Our brain trust at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the best American medical school, have managed to condemn the last form of intimacy: kissing. Damned be those ultrasensitive analytical methods and data mining methods that condemn everything from french fries (Chemical & Engineering News) to Ex-Lax.
Of course, the statistical strength of these studies is, in general, beyond reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, the question of whether these measures will effect real and measurable benefits in the longevity and the long-term well-being of the general populace persists. Are the correlations between diseases and these ingredients (like phenolphthalein, and acrylamide) real or chimerical? Will the measured benefits gained from their banishment be real or coincidental?
Statistics is an awfully powerful branch of knowledge, and its immeasurable benefits to everything from clinical medicine to inventory management and marketing are not to be denied, but it stands to reason whether the banning of ingredients that have been in consistent use during a century that saw unprecedented gains in longevity and well-being in the industrialized world will have any measurable long-term effects. One can only hope that the efforts in which we are investing heavily will tell, in due time.