Self-Interest and Consumers

                            By Frances B. Smith

As appeared in the April 1996 issue of Consumers' Research Magazine

Business-bashing is in vogue among policymakers, presidential candidates, and pundits who
often charge that corporations put profits before people. They all seem to have forgotten that
companies benefit society precisely because they limit their objectives: Companies produce
profits by providing products or services of varying prices and quality to consumers and
businesses. As Adam Smith said, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or
the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

A recent case in point shows how this self-interest works to the benefit of consumers. A trade
association for phone card issuers, United States Telecard Association (USTA), called with a
problem and asked for Consumer Alert's help -- not in putting a spin on the issue, but to help get
the word out to consumers who had bought worthless prepaid telephone cards.

Prepaid phone cards, long used in Europe, are taking off in the United States and are one of the
fastest growing segments of the telecommunications industry. Now here's the trade group for
phone cards faced with a "bad apple" problem: one company's actions may taint the product in
consumers' minds and hamper that growth.

A company, USA Calling Company of Atlanta, Georgia, which isn't a member of the industry
trade group, had distributed cards to be sold to consumers at retail outlets, and the cards didn't
work. The firm subsequently went out of business. Although some consumers stuck with those
cards did complain, the trade group estimated that tens of thousands of people who bought those
cards from major discount stores may not be aware of the problem.

Realizing that the bad apple could affect its member companies and the future growth of phone
cards, the trade group got in touch with the retail stores that sold the cards, and those retailers
offered their customers reimbursement of the purchase price of the bum cards.

USTA didn't stop there: 10 of its members are going to provide all consumers who bought the
non-working cards with new prepaid cards with the same face amount. They provided a special
800 number -- for a limited time -- for those customers to use to find out how to get the new
phone cards. The group also has an on-going consumer hotline for this and other phone card
problems: (800) 333-3513.

This example illustrates how producers' self-interest includes protecting consumers from the bad
apples of business. They do this by policing themselves -- ensuring that the industry of which
they are part has standards of practice and ethical conduct. Unfortunately, the mechanics by
which businesses have an interest in scrutinizing their own practices is often overlooked.

Why are legitimate businesses interested in policing themselves? Usually because they realize
that consumers have alternatives. If a particular market or segment of a market is perceived as
insecure, if consumers believe companies won't deliver what's promised, they'll switch to
competitive products or services.

The example also shows one reason why trade groups exist -- to create quality standards for
members and to monitor adherence to those standards. In that way, trade groups increase the
comfort level of their members' current and potential customers. Sometimes anti-trust laws work
to block this function by narrowly viewing positive actions, such as standards setting, as barriers
to new competition.

Will responses like those of USTA eliminate all bad apples from the phone card market? No, but
their action, aimed at making consumers whole, helps distinguish their members as good guys
and their industry as a responsible one. It is in legitimate businesses' self-interest to show their
customers that they stand behind their products. It's also in consumers' interest to get that

This point is not widely understood, especially in the media. The bad apples often get
over-exposure in the news, with the implication that something needs to be done to protect
consumers from "industry-wide" practices. The media often underrate their importance as
providers of information to the public -- in some cases, information that could help consumers
sift the good from the bad. Instead, when the media view their role as helping to expand the role
of the regulatory state by treating every business as a bad apple, they help to raise consumers
costs -- costs that result from regulatory overkill.

Bad apples do need to be exposed, but they also can be isolated from the bushel, so that they
don't spoil the rest. That's in industry's self-interest ... and consumers' best interest.

    Consumers' Research columns

Comments? Questions?

 Consumers' Research Magazine

                The Risks of Plasti-Phobia

                              by Frances B. Smith

Plastics are ubiquitous in our modern society. From packaging and
containers for consumer goods, foods, and beverages to plastic wrap,
health and hygiene equipment, such as blood bags and IV equipment,
to pipes, electronic equipment, and floor coverings – these are only a
sampling of the thousands of products consumers use or come into
contact with every day.

Most consumers take these products for granted and forget about how
the technology has greatly increased the choices consumers have in
their daily lives, but, more importantly, that these choices have been
made available to those less affluent.

