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CA Prop 37: Tobacco/DDT Advocate Henry Miller and the Dubious Scientific Credibility of Labeling Opponents

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Message Zack Kaldveer

By Zack Kaldveer, Yes on Proposition 37 Campaign

A campaign bankrolled by financially motivated pesticide and junk food companies is expected to lie -- a lot. It's what they always do when confronted by inconvenient facts and consumers seeking to protect their rights -- like the Right to Know what's in the food we eat and feed our families.

Prop 37 opponents have run one of the most deceptive misinformation campaigns in recent history -- a $35 million deluge of one demonstrable lie after another to try and defeat a common sense measure that most Californians support .    

Today, the No on 37 campaign's already tattered credibility was dealt yet another big blow with news that its "top scientist" is nothing more than a corporate shill willing to misrepresent himself and the University for which he works.

Meet Henry Miller -- a spokesperson the No on 37 campaign has been all too eager to promote as an arbiter of good science and someone we can trust with our families health. Miller has been featured in No on 37 television ads, written outrageously deceptive opinion editorials, and has presented himself as an "unbiased" scientific expert.

And now he's been caught misrepresenting Stanford University -- forcing the No on 37 Campaign to pull and reshoot a statewide television ad identifying Miller as "Dr. Henry Miller, MD, Stanford University," without disclosing his affiliation with the Hoover Institute, a right-wing think tank at the University. In other words, he works ON the Stanford campus as a corporate propagandist, but ISN'T a Professor at Stanford University.

The ad was pulled after the Yes on 37 campaign attorney sent a letter to Stanford pointing out that the university's affiliation was being used in a political advertising campaign, in violation of university policy. Stanford also demanded that the campaign remove the campus from the ad's background.

But this isn't the most disturbing aspect of Miller's sordid career . Before we trust anything he has to say about something as fundamental as our health, we'd do well to consider his two decades of work dedicated to undermining it:

"     Miller shilled for Big Tobacco , where he helped Phillip Morris discredit the links between tobacco products, and cancer and heart disease;
"     Miller advocates for the reintroduction of the toxic pesticide DDT which was banned in the United States and has been linked to pre-term birth and fertility impairment in women;
"     Miller aided Exxon's  efforts to undercut the reality of climate change;
"     Miller attacked the US Food and Drug Administration's  efforts to ensure proper vetting and testing of new drugs safety while urging it outsource more of its functions to private industries,
"     And Miller claimed Japanese exposed to radiation from Fukushima "could actually have benefited" from it.

Miller isn't the only dubious character the No On 37 stable , but his  one man "tour of lies" about Prop 37 includes some especially notable whoppers. He often repeats one claim that includes three lies in a single sentence, stating "The World Health Organization, American Medical Association, National Academy of Sciences and other respected medical and health organizations all conclude that genetically engineered foods are safe."        

The only problem is not one of these organizations has come to such a conclusion:

"     A National Academy of Sciences report concluded that products of genetic engineering technology "carry the potential for introducing unintended compositional changes that may have adverse effects on human health."
"     The American Medical Association has adopted a position calling for mandatory safety assessments of genetically engineered foods.
"     And the World Health Organization / United Nations food standards group, Codex Alimentarius, which sets the global on food policy issues, states that mandatory safety studies should be required -- a standard the US fails to meet.

In fact, within the past few weeks alone, independent peer reviewed studies have raised even more troubling questions about the impact of GMOs on our environment , and potential risks to our health .

Ultimately, to understand the No On 37 campaign's credibility problems, just follow the money: the six largest pesticide corporations in the world have contributed nearly $20 million of its $35 million war chest. The two largest donors - Monsanto ($7.2 million) and Dupont ($4.9 million) - told us Agent Orange and DDT were safe . Now they've telling us we don't deserve to know what's in our food. And the kicker is that while Monsanto spends $ millions to deny our right to know in California, it supported labeling in Europe.

So who should we trust?

On the Yes side stands millions of California consumers and more than 2,000 leading consumer, health, women's, faith-based, labor and other groups; 50 countries that already require GMO labeling; and a growing stack of peer-reviewed research linking genetically engineered foods to health and environmental problems.  

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Zack Kaldveer is the Assistant Media Director for the Organic Consumers Association. Zack served as the Assistant Media Director for California's Prop 37 campaign (labeling of genetically modified foods) and was the former Communications Director (more...)
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