS Feed of this column.

I founded Science 2.0® in 2006 and since then it has become the world's largest independent science communications site, with over 300,000,000 direct readers and reach approaching one billion. Read More »

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In today's Wall Street Journal my article Science Saves an Old Chestnut discusses the potential benefit of President Trump's executive order requiring USDA, FDA, and EPA to modernize when it comes to biotechnology approval. They have to consider actual risk instead of treating every product like a new invention. They don't make flowers go through tens of millions of dollars and 20 years of regulatory stonewalling, why do it for anything else? 
Once upon a time, epidemiologists believed bacon caused cancer, as did hot tea, a weedkiller that acts on no human biology, bread, apples, lettuce, mustard, tomatoes, and more.

That faraway time was actually last year.

You name it, and it is possible for statisticians at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to find a chemical in it that links it to cancer. With most foods, it is also possible for other epidemiologists to link them to prevention of cancer.(1)

What did epidemiologists once deny causes cancer? The cancer history of your family - genetics. 
Is honey healthier than bleached white table sugar or brown sugar or high fructose corn syrup? If you ask people selling nutritional fads yes, but if you ask your mitochondria, sugar is sugar. It's the total, which means calories, that matter. in our increasingly wealthy, sedentary society.
With a new executive order, President Trump has done something that the science community has wished would have been done since the 1980s; he has ordered his administration to streamline the federal regulatory process for agricultural biotechnology so that every new product is not treated like a new invention.
Women will more often rush to the defense of mothers who give their kids formula, stick to the vaccine schedule, or who let their pre-schoolers play in the yard without a wall to protect them from predators they read about one time on the Internet. Women defend mothers against mommy shaming more often because a whole lot more women are also willing to shame mothers who don't buy food from the right store, clothe them in the right stuff, or act in a way social media zealots tell them not to do.

In my neighborhood, we call any guy who berates other fathers because they don't shop at Whole Foods or do give their kids vaccines 'that guy with no friends.'(1) But among moms the peer pressure is strong.
No one is for child labor but people are unfailingly for lower prices rather than higher. That is why the organic industry is a tiny fraction of the overall food market. With no benefit other than paeans to health halos or holistic beliefs about urban people about farming, most remain unconvinced.

What if it eliminated child labor? Nearly everyone would agree to that - unless they believe paying more would just lead to more profits by exploiters in developing nations.