SIRC Media Watch Archive
Articles of Note – October 1999

Teenage girls 'risking health to lose weight'. Among 14-year-olds, six out of 10 would like to lose weight, a finding that is described as "neither physically nor mentally healthy" by the authors of Young People in 1998, conducted by the Schools Health Education Unit. Daily Telegraph

The new risks to scientific progress. Public debate about the safety of biotechnology is being driven by an irrational retreat from reason and an unattainable desire for complete freedom from risk. Financial Times

Europeans worry more about issues like air and water pollution than the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), according to a new survey. "Opinions vary widely from country to country on the safety or otherwise of GMOs. The Finns and Belgians are not very worried, the Swedes and British are somewhat worried, and the Greeks are very worried," a survey report concluded. The survey, titled "What do Europeans think about the environment?", is reported by MSNBC

American consumers should be appalled at the thought of the consortium of anti-biotech activists declaring war on socalled "genetically modified organisms." These "activists" assume they know what is best for all of us, and would limit our choices, as well as those of plant breeders and farmers world-wide with no rational, scientific basis for their actions. Wall Street Journal Letter

Obesity epidemic in US. New data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention finds that nearly 18% of Americans or one in five are obese, up from 12% just eight years ago. LA Times

Food Wars – America joins in. 'You can trust their cheese or their government, but when it comes to the French, you can't trust both. Same with most of their Euro-neighbors, from Birmingham to Berlin.' Forbes.

Forget the millennium. We're much too scared to celebrate..Nobody today gets black marks for undercooking whatever fricassee of fear happens to be on the stove. Better expect the worst and lay out the morgues in the swimming pool. No headline ever died for lack of hyperbole. No TV news bulletin ever waxed on modest understatement. Where's the beef? Still bloody on the bone. Mr Frankenstein regrets he's unable to lunch today, madam. Guardian

There is evidence to suggest that some genetically-modified (GM) crops now being grown commercially in the US can have distinct health advantages. BBC

Moral Food?  Genetically modified foods and other new technologies should have to pass ethics tests before being allowed on sale, academics said yesterday. Guardian.

Unsound science  People want to believe in magic, and they often find it in misinterpreted science. The supposed ''Mozart effect'' has pregnant women standing close to stereo speakers so their babies can hear music that will make them smarter. Boston Globe

Lancet defies GM study advice The leading medical journal The Lancet is embroiled in a furious row with its own advisers over a decision to publish the controversial research on genetically-modified (GM) potatoes by Dr Arpad Pusztai. BBC

Public gripped by cancer myths A NOP survey commissioned by the Cancer Research Campaign has highlighted widespread ignorance about the causes of cancer among British people and a rise in number of the 'worried well' BBC

A hard earned thirst could lead to a healthier life. New research has found that moderate beer drinking can reduce the risk of two of Australia's major causes of death – coronary heart disease and thrombotic stroke. ABC

Similarities in the fermentation process  for black tea and red wine make Britain and France's national drinks powerful protectors against heart disease. Sunday Times

Eugenics by another name. A US charity is offering $200 cash payments for drug-addicted women to be permanently sterilised or consent to long-term contraception. The American Civil Liberties Union called the programme 'morally bankrupt'. The "policy is coercive. The $200 is a bribe." Observer

Groundless fears on pill boost teen pregnancy.  Another poigniant example of what SIRC have already identified as one of The side effects of health warnings. The Brook advisory centres today have blamed widespread misinformation and unwarranted fears about the safety of contraceptive pills for the rise in teenage pregnancies. Guardian