Little attention, however, is focused on the characteristics of plastics that improve our health and
well-being, not just our comfort levels – products that are easily sterilized, have low breakage,
and can be molded into countless shapes. These traits mean that doctors and patients can use
low-risk, one-time-use syringes and blood containers that increase the shelf-life of critical blood
supplies. Consumers can purchase products that are hygienic, tamper-proof, and in packages that
help many products retain their freshness.

Plastics, including those produced with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), have been studied, tested, and
used safely for more than 40 years. Yet, despite scientific studies showing minimal or
nonexistant health risks with the plastics in current use, recent campaigns attacking these
products for purported health reasons threaten their future. The charges are that harmful
chemicals may leach out of the materials into foods and beverages or from plastic medical tubing
and cause adverse health effects.

Consumers should be concerned about plastics – concerned that many plastics that contribute
significantly to health, hygiene, and innovation in product safety and durability might not be
around in the near future if activist groups’ misleading campaigns against them continue to strike
pay dirt.

Consider that in a very short period of time – a matter of only months – a carefully orchestrated
campaign has resulted in:

    Toy manufacturers’ pulling flexible baby toys made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) off the
    market even when regulators and the producers acknowledge that no scientific evidence
    supports such a step. (See "Greenpeace Targets Toymakers," CR, December 1998.)
    Some manufacturers of PVC blood bags and IV equipment used in hospitals announcing they
    plan to phase out PVC use, even though no scientific studies have shown any harm to
    patients from their use and acceptable substitutes haven’t been developed. (Some hospitals
    have been pressured to discontinue use of PVC medical equipment.)
    Network television shows exposing the dangers of polycarbonate plastic baby bottles and
    telling parents to throw them away or risk having their kids suffer from learning disabilities
    and reproductive problems. (This hysteria was created by Consumer Reports touting one
    study of 14 male mice.)

Some of the leaders of the coordinated fear-mongering campaigns include the activist group
Greenpeace, Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports), Natural Resources Defense
Council, and Health Care Without Harm (an environmental coalition that includes Greenpeace,
the Chemical Impact Project, and several other more respected organizations that take their cues
on the issue from the more radical group leaders).

In earlier decades, several of these groups, most notably Greenpeace, had campaigned heavily to
rid the world of chlorine in all of its applications, from the manufacture of plastics to water
purification. Considered extremist and dismissed by most sensible people, these views
nonetheless remained intact. Blocked by a frontal assault, they turned to a different strategy:
Take on plastic product lines one at a time and use the most vulnerable in our society – young
children, infants, and the seriously ill – as the purported victims of chlorine-based chemicals,
such as those used in plastics.

The real consumer harm could occur if Greenpeace, et. al. continue to chalk up victories, and
critical uses of safe plastics fall one by one. After a win, the campaigners shift their focus to a
new target. Since plastics are used for so many products, they thus have an almost endless list of
potential "hits" – and some of those could be lethal.

In particular, the phaseout of the use of PVC in medical equipment could itself present significant
risks. Currently, according to health care experts, there are no ready substitutes that provide the
flexibility, hygienic qualities, and, most important, the long history of safe use with patients.
Turning from a well understood and studied product with a long track record to an alternative
that might not have had such scrutiny could decrease, rather than increase, safety.

Another risk that fear-mongering campaigns create is the risk that arises from misguided fears.
Scaring people, especially parents and the seriously ill, about negligible risks may also cause
them to overlook real risks in their families’ lives – poor diets, lack of exercise, obesity,
reckless driving, immoderate consumption of alcohol, for example.

While the risks of plastics may be minuscule, the risks of scare campaigns are all too real.

    Back to Consumer Alert
    Consumers' Research columns
    Also see Michael Fumento's webpage for more information on PVCs.
    Comments? Questions? Mail to Consumer Alert

                      The Value of Time

By Frances B. Smith

Sometimes people in passing note that consumer goods and services have gotten a lot more
expensive than they used to be. "When I was a kid, we could go to a movie for a quarter,"
grandparents often remark when musing on the high cost of that entertainment today.

