Chemophobia and the Precautionary Principle

"Prescribing Caution with Precautionary Principle," By Gil Ross. Not long ago, Tracey Brown, managing director Sense About Science , a British advocacy group that shares many interests with us here at the American Council, wrote an essay in The Guardian entitled “The Precautionary Principle is a blunt instrument.” To many in the chemophobic, anti-technology camp, the precautionary principle (PP) is akin to the 11th Commandment: Thou shalt make no scientific or industrial progress without first … [Read more...]

EU’s Nonsensical Precautionary Regulations

"The Junk Science Threat to Free Trade," By Julie Girling. French red lines on agriculture and America's desire to have financial regulation be treated outside the current trade negotiations dominate the headlines about the proposed trans-Atlantic free-trade zone. But the biggest threat to the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership may well be the EU's expanding embrace of "precautionary" regulation—often in contradiction to established norms of science and risk management. ... … [Read more...]

Europe’s Precautionary Junk Science

"Junk Science Rules in the EU, says Parliamentarian," by American Council on Science and Health. A Wall Street Journal Op-ed by a member of the EU Parliament decries the direction being taken by science there: it’s back to the dark ages as fear trumps evidence. In a recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, MEP Julie Girling, a Brit on the Parliament’s Environment (and Agriculture) committees, issues a warning about the direction EU chemical food regulation is headed: smack-dab into a … [Read more...]

Scientists Say Chemical Policy Guided by Junk Science

"Politics, Environmentalism Beating Out Science In Regulating Risk Say Experts," by Trevor Butterworth. A survey of three professional societies, each focused on risk assessment, reveals that science is being pushed aside by politics and environmental advocacy when it comes to protecting the public from the risks of chemicals. When asked to weigh the most important factor that should go into managing risk, the scientists overwhelmingly said science (98 percent). But when asked to weigh the … [Read more...]

Unreasonable Precaution

"The Precautionary Principle is a Blunt Instrument, a 90s Throwback Out of Place in an Era of 'Smart Solutions' and Big Data," by Tracey Brown. A world of over seven billion people faces some pretty complex questions about the trade-offs involved in producing food, using resources, reducing disease and achieving the societies and environments in which we want to live. There's a collision between short-term and long-term outcomes, narrow interests and broader ones, and between problems and … [Read more...]

Precautionary Politics Attack Plastics, Medical Devices

"European Descent into Dark Age Ignorance Continues Apace," by American Council on Science and Health. When the EU adopted the anti-science “precautionary principle” as its guiding paradigm a decade or more ago, we don’t think anyone (except perhaps its anti-progress advocates) had any idea how low the regulatory process would stoop in service of its ideology. This misguided concept asserts that any process or substance which has not been “proven safe” should be restricted or banned out of an … [Read more...]

Greens Ready to Regulate — As Always

"Environmental Working Group at it Again," by American Council on Science and Health. The Environmental Working Group is wasting no time in trying to influence policy now that the election is over. The group issued a statement Wednesday saying it “look[s] forward to working with the administration to advocate more effective regulation of oil and shale gas drilling” and overhauling the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed the Safe … [Read more...]

Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s TSCA Reform Legislation

"Politics trumps science as Senators pass Safe Chemical Act — latest chemical 'reform,'" By Lana Spivak On an otherwise pleasant morning, ACSH staffers’ blood began to boil after reading the latest anti-chemical screed in the Huffington Post, which included such fear-mongering claims as this: “Ninety-nine percent of pregnant American women carry multiple manmade chemicals in their bodies, sharing that concoction through the umbilical cord.” The latest assault on chemicals preceded yesterday’s … [Read more...]

Dangerous Over-Caution at CPSC

"CPSC Commissioner Challenges Precautionary Principle," by Angela Logomasini. Most of the time regulators focus on issuing rules, pushing paper, and often making business more difficult than necessary. But every once and a while, good leaders emerge and offer sage advice — although their ability to change things may be limited. Nancy Nord, current Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is one of the bright lights. Her blog called Conversations with Consumers offers many … [Read more...]

Chemicals and Health in Perspective

Constant media news stories and alleged dangers associated with chemicals along with and activist hype has blurred reality about the importance of chemicals in human progress. Worldwide, the average human life span has increased from about 30 years at the beginning of the 20th century to more than 60 years today, and it continues to rise.(1) In the United States, life expectancy in 1900 was just 47 years, but today it has reached nearly 78 years according to one estimate (see chart). The freedom … [Read more...]

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