June 16, 2019

Misleading headline

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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