Things do cost a lot more than was the case in the 1980s, the '70s, the '60s, or a hundred years
ago. And it's difficult for consumers to get a handle on whether prices have gone up in real
terms. Of course, adjusting for inflation gives economists and policy makers a clearer picture of
real costs, but for the average consumer, it seems as if costs keep spiraling upward.

That's where the 1997 Annual Report of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas can provide some
important insights into consumer prices over time. Titled "Time Well Spent: The Declining Real
Cost of Living in America," the featured essay uses a standard that doesn't change over time and
gives a clear picture of the cost of living. Researched and written by W. Michael Cox and
Richard Alm, the article shows the amount of work time then and now needed to buy specific
consumer goods and services. It looks at both necessities and luxuries in terms of how much time
a person would spend working to be able to afford a certain product or service 20, 50, 100 years
ago. That time at the prevailing average hourly rate is then compared to the time needed today to
buy a comparable product or service.

The results are astounding. Nearly one hundred years ago, the average family spent
three-quarters of its income on basic necessities' food, clothing, and shelter. Now, the average
family spends somewhat over one-third. For example, the authors consider the work-time cost of
food items. The cost of a half-gallon of milk took 39 minutes of work in 1919, but only 7 minutes
in 1997. Purchasing a dozen eggs required 80 minutes of work back then, but only 5 minutes last
year. And, in perhaps their most dramatic food example, a 3-pound chicken has fallen from 2
hours, 37 minutes in 1919 to a mere 14 minutes in 1997.

Household appliances and household goods also show remarkable drops in costs, even during
more recent periods. A clothes washer, for instance, cost 138 hours in 1956, but almost half that
--72 hours-- in 1970, and only 26 hours in 1997.

Lower costs for necessities and household goods mean more income available for discretionary
uses, and the costs of transportation, travel, and entertainment also have dropped significantly.
For example, in 1930 a person would have to work 366 hours to pay for a coast-to-coast flight.
In 1951, that was down to 71 hours, while in 1997 the cost was a mere 16 hours.

Besides providing a fresh look at the cost of consumer products today and yesterday, the essay
also presents a lively, almost lyrical paean to the workings of a free enterprise system as it
discusses the incentives markets provide for innovation and increased efficiency, which improve
quality and lower prices.

Tackling even the hard issues, such as the unequal distribution of income, the article notes that
the wealthy are partly responsible for making new products affordable over time to the less
wealthy, to average consumers. When a new product is introduced, it's usually too expensive for
all but the wealthy to afford. The rich may buy the product in small amounts but at high prices,
which allows the company to expand its production and offer subsequent lines at lower cost. The
essay notes: "Without society's wealthy, fewer new goods and services would find their way to
the rest of us. Indeed, the wealthy's free spending spurs a democracy of consumption because it
starts the process of lowering prices. . . . The system harnesses the spending of a relatively few
and puts it to work delivering goods to the masses."

The authors use telephone service as an example of how the rich make things affordable for the
less rich. When long distance service was first available from New York to San Francisco in
1915, a three-minute call cost $20.70 or more than 90 hours of work. Obviously, the average
worker couldn't fford this, but some of the wealthy could. Thus, the article notes, "In footing the
initially high bill, the rich paid the fixed cost of bringing long-distance service to the masses in
America." Now, the same type of long-distance call costs less than 50 cents, or only two minutes
of work.

The lessons to be learned from this exercise, in the authors' words, are the many benefits of a
free enterprise system for consumers:

"Time is the real currency of life, and the value of our time--what we can acquire for its
exchange--is our most important asset. Like a good steward, America's free enterprise system
has consistently raised the value of our hours and minutes, making most goods and services
affordable for the average worker. The result is a democracy of consumption."

At a time when, in government as well as in private firms, there are few defenders of free
enterprise and capitalism, especially in relation to consumer welfare, it's refreshing to come
across an essay that rightly celebrates instead of castigates the consumer benefits of a market


         Links to Other Websites

Views expressed on this website and linked to this website are for consideration and are not
necessarily the views of Consumer Alert.

