Kylar - Backlash

Backlash

Apple growers in Washington filed a libel suit against CBS, NRDC and Fenton Communications, claiming the scare cost them $100 million. The suit was dismissed in 1994.

While Alar has been verified as a human carcinogen, the amount necessary for it to be dangerous may well be extremely high. The lab tests that prompted the scare required an amount of Alar equal to over 5,000 gallons (20,000 L) of apple juice per day. Consumers Union ran its own studies and estimated the human lifetime cancer risk to be 5 per million, as compared to the previously-reported figure of 50 cases per million. Generally, EPA considers lifetime cancer risks in excess of 1 per million to be cause for action.

Elizabeth Whelan and her organization, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), which had received $25,000 from Alar's manufacturer, worked to establish a narrative of the Alar episode as a scare. The ACSH claimed that Alar and its breakdown product UDMH had not been shown to be carcinogenic. Whelan's campaign was so effective that today, "Alar scare" is shorthand among news media and food industry professionals for an irrational, emotional public scare based on propaganda rather than facts. There remains disagreement about the appropriateness of the response to Alar, but daminozide is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the EPA and is listed as a known carcinogen under California's Prop 65, while its breakdown product UDMH is listed as Prop 65 carcinogen and IARC classifies it as "possible" carcinogen and EPA as a "probable" carcinogen.

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