George Mason University’s Statistical Assessment Service (STATS), a non-profit, non-partisan scientific organization that reports on scientific and statistical errors made by the media, says a Sept. 27 Chronicle article on cosmetics was based on incorrect information posted on an Internet site.

Here is the STATS article about the Chronicle report. What we found most interesting was the “editor’s note” on the STATS article:

    “STATS asked the San Francisco Chronicle for comment on this article. We spoke in some detail to the Home and Gardens features editor Lynette Evans, who then refused to go on the record; Evans directed us to the Chronicle’s managing editor Robert Rosenthal for comment; Rosenthal said he was passing the matter on to Meredith White, deputy managing editor. White did not respond.

    “Normally, we investigate what a news organization writes and not the editorial reasoning behind the story; but we were surprised by the appearance of such a one-sided piece especially in light of the draft toxicological review published this summer by the Environmental Protection Agency, which lowers the risk on DBP, one of the chemicals cited as dangerous in the Chronicle story.” The note was signed by Trevor Butterworth, editor of STATS’ journal.

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