Public Policy Groups & Organizations

    Accuracy in Media
    A news media watchdog group that challenges and corrects the biased reporting of the
    American press. was established to provide the nation's farmers and ranchers with the
    most complete source of information on agricultural policy available anywhere. The site's
    objective is to encourage informed debate about policies that affect our nation's agricultural
    producers and agribusinesses.
    Alexis de Tocqueville Institution
    Founded in 1986 to study, promote, and extend the principles of classical liberalism:
    political equality, civil liberty, and economic freedom.
    America's Future Foundation
    Supports limited government, free markets, personal responsibility, moral virture, world
    leadership, and technological progress by educating and mobilizing today's young
    Americans and tomorrow's leaders.
    American Conservative Union
    A conservative lobbying organization whose purpose is to communicate and advance the
    goals and principles of conservatism effectively through one multi-issue, umbrella
    American Council on Science and Health
    A national consumer-education organization that focuses on issues relating to food,
    chemicals, pharmaceuticals, life-style, the environment, and human health.
    American Enterprise Institute
    AEI research aims to preserve and to strengthen the foundations of a free society--limited
    government, competitive private enterprise, vital cultural and political institutions, and
    vigilant defense--through rigorous inquiry, debate and writing.
    American Legislative Exchange Council
    Works to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government,
    federalism, and individual liberty.
    Americans for Tax Reform
    A coalition of taxpayer groups opposing any and all tax increases at the state, federal, and
    local levels.
    Atlas Economic Research Foundation
    Focuses on public policy issues including: new technologies and public policy; judicial
    security (rule of law); environmental regulation; free trade; property rights (including
    intellectual); ethics of economics.
    Beacon Hill Institute for Public Policy Research
    BHI Employs state-of-the-art econometric and statistical methods to produce technically
    sound research. The basic analytical tool is the free-market model.
    Capital Research Center
    An education and research institute established to study critical inssues in philanthropy.
    Cascade Policy Institute
    Cascade is a free market think tank in Oregon focused on state policy.
    Cato Institute
    A public policy organization dedicated to the traditional American principles of individual
    liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.
    Center for Individual Rights
    A nonprofit public interest law firm.
    Center for Security Policy
    Focuses on the national and international debate about all aspects of security policy.
    Citizens Against Government Waste
    CAGW educates Americans about waste, mismanagement, and inefficiency in the federal
    Citizens for a Sound Economy
    National organization that produces analyses that explains in easy-to-understand terms how
    government intervention in the marketplace hinders economic growth and reduces the
    average consumer's standard of living.
    Competitive Enterprise Institute
    CEI is a pro-market public policy group committed to advancing the principles of free
    enterprise and limited government.
    Defenders of Property Rights
    A public interest law foundation dedicated exclusively to helping private property owners
    who have been deprived of their constitutional rights by government actions.
    Ethan Allen Institute
    Helps people in Vermont to better understand the fundamentals of a free society.
    Evergreen Freedom Foundation
    EFF's mission is to advance individual liberty, free enterprise, and responsible
    Frontiers of Freedom
    A political advocacy group dedicated to protecting the consitutional rights of all Americans
    and to restoring consitutional limits on government.
    Fund for American Studies
    Advances the values of freedom, constitutional democracy, and a free-market economy by
    sponsoring educational programs for students who have demonstrated outstanding
    leadership potential.
    Future of Freedom Foundation
    Advance liberty and the libertarian philosophy by presenting an uncompromising moral,
    philosophical, and economic case for individual freedom and limited government.
    George C. Marshall Institute
    The Guest Choice Network
    The Guest Choice Network is dedicated to protecting the public's freedom of choice
    through education, training and public and political outreach.
    Heartland Institute
    Heartland's mission is to be an indespensable source of research and news for journalists
    and the nation's state and federal elected officials.
    The Heritage Foundation
    A research and educational institute who formulates and promotes conservative public
    policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom,
    traditional American values, and strong national defense.
    John Locke Foundation
    A nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute that studies state and local public policy issues
    from a free-market, limited-government perspective.
    Junk Science
    Sponsored by Citizens for the Integrity of Science, this site is dedicated to debunking "junk
    Kansas Public Policy Institute
    Dedicated to the constitutional principles of limited government, open markets, and
    individual freedom and responsibility, serves as an independent source of information
    regarding public policy issues in Kansas.
    Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research
    A nonprofit, nonpartisan educational foundation dedicated to promoting the ideals of
    free-market economics and individual liberty through the conduct of public opinion
    research in Pennsylvania.
    Local Government Council
    A nonprofit organization that promotes free-market, pro-business, and traditional-values
    public policies to local governments.
    Ludwig von Mises Institute
    An educational and scholarly center of the Austrian School of Economics and classical
    Media Research Center
    A media watchdog organization whose goal is to bring political balance to the media.
    National Center for Policy Analysis
    NCPA seeks to discover and encourage private alternatives to public policy problems.
    National Center for Public Policy Research
    Provides the media, policy experts, and legislators with a conservative perspective on
    late-breaking, emerging public policy issues.
    National Citizens Coalition
    NCC promotes free markets, individual freedom and responsibility, limited government,
    and a strong defense.
    National Legal Center for the Public Interest
    A law and education foundation.
    National Taxpayers Union
    A nonprofit, nonpartisan citizens organization that works to lower taxes, less wasteful
    spending, taxpayers rights, and accountable government at all levels.
    Pacific Research Center
    Promotes the principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility.
    Political Economy Research Center
    PERC focuses an environmental and natural resources issues. Its primary mission is to
    provide market solutions to environmental problems.
    Reason Foundation
    A national research and educational organization that explores and promotes the values of
    rationality and freedom.
    Science and Environmental Policy Project
    A nonprofit educational association of scientists concerned with providing a sound
    scientific base for environmental policies.
    60 Plus
    A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization supporting free-enterprise, less government and
    less-taxes approach to seniors issues.
    Small Business Survival Committee
    A small business advocacy organization that acts to advance policies and legislation that
    promote entrepreneurial activity and the growth and survival of the job-creating sector.
    Southeastern Legal Foundation
    A conservative public interest law firm that advocates limited government, individaul
    liberties, private property rights, and the free-enterprise system.
    United Seniors Association
    A conservative seniors organization dedicated to protecting the retirement security of all
    Washington Institute Foundation
    A state-based think tank that believes that free markets--intellectual as well as
    financial--produce superior opportunities and choices for individuals and society.

