Skip to main content

Fence Causes Cancer (only in California)

It is almost October in Florida, which means the brutal summer heat is almost over and we can plant the damn garden. Over my whole life I’ve found great solace in growing my own food, and in North-Central Florida you get two seasons to do it — fall and spring, two seasons separated by a freeze event or two that represents our tiny little microwinter.
This year the garden is expanded to epic proportions and features a lot of climbing vegetables. Others, like tomatoes, grow better if tethered rather than using the flimsy tomato cages home improvement stores.
This year I actually sprung for some new fencing — but the warning tag had me concerned.

I historically have used welded wire fence, the stuff with big 10 cm squares that allow me to reach through to pick fruit.  One year in Chicago I found a roll of road mesh (same concept used in reinforcing concrete) in front of a Mexican bakery.  It was there for a few days and then I brought it home in my 1984 Chevy Caprice decommissioned police car I bought for $500. 


This year I actually bought some new fencing-- but the warning tag had me concerned. 



Thank goodness I'm using it far away from California, this stuff is deadly there! 




What? My fence contains chemicals? Technically metal is a chemical, so they have it right there. The warning must be referring to some component in the alloy that was shown somewhere to affect cells in a dish, or some other circuitous connection to human disease.
I just don’t understand where the risk is. If it is fencing in my home, my veggies or my dog… will I get cancer? Will I develop birth defects a half century after I was born? Will the fence imperil future generations?
When we hear about coffee, pumpkin puree and tiffany lamps causing cancer in California, it frames an important issue. Regulators don’t understand risk or public health.
The consequence? A society of individuals freaked out about their morning Joe, the safe stuff the farmer sprays, or the fence around their house.
And imagine if someone fences their property on the border of California and Nevada. They’d be wise to do their major sitting time on the Nevada side, just be to safe. Over in Cali you’re literally surrounded by a carcinogen.
This silly tale frames a current debate. Why are non-scientists defining risk — especially when they deceive the public by not telling the truth about risk? It is the ultimate cry wolf. When everything is reported to cause health problems it makes us less able to recognize actual threats, which ultimately is a much greater risk to human health.


Popular posts from this blog

Scientific American Destroys Public Trust in Science

This is a sad epitaph, parting words to an old friend that is now gone, leaving in a puff of bitter betrayal. 
When I was a kid it was common for my mom to buy me a magazine if I was sick and home from school.  I didn't want MAD Magazine or comic books.  I preferred Scientific American
The once stalwart publication held a unique spot at the science-public interface, bringing us interesting and diverse stories of scientific interest, long before the internet made such content instantly accessible.  It was our trusted pipeline to the new edges of scientific discovery, from the mantle of the earth to the reaches of space, and every critter in between.
But like so much of our trusted traditional science media, Scientific American has traded its credibility for the glitz of post-truth non-scientific beliefs and the profits of clickbait.The problem is that when a trusted source publishes false information (or worse, when it hijacked by activists) it destroys trust in science, trust in s…

Chipotle's Ag-vertising to Fix their Anti-Ag Image

After years of anti-farmer rhetoric, disgusting anti-agriculture videos, and trashing farmer seed choice, Chipotle now seems to have found a love for the American farmer that is as warm and inviting as the gooey core of a steak burrito.  Their new "Cultivate the Future of Farming" campaign raises awareness of the hardship being experienced in agriculture, and then offers their thoughts and some seed grants in order to reverse it. 

But are they solving a problem that they were instrumental in creating? 

The crisis in agriculture is real, with farmers suffering from low prices, astronomical costs, and strangling regulation.  Farmer suicides are a barometer of the crisis.  Farms, from commodity crops to dairies, are going out of business daily. It is good to see a company raising awareness. 


From Chipotle's website- The "challenge is real" and "It's a hard living"-- and companies like Chipotle were central in creating those problems. 

However, Chipotle&#…

Mangling Reality and Targeting Scientists

Welcome to 2019, and one thing that remains constant is that scientists engaging the public will continue to be targeted for harassment and attempted reputation harm.  

The good news is that it is not working as well as it used to.  People are disgusted by their tactics, and only a handful of true-believers acknowledge their sites as credible. 

But for those on the fence I thought it might be nice to post how a website like SourceWatch uses a Wikipedia-mimic interface to spread false and/or misleading information about public scientists. 

Don't get me wrong, this is not crying victim.  I'm actually is screaming empowerment.  I spent the time to correct the record, something anyone can check.  Please look into their allegations and mine, and see who has it right. 

This is published by the Center for Media and Democracy.  Sadly, such pages actually threaten democracy by providing a forum for false information that makes evidence-based decisions in policy issues more challenging.  It…