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Posted December 21, 2007
Journalist Christopher Booker and former food safety consultant Dr Richard North have written a fascinating book on the rash of scares in the last 20 years. They earlier worked together on a brilliant book on the European Union The great deception. They study the food scares - salmonella in eggs (1988-9), listeria in cheese, BSE in beef (1996-9) and dioxins in Belgian poultry (1999). Other scares they discuss include the Millennium bug (1999), DDT, the satanic child abuse mania (1987-94), lead, passive smoking, asbestos, SARS, bird flu (2005) (which the World Health Organisation absurdly called `the greatest single health challenge¿), organophosphorus, and global warming. They note that banning DDT has killed two million people every year, because DDT had cut malaria deaths by 95%. The EU backed the ban on DDT. Organophosphorus, used in sheep dip, was `MAFF-approved¿, and an HSE leaflet warned of its `cumulative toxicity¿ leading to `irreversible¿ damage to the nervous system, akin to ME and Gulf War Syndrome (which also never happened, according to the MoD). The government suppressed the whole story, because it was directly responsible. A review in the Independent claimed that their chapter on global warming had scarcely any scientific references. It has 117, including important articles in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the Journal of Geophysical Research, Energy and Environment, the International Journal of Climatology, six from Nature and five from Science. The authors expose as exaggerated the claims of climate doom. They point out that historically rising CO2 levels are associated both with rising and falling temperatures and that the overall ice mass of the Antarctic, which has 89.5% of the world¿s ice, is increasing, as is Greenland¿s (10%). They study the roles of scientists, the media, politicians, officials and non-governmental organisations, especially the `animal rights¿ groups. All these scares, and others from the witch craze to McCarthyism to the war scares over Iraq and Iran, always give the message ¿ trust the government, pay the huge costs of protection. The real message of the scares for us must be ¿ always look at the evidence not the spin, and seek the truth.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.