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  • 25. 7 Tips for Assessing Science

    23:41
    I get asked now and then if I have tips to help people spot poorly done science, bad science, or what I prefer to call pseudoscience. Here are 7 tips! If you want to see the infographic, visit our Critical Science website (https://critscipod.com/episode-25-7-tips-for-assessing-science/).

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  • 24. Benzoyl Peroxide, Benzene, and You

    21:06
    SummaryIn this episode, Dr. Lyle discusses benzoyl peroxide and the recent concerns raised by Valashur about the presence of benzene in benzoyl peroxide products. He explains that Valashur has a history of testing products for impurities and notifying the FDA. However, the benzene was only found in products that were exposed to high heat for extended periods, which is not how they are supposed to be stored. Dr. Lyle emphasizes that one molecule of benzene is not toxic and that there are thresholds for toxicity. He also highlights the importance of educating the public about the science and not relying on activist talking points.TakeawaysBenzene was found in benzoyl peroxide products that were exposed to high heat for extended periods, which is not how they are supposed to be stored.One molecule of benzene is not toxic, and there are thresholds for toxicity.It is important to educate the public about the science and not rely on activist talking points.Follow the manufacturer's instructions for storing and using benzoyl peroxide products.Chapters00:00 Introduction to benzoyl peroxide00:30 Valashur's testing and FDA involvement01:24 Benzene presence in benzoyl peroxide03:23 No safe level of benzene exposure04:06 Toxicity of one molecule of benzene05:05 Thresholds for toxicity06:04 Long history of benzoyl peroxide use06:29 Detection of impurities over time07:56 Educating the public about thresholds08:25 Activist talking points09:23 DNA repair mechanisms10:24 Xeroderma pigmentosa and DNA damage11:24 Homeostasis and cell signaling12:22 Dose-response curves13:20 Oncotic necrosis and cell death14:48 Relevance of Valashur's study19:00 Following manufacturer's instructions19:53 Take-home messagesReferences:https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/EHP13984
  • 23. Drug Tests Don't Mean What You Think -- Methamphetamine Edition

    27:58
    SummaryIn this episode of the Critical Science podcast, Dr. Lyle Burgoon discusses the topic of drug testing, with a focus on methamphetamine testing. He explains the different forms of methamphetamine and how they affect the brain. Dr. Burgoon highlights the presence of levomethamphetamine in over-the-counter products and the potential for false positive methamphetamine tests. He emphasizes the importance of accurately listing all medications, including over-the-counter drugs, when undergoing drug testing. Dr. Burgoon also explores the probability of drug use based on positive test results and the challenges of interpreting drug tests. He concludes by emphasizing the need for due diligence and additional confirmatory tests in the drug testing process.TakeawaysMethamphetamine has two forms: levo and dextro, with only the dextro form having psychoactive effects on the brain.Over-the-counter products containing levomethamphetamine can lead to false positive methamphetamine tests.Positive drug tests do not necessarily indicate drug abuse, as there is a high probability of non-users testing positive.Confirmatory tests, such as enantiomer-specific tests, are necessary to accurately determine the presence of methamphetamine.Chapters00:00 Introduction to Drug Testing00:28 Different Forms of Methamphetamine01:53 How Methamphetamine Affects the Brain03:10 Levomethamphetamine in Over-the-Counter Products04:07 Ramifications of Positive Methamphetamine Tests05:59 Forgetting to List Over-the-Counter Drugs06:26 Drug Testing in Various Settings07:24 Probability of Drug Use Based on Positive Test08:20 Bayes' Rule and Prevalence of Drug Users09:46 Probability of Positive Test for Non-Users12:37 Performance Characteristics of Drug Tests13:34 Low Probability of Drug Use Given Positive Test16:37 High Probability of Non-Users Testing Positive18:10 Challenges of Drug Testing and Confirmatory Tests20:27 Enantiomer Specific Test for Methamphetamine23:21 Additional Steps in Drug Testing Process25:31 Importance of Due Diligence in Drug Testing26:01 Positive Test Does Not Indicate Drug Abuse26:58 Orthogonal Assay for More Accurate Results27:25 Conclusion and Closing Remarks
  • 22. The American Academy of Pediatrics Gets Glyphosate Wrong