Science Resources

    Junk Science
    Sponsored by Citizens for the Integrity of Science, this site is dedicated to debunking "junk
    Michael Fumento's Webpage
    Mr. Fumento is an author, journalist, and attorney specializing in science and health issues.
    NCC's Global Warming Page
    The National Consumer Coalition's webpage that was developed to inform consumers
    about the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk

Government Agencies

    Environmental Protection Agency
    Federal Trade Commission
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Media Resources (online newspapers,
magazines, etc...)

    The Washington Post
    The New York Times
    The Washington Times
    Investors' Business Daily
    The Wall Street Journal
    Junk Science
    This page is an excellent source for news and media links and e-mail addresses.

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Articles by

                            Michael Fumento

 Mr. Fumento's weekly self-syndicated column appears in the Washington Times, Chicago
 Tribune, Detroit News, Orange County Register, Omaha World-Tribune, Rocky Mountain
 News, San-Diego Union Tribune, and other newspapers. His articles have also appeared in
 newspapers and magazines around the world, including The American Spectator, The New
 Republic, Reader's Digest, The Washington Monthly, The Bulletin (Australia's version of
 Newsweek), the Sunday Times of London, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal,
 Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times.

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                 1998 Columns
                               1997 Columns
                                             Pre- 1997 Columns


 One Flu Over the Chicken's Nest; The
 Media's Bird-Brained Reaction to the
 "Avian Flu"
 Time to Overthrow the Radonistas
                                  The New England Journal of Medicine Pooh-Poohs
                                  Its Own Obesity Findings --January 14, 1998
 The Deadly Silence Over Breast Cancer
 and Obesity-- March 17, 1998
                                  EPA Must Decide Whether Food Quality Act
                                  Protects Kids or Bugs-- April 28, 1998
 Environmentalist Mythology that Harms
 Kids June 18, 1998
                                  Nation, Overweight. When Will We Take Action?--
                                  June 23, 1998
 Will the Real AIDS Epidemic Please
 Stand Up? August 7, 1998
                             1997 Columns

 Doomsayer Paul Ehrlich Strikes (Out)
 Again--December 22, 1997
                                  The Wages of Food Irradiation Delay Decades of
                                  Death--December 14, 1997
 The Hetero AIDS Beast That Would Not
 Die--September 26, 1997
                                  Gulf Syndrome Kills
 The Government's SIDS Fibs--August
                                  Another Gulf War Syndrome Fad/Theory Fails the
                                  Test--March 19, 1997
 Beware the "Fatlash" Books--February
 13, 1997
                                  Federico Pena: The Teflon Cabinet
                                  Official--February 9, 1997
 False Satisfactions in the Food Lion
 Case--January 28, 1997
                                  Crime Rate Drop Calls for Introspection-and
                                  Caution--January 22, 1997
 The Abortion-Cancer Study to End All
 Studies? Hardly.--January 17, 1997
                                  Cops Pay the Price for New Gun Law--January 9,
 USA Today Collects Kudos for
 Debunking Its Own Myth--January 2,
                           Pre-1997 Columns

