Misleading headline

Letter to the editor
Copyright 1998 Bangor Daily News
December 12, 1998

Your article "Study links pesticide to breast cancer risk"
(BDN, Dec. 4) was light on the facts.

The study tested 46 different pesticides and PCBs for an
association with breast cancer in 7,712 women, 258 with breast
cancer.   Only one pesticide, dieldrin, was found to be statistically
associated with breast cancer.

But at a 5 percent error level, out of 46 tests, at least two
such statistical associations would be expected to occur just by
chance alone.  The reported result for dieldrin is even more likely
to be due to chance since no associations were reported for other
pesticides and PCBs that are more estrogenic than dieldrin.

Perhaps wire service reports of scientific studies should be
reviewed before printing them.  Accuracy should not be sacrificed
for the sake of a headline.

Steven Milloy

Washington, D.C.

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