    19:30
    Happy New Year! New Year, New You, right? Well, it wasn't quite in the new year, but the American Academy of Pediatrics may have re-made themselves into a Merchant of Fear. In December 2023, the AAP released a statement that although GMOs themselves are fine, glyphosate (which is commonly associated with GMO crops) is not okay for children. In fact, the AAP says that glyphosate "Recent studies show that glyphosate is present in many foods, especially ultra-processed foods (more information, below). It also shows up in 80% of urine samples taken from people in the U.S.—including kids as young as 6 years. This suggests that most children and adults are consuming foods that may increase their chances of developing cancer."So this creates a confusing dynamic: do I trust the US EPA and the US FDA, or do I trust the AAP? The US Government and the AAP can't both be right. The US Government says that glyphosate does not cause cancer. Yet the AAP says glyphosate may increase the chances of children developing cancer. Who's right here?The science is clear -- the US Government is right, and the AAP is pushing a chemophobic agenda. Find out more in today's podcast!
  • 21. Alcohol, Family Law, and a Biomarker Called PETH

    24:40
    Thanks for your patience while I was away on travel. I spent a couple of weeks in Korea presenting at 2 conferences, including 1 Keynote Address. And somehow one of my kids speaks better Korean than me!?! (It's not hard to speak better Korean than me). Anywho, big few weeks in the toxicology world. The European Commission granted another 10 year approval to glyphosate! I did not have that on my bingo card! The Biden-Harris Administration is looking to replace all of the lead service lines -- that's simply fantastic news! Now, on to more our topic of the day -- phosphatidylethanol or PETH (see why we just call it PETH; I trip over that word and I have a biochemistry background, which means I am trained to say big words like that). Anywho, today's topic is this: PETH and its use in Family Law cases. I've seen it mostly when a parent, in a co-parenting situation, has temporary custody of a child and is not allowed to drink in the presence of the child. I'm going to talk today about why PETH is not the right biomarker to use in these cases.And I want to give a shout-out to the Toxicology Education Foundation (TEF; toxedfoundation.org). Fully disclosure: I'm on the Board and I am the Secretary. Part of the TEF's mission is to educate the public about toxicology in our daily lives. We want to raise the level of scientific literacy in our country. But we can't do it without your help. Please consider donating to TEF -- small dollar donations are always welcome.
  • 20. California, Fear, and Red Dye 3

    22:00
    Well, California has gone full chemophobic on us. Governor Newsom signed an incredibly anti-science bill into law. They have decided that banning chemicals that will not cause cancer at human relevant concentrations in food is the way to go. This is the first step towards building an anti-science, chemophobic society. But I think the thing that irritates me most is that politicians believe they know more about food safety and science than toxicologists.
  • 19. Center for Food Safety Misinformation and BS

    16:30
    You know, this is all my opinion, and by now you know, I have a lot of opinions. In this episode, I want to talk about one of the Merchants of Fear, the Center for Food Safety, and some of the latest misinformation and bullshit they're spreading.The Center for Food Safety is scaring the public again by insinuating that the US EPA isn't protecting the American public. I'm still extremely annoyed by this. So, go read the CFS press release where they spread their bs and misinformation. And you can see the US EPA's well-reasoned, and very, extremely thorough response to the CFS petition. And if you want to follow along in the US Code of Federal Regulations where EPA explicitly states what toxicity tests require end-use product testing.Why would CFS put out this nonsense when it's so easy to fact-check? I don't know for sure, but maybe it's because they believe their funders implicitly trust the bs and misinformation they spread.