Mike Adams & Natural News & Biosolids
The Health Ranger (Mike Adams) and “Natural News” have joined other conspiracy theorists in attacking the land application of biosolids. Adams' websites (e.g. "biosludge.news") are promoting a new movie, “Biosludged: The Greatest Environment Crime You’ve Never Known," which is due to be released online this year. It almost seems like a spoof, something so ludicrous that it can be ignored. But background on Mr. Adams and his many questionable commercial exploits reveals someone who unfortunately has considerable social media influence, has rankled many professional scientists, and disrupted important quality research programs. It is a sign of the times that "fake news" is entering the fringe debates about biosolids recycling.
A few facts give a sense of Adams’ influence:
- As noted in a Grist blog in 2014, “Natural News” had 1.2 million followers on Facebook. The number was reported to be up to 1.5 million in 2015, according to another science skeptic blog. “This number far surpasses that of The Atlantic, and falls just short of the Los Angeles Times.” Now it’s over 2 million.
- Adams runs many websites, all in the same pseudo-science, conspiracy-laden, convincing-on-the-surface style: http://www.naturalnews.com/, http://epawatch.org/, http://epa.news/, http://www.consumerwellness.org/Mission.html, http://www.healthranger.com/, http://www.counterthink.com/, http://foodrising.org/About.html, https://www.nutritionrescue.com/, http://v1.arialsoftware.com/about.htm, and http://webseed.com/ (to name a few).
Adams excels in using the internet to sell questionable products and advance his alternative ideas, using advanced media and communications techniques combined with technical savvy. ("Natural News" was apparently recently cut out of search returns for a few days by Google because of its use of sneaky forwarding device designed to serve Adams' commercial interests.)
In this turbulent political time, he showed up immediately after last November's election as an ardent supporter of President Trump, according to this Washington Post article.
Most recently, in his "biosludged" website and upcoming video, Adams is adding his voice to the claims of David Lewis, PhD, the former U. S. EPA microbiologist who has criticized biosolids use for many years. Dr. Lewis has published a scant handful of papers based on no actual primary research on the topic and has lost several legal cases, in large part because of the lack of evidence to support his anti-biosolids hypotheses. (See past NEBRA news about Dr. Lewis's anti-vaccine work and conspiracy book.) And new this week, an Adams website, "EPA News," recounts Dr. Lewis's worn-out arguments.
There are numerous critiques of Mike Adams and his anti-science quackery work, including this biography and compilation from the Genetic Literacy Project (an offshoot of the non-profit Science Literacy Project). Other critiques appear in Forbes and Discover.