Profile: Melinda Wenner Moyer
Melinda Wenner Moyer writes about science, health and food for Scientific American, Nature Medicine, Slate, Popular Science, Gilt Taste, Bon Appetit, Glamour and Redbook. She lives in Brooklyn and tweets as @Lindy2350.
NoteStreams By Melinda Wenner Moyer
In all honesty, I am more excited about this piece than I am about most of my others, because it is an article that I know could really and truly help people. If some of the suggestions end up reducing a family’s exposures to toxic chemicals, then I am one happy lady.
While reporting the piece, I learned something that really shocked me: so-called “green” or “natural” household cleaners aren’t any less toxic than regular ones—and in fact, are sometimes more so. You really need to know this stuff.
Genetics isn’t simple, my friends—and neither is cancer, for that matter. Despite decades upon decades of research, scientists still don’t know all of the ways in which cancer can be sparked. So while it's accepted that cell phone radiation isn't powerful enough to cause cancer, such radiation could have effects we don't yet understand.
A popular piece in the New York Times was an Op-Ed published by Jennifer Ackerman, “How Not to Fight Colds.” It’s an interesting piece and points out something that a lot of people probably don’t know—it’s the immune system, not the virus itself that causes the cold’s nasty symptoms. But in my opinion, Ackerman takes her assertions a little too far, in the process confusing multiple aspects of the immune response.
Oh, em, gee: there’s a new health drink in town, and everybody’s drinking it. Alicia Silverstone, Matt Dillon—I’ve even heard Madonna can’t live without it. It’s called Yerba maté, and it’s this totally amazing tea drink that, like, comes from South America or something. It doesn’t taste so great, but it’s supposed to cure cancer and stuff. Seriously!
OK—before you jump on the celebrity bandwagon, consider this: Not only is there no good evidence that Yerba maté cures cancer, there’s some evidence that it might actually cause it, as I explained briefly in Glamour’s July issue.
One thing I’m very concerned about these days is bisphenol A, or BPA, the chemical that has become famous for turning up uninvited in plastics, tinned food cans, shopping receipts, and—surprise!—us. A whopping 95 percent of Americans have traces of this plastic building block in their bodies, according to the CDC in Atlanta.
Here are five industry arguments that just don’t stand up to scrutiny—for reasons, I’m sure, they would prefer you didn’t know.
I have a love/hate relationship with spring, thanks to the aggravating bouts of hay fever that transform me into a faucet for pretty much the entire season. So I’ll admit I was a little skeptical when my editor at Scientific American asked me last week if I wanted to write about a new paper coming out in Nature suggesting that allergies may actually be a good thing. But always curious, I said sure.
As someone with both personal and career interest in food safety and nutrition, I’m frequently shocked by how little I know. I was recently surprised to read that the “hormone-free” poultry label is basically just a marketing gimmick: the USDA does not allow poultry manufacturers to feed their chickens hormones, so every chicken on the market is hormone-free. What else was I missing?!