 Abortion-Breast Cancer Study
 Threatens Media Sacred Cow--October
                                  ADM's Ethanol Gets by with Help from Its Friends
 AIDS Epidemic Is the Other Bell Curve
                                  Animal Rights Mean Human Wrongs
 Anti-Fake Fat Campaign Uses Fake
 Reasoning--October 30
                                  Anti-Obesity Drug Is Heavy on Hype
 Big Sugar vs. the Alligators and Egrets
                                  Bill Clinton Again Betrays the Vets
 Bill Clinton's Domestic Abuse Cruise
                                  Battered Justice Syndrome
 Breast Cancer Goose Chase Harms
                                  Cancer Charge against Milk Udderly Ridiculous
 The Cancer Institute's Ridiculous Radon
                                  Catch Drunks, Don't Harass Drivers
 Church-Burning Hoax Pays Huge
                                  Clintons Crimefighting Claims are
                                  Criminal-September 25, 1996
 Consumer's Reports' False "Truth about
 Second-hand Smoke"
                                  Crime Study Doesn't Show Racism
 Deceptive AIDS Funding Bill Flunks
 Fairness Test
                                  Delaney Clause Is Nostalgia We Can't Afford
 "Demon Rum" Gets a Blessing From
 Health Authorities
                                  Denver Airport a Tribute to Federico "Kingfish"
 Direct Lending Clunker Is Already
 Running Out of Gas
                                  Disability Act Cripples Small Businesses
 Dr. Death Takes Us Down Slippery
                                  Dole Right (Mostly) on Cigarette Addiction-June 27
 Ebola Virus: Horror or Hype?
                                  Endangered Species Act Deserves Extinction
 The Envycrats' War Against Newt
                                  Environmentalists' Dirty Attack on Clean Water Act
 EPA (Again) Turns a Blind Eye to the
 Radon Data - July 25 1996
                                  EPA vs. Clean Air
 EPA Hides behind Myths of Love Canal
                                  EPA's Own Panel Says It Masquerades Dioxin
                                  Policy as Science
 Farm Subsidies Subsidize Wetlands
                                  Fatheads at FDA Opposing Best Interests of Fat
 FDA Screwing Around With Device
                                  The Formula for Dumber Kids
 Global Warming Hotheads Use
 Anything to Justify Their Theory
                                  GM's Electric Turkey
 The Government's Legal Theft Racket
                                  The Great Black Church-burning Hoax-July 9, 1996
 A letter to the editor of The Village
 Voice about the burnings.
                                  Greens Still Trying to Salvage Their Alar-Stained
                                  Reputation-December 18, 1996
 Gulf War Syndrome: Son of Agent
                                  Gun Control Advocates Shoot Blanks at Study
 HBO'S Anti-Whitewashed Fairy Tales
                                  How the Media and Lawyers Stir Up False Illness
 How the Media Reward Themselves for
                                  Ignored Study Finds Pollution Program Costly and
 Ignored Report Says EPA Wrong on
 Passive Smoking
                                  In the Face of Dictatorship, a Hundred Markets
                                  Bloom in Beijing
 Iraqgate: Once Bush's Ghost, Now the
                                  Kessler's Kids
 The Labor Department's Biased Report
 on Reverse Bias
                                  Latest Scare is a Tempest in a Teapot
 The Long Suppressed Truth about AIDS
                                  The Media's Militia Hate Fest - August 8 1996
 Medical Savings Accounts Miss Real
