You Got to Be Kidding Me!

Silent Spring

Posted in Books, Environment by Stacy McMahon on October 27, 2006

So I’ve been reading The Hundred Year Lie: How Food and Medicine are Destroying Your Health, by Randall Fitzgerald. It’s a polemic; there are no footnotes or endnotes and while the prose is not really alarmist, it is fairly repetitive and dumbed down. The central theme is that synthetic chemicals found in food and especially in drugs are responsible, not by themselves but in concert with other natural and synthetic chemicals that we consume, for epidemics of once-rare diseases like autism, type 2 diabetes and various cancers.

The author, an investigative reporter, claims to be a libertarian who is concerned to bring us these observations because synthetic chemicals are so ubiquitous that there’s no such thing as choosing to avoid them. That’s a good beginning to a persuasive argument, but he unfortunately follows it up with unscientific anecdotes and assertions of statistical correlations between some chemical in a food or drug item and some disorder in humans consuming it. The only apparantly solid scientific conclusions presented in the book (still without direct references) are the scary “body burden” of 700-some synthetic chemicals in the average citizen of western countries, and eyebrow-raising increases in the rates of things like birth defects, autism, childhood allergies and diseases like asthma, and nervous disorders in the past few decades. If nothing else, I feel vindicated in my policy of avoiding all drugs unless absolutely necessary. Just don’t tell me this shit is in beer!

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2 Responses

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  1. Randall Fitzgerald said, on June 24, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    Saw your comments about my book, The Hundred Year Lie.

    Yes, I do claim to be a libertarian, having been so since 1972,
    when I joined the newly formed Libertarian Party. I have also had
    three books published by libertarian thinktanks — two by the Cato
    Institute, and one by the Pacific Research Foundation. So I do have
    a rather consistent career of supporting the rights of individuals,
    which helped to inspire me to write this particular book that proposes
    no new government programs or regulations, but recommends private
    initiatives to educate ourselves about the dangers we face in seemingly
    innocuous and harmless products.

    As for your claim about the scientific veracity of my arguments and
    data, there has been quite a bit of medical and scientific support
    for my thesis emerging. In that regard I point you to the book’s website
    at http://www.hundredyearlie.com for some of those statements of support,
    as well as to the Postscript in the newly released paperback version
    of the book which details a long list of peer-reviewed science studies
    supporting the contentions in my book.

    best wishes for good health, randall fitzgerald

  2. […] find his/her way here once in awhile. Randall Fitzgerald did that the other day, commenting on my perhaps-a-bit-harsh remarks about his book The Hundred Year Lie: How Food and Medicine are Destroying Your Health. (emphasis […]


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