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UK Org Wants to Help Celebrities Spread Scientific Truth

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Elle MacPherson, Got Milk?You know how celebrities sometimes give random advice to the general public? And how sometimes it either a) sounds a little off or b) sounds super scientific for someone that’s not a scientist to be talking about?

Well, we’re not the only ones concerned about this. UK independent charitable truth Sense About Science has just launched a new pamphlet (warning, pdf file) and program geared for advice-blasting celebrities. The idea behind the program is to provide celebrities with a way to check facts before they go public. However, after reading some of the ‘scientific rebuttals’, I’m not sure who to believe.

The document quotes Elle MacPherson as saying, “I feel happy that I can feed my family food that avoids unnecessary pesticides and harmful food additives,” when discussing using organic food. Sounds good to me. In reply, Sense About Science has a toxicologist saying that pesticides are a “necessary part of agriculture and residues will appear infrequently”. Umm…I beg to differ. You don’t want to get me started on this one. Just read Part II of The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Then a dietician continues on to say that additives hardly harm anyone, and they can “make food safer by, for example, stopping it going off too quickly.” Again, I would disagree…who says that food needs to be able to sit on a shelf for a year before it goes bad?

However, there are a few quotes that the celebrities do sound a little off the mark. For instance, TV presenter Gillian McKeith was talking about eating seeds, “each sprouting seed is packed with the nutritional energy needed to create a fully grown healthy plant.” When the plant scientist starts off, “This is a nice idea Gillian, but when we eat seeds we don’t break down the stored products like a plant does,” I’d probably side with the scientist on this one.

The pamphlet continues to bash on Madonna, Jo Wood, and Heather Mills McCartney, among others. I’d love to hear what others think about it. I have a hard time believing just any expert that is thrown in front of my face. I have no idea if this person is a kook or well-respected in their profession.


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