(NaturalNews) Previously in this series we looked at the cozy relationship between the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the chemical industry, including how that industry had been the source of both board members and major donations. A stark example of the influence chemical makers wielded with the ACS came in the spring of 1993 when the ACS helped attack an upcoming documentary about pesticide dangers.
Shortly before PBS was due to broadcast the documentary on "Frontline", a draft of the script was leaked to the powerful public relations firm Porter-Novelli. Porter-Novelli had notable clients on both sides of the fence, including the ACS as well as Ciba-Geigy, DuPont, Monsanto, Burroughs Wellcome, American Petroleum Institute, the Center for Produce Quality, the USDA, the NCI, plus other National Institutes of Health.
Porter-Novelli first crafted a rebuttal to help the manufacturers quell public fears about pesticide-contaminated food. Next, Porter-Novelli called up another client, the ACS, for whom Porter-Novelli had done pro bono work for years. The rebuttal that Porter-Novelli had just sent off to its industry clients was faxed to ACS Atlanta headquarters. Then it was circulated internationally by e-mail so that the 3,000 regional ACS offices could use it to help field calls from the public after the show aired.
The ACS memo stated: "The program makes unfounded suggestions . . . that pesticide residue in food may be at hazardous levels. Its use of a 'cancer cluster' leukemia case reports and non-specific community illnesses as alleged evidence of pesticide effects in people is unfortunate. We know of no community cancer clusters which have been shown to be anything other than chance grouping of cases and none in which pesticide use was confirmed as the cause."
Later, accuracy in Media's newsletter trumpeted quotes from the ACS memo in an article whose banner headline read "Junk Science on PBS." The article began "Can we afford the Public Broadcasting Service?" and went on to disparage the PBS documentary. "In Our Children's Food . . . exemplified what the media have done to produce these 'popular panics' and the enormously costly waste (at PBS) cited by the New York Times."
When public television producer Marty Koughman saw the article he was outraged and initially believed the ACS had somehow been duped. Later, however, Koughan figured out what was really going on after several failed attempts to get an ACS rebuttal. "When I realized Porter-Novelli represented five agrichemical companies, and that the ACS had been a client for years, it became obvious that the ACS had not been fooled at all," said Koughan. "They were willing partners in the deception, and were in fact doing a favor for a friend _ by flakking for the agrichemical industry."
Koughan's investigation had relied heavily on a ground-breaking report issued by the National Academy of Sciences in June of 1993 entitled "Pesticides in the Diet of Children." The report declared the nation's food supply was "inadequately protected" from cancer-causing pesticides and a significant threat to the health of children. An earlier report issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council in 1989, "Intolerable Risk: Pesticides in our Children's Food," had also castigated pesticide manufacturers.
Former director of the National Academy of Sciences Board of Agriculture Charles Benbrook had worked on the pesticide report by the Academy of Sciences. He charged that the role of the ACS as a source of information for the pesticide and product industry was "unconscionable." Investigative reporter Sheila Kaplan went a step further in a 1993 Legal Times article: "What they did was clearly and unequivocally over the line, and constitutes a major conflict of interest."
In the next installment in this series we will examine the close relationships the American Cancer Society has with the mammogram and other cancer industries.
Tony Isaacs, is a natural health author, advocate and researcher who hosts The Best Years in Life website for those who wish to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Mr. Isaacs is the author of books and articles about natural health, longevity and beating cancer including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and is working on a major book project due to be published later this year. He is also a contributing author for the worldwide advocacy group "S.A N.E.Vax. Inc" which endeavors to uncover the truth about HPV vaccine dangers. Mr. Isaacs is currently residing in scenic East Texas and frequently commutes to the even more scenic Texas hill country near Austin and San Antonio to give lectures and health seminars. He also hosts the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs - featuring Luella May" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and he serves as a consultant to the "Utopia Silver Supplement Company".