                                  New Pollution Study Doesn't Merit Rush to
 New Syndrome? Or More Silliness?-15
 May 1996
                                  New York Times Blows Hot Air over Global
 Nightline Shoots Fear Scud at Gulf Vets
                                  NutraSweet Fuss Amounts to Sweet
                                  Nothings--November 27, 1996
 Old Law Continues to Be a Highway
                                  OWL's Not So Wise Report on Inequities of Social
 Our Stolen Future?Not Even Misplaced.
                                  Partial-Birth Abortions Are a Complete Horror
 Paper Scares Parents for Politics and
 Profit-July 18 1996
                                  Pena Leaves Town with Head High--and Bloody
                                  Hands-November 13, 1996
 Peter Jennings' Drug Problem-October
 2, 1996
                                  Population Action Tells a Fish Story about Fish
 Procter & Gamble's Non-fat Fat:
 Neither Satan Nor (Sigh) Savior
                                  Profiting from Blasting Drug Company Profits
 Rachel's Folly: The End of Chlorine
 (with Michelle Malkin)
                                  Racial Politics Make Strange Enemies
 Radon's Real Threat is to the EPA
                                  Rights Commission Blows Smoke Over Church
                                  Arsons--October 14, 1996
 Sacramento Study Pollutes Truth over
 Auto Emissions
                                  Scare Tactics Pose Real Danger to Children's
 "Seven Angels" Should Remind Us of
 Our Priorities
                                  Silicone Implant Controversy Puts Lawyers on Trial
 Speed Limit Rhetoric Plays Fast and
 Loose with Facts
                                  The Strangling Vines of Regulation
 Time to Make Americorps a Corpse
                                  Time to Retire the Surgeon General's Uniform
 Will the U.S. Repeat Peru's Deadly
 Chlorine Folly?
                                  What the Dutch Can Teach Us about Euthanasia
 Who's Stirring up Breast Cancer Fear?
                                  (W.R.) Grace Under Fire--For All the Wrong
 A graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, Michael Fumento is a former AIDS
 analyst and attorney for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He has been a legal writer for
 the Washington Times, editorial writer for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, and was the
 first "National Issues" reporter for Investor's Business Daily. Mr. Fumento was the 1994
 Warren T. Brookes Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the Competitive Enterprise
 Institute in Washington, D.C., the 1995-96 Science and Journalism Fellow at Consumer Alert
 in Washington, D.C. and the science correspondent for Reason Magazine. Mr. Fumento is a
 former Resident Fellow at The American Enterprise Institute.

 Mr. Fumento has lectured on science and health issues throughout the country and in Europe,
 Hong Kong, and China. He has authored two books, The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS (1990,
 revised 1993) and Science Under Siege: Balancing Technology and the Environment
 (1993). Science Under Siege has received two awards, including the American Council on
 Science and Health's "Distinguished Science Journalist of 1993" award.

 Mr. Fumento can be reached via email at

 For more by Mr. Fumento contact

 Consumer Alert home page.

 Mr. Fumento's articles are maintained on the World Wide Web by Consumer Alert to keep its
 members and the public informed. Views expressed here are not necessarily the views of
 Consumer Alert. This index originally compiled by Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

 Comments? Questions? Consumer Alert