A recent Times of London article claimed new “research” demonstrates that a “chemical onslaught is destroying Britain’s amphibians.” A “toxic cocktail,” it stated, is killing UK frogs, toads and newts.
Manmade chemicals “can affect animals’ immune systems – leaving them vulnerable to attack by fungi, bacteria and other infections,” it continued, citing statements by two scientists. Laboratory experiments show that pesticides have a “powerful effect on amphibian immune systems, even at low concentrations,” causing diseases that have been around for decades to “suddenly become much more deadly.”
And not just for amphibians, the story added. “Some fear the same effects could extend to humans, who are exposed to numerous manmade chemicals, in food, drinks and the air.”
It concluded by quoting Elizabeth Salter Green, director of CHEM Trust, which the Times said sponsored the so-called research. “There is mounting evidence that exposure to even tiny levels of these [agricultural pesticides and urban] chemicals can compromise the immune system. The European Union needs to take a lead on both identifying and controlling the risks,” she insisted.
The story certainly sounds plausible. However, as Baltimore journalist H. L. Mencken observed, “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem – neat, plausible, and wrong.” Indeed, there are ample reasons for skepticism. The Times “news story” underscores what happens when genuine science and objective journalism take a vacation, on chemicals, medicine, global warming and other topics.
CHEM Trust is financially supported by and promotes the work of Greenpeace, an organization that co-founder Patrick Moore says has become “anti-science, anti-technology and anti-human.” Greenpeace fabricated claims that Shell Oil’s Brent Spar production platform contained tons of oil, toxic wastes and radioactive materials, to attract donations and ensure that the platform was not sunk as an artificial reef.
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