by Angela Logomasini
Competitive Enterprise Institute
April 02, 2014
A constant barrage of news headlines suggests that synthetic chemicals are responsible for nearly every public health problem imaginable. When it comes to studies attempting to link chemicals and health ailments, the absolute risks are largely theoretical and generally too low to measure. In fact, the findings are often weak and inappropriate for drawing any conclusions. Accordingly, rather than panic about scary headlines, consumers can seek answers to some fundamental questions such as: Is the association strong and statistically significant? Is the sample any good? Are there serious confounding factors? Consumers should focus more on what the larger body of research indicates about a particular issue. In addition, we should remain wary of sensationalist hype and anyone claiming to have changed the nature of the debate with a single study.