The bogeyman that won't die

By The West Virginia Record | Aug 21, 2009

Rabid environmentalists and EPA apparatchiks created the dioxin bogeyman 30 years ago, and it's been on the world's most expensive life-support system ever since.

Rabid environmentalists and EPA apparatchiks created the dioxin bogeyman 30 years ago, and it's been on the world's most expensive life-support system ever since. After three decades and a billion dollars in federally funded research, there is no proven "link" between dioxin and cancer.

Nevertheless, the fear-mongering continues. As first reported by The West Virginia Record, Charleston plaintiff's attorney Stuart Calwell filed 50 lawsuits last week, charging a Monsanto chemical plant with contaminating the Nitro air and soil with dioxins and furans and, he alleges, causing cancer among residents of the area.

The hawking of fear and loathing has proven profitable for fund-loving researchers and activists -- and for fellow travelers like Ben & Jerry of ice cream fame, who discovered that being on board the environmental bandwagon could make their calorie-laden product more appealing.

Author/scholar Steven Milloy demonstrated the connection between junk food and this kind of "junk science" a decade ago. In reponse to a Ben & Jerry's marketing campaign claiming there was no safe exposure level for dioxin, the JunkScience.com publisher tested their ice cream and found that it had 200 times the EPA-approved level.

Were Ben and Jerry chagrinned? Hardly. Their public concern for contaminants had other products in mind -- that and their own profitability.

Mr. Calwell may be a fan of Ben & Jerry's marketing techniques, if not their ice cream. He seeks compensatory damages on behalf of his clients for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.

The catch is that the science does not support his claims. What is known is that dioxin is a naturally occurring substance that is all around us and has never been shown to pose a serious threat to humans, eating Ben & Jerry's ice cream or otherwise.

But will that make a difference to a judge or jury inundated with mind-numbing junk science testimony?

Will justice be served? Not if they believe in the bogeyman.

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