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Were Aerosol Spray Cans Really a Threat?

January 19, 2018

Big Picture News, Informed Analysis


SPOTLIGHT: There’s a long history of scientists spreading premature alarm in the media.

BIG PICTURE: Bernie Lewin’s exhaustively researched book, Searching for the Catastrophe Signal, describes how the US campaign against spray can CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) began.

In September 1974, a Harvard atmospheric scientist told a New York Times journalist that hairspray and other aerosol products were damaging the Earth’s ozone layer. The front page news story explained that ozone protects the planet “from lethal ultraviolet radiation.”

Readers were only advised in paragraphs 34 and 35 that no one had yet taken “a hard look at the Harvard calculations” since the research was still in the process of being submitted to a scientific journal.

By the time it was officially published four months later, its robustness was beside the point. An anti-CFC movement was already in full swing. Television newscaster Walter Cronkite and others had hyped the findings and a frenzy…

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