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  • Rachel Carson Lied, Millions Died

    September 22, 2006 9:51 AM

    We were all happy to see the World Health Organization

    finally take steps to embrace wider anti-malarial

    deployment of DDT
    , but our friend Steve Milloy reminds us it's hardly a moment to

    break out the champagne
    :


    Overlooked in all the hoopla over the announcement,

    however, is the terrible toll in human lives (tens of millions dead — mostly

    pregnant women and children under the age of 5), illness (billions sickened)

    and poverty (more than $1 trillion dollars in lost GDP in sub-Saharan Africa alone) caused by the tragic, decades-long ban.


    Much of this human catastrophe was preventable, so why

    did it happen? Who is responsible? Should the individuals and activist groups

    who caused the DDT ban be held accountable in some way?


    Yes, Steve, they

    should
    .


  • Lockyer: SUVs Don't Kill People, Car Companies Kill People

    September 21, 2006 10:37 AM

    California's attorney

    general has sued carmakers DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Ford and

    subsidiaries of Honda, Nissan and Toyota for global

    warming impacts
    on the state. Interesting that the state isn't trying to

    hold individual car owners — the ones who actually drive and produce the

    emissions at issue — liable for the alleged damage.


    This suit seems rather reminiscent of the lawsuits first filed

    by U.S. cities against gun

    manufacturers
    in the late 1990s. Critics at the time pointed out, of

    course, that it's the people who actually shoot the guns who should be held

    liable for any damage caused by them. Congress was sufficiently alarmed by the

    prospects, however, to pass the Protection

    of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act
    , shielding firearms manufacturers from such

    extended liability claims. Perhaps the House and Senate should put their heads together

    on a Freedom to Traffic in Automobiles Act.


  • DDT to the Rescue

    September 18, 2006 10:27 AM

    In an extraordinarily good development, the World Health Organization has officially called for greater use of DDT around the world in order to combat malaria, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives. CEI people and our friends have written widely on the issue of DDT and malaria over the past several years, and it's a relief to finally see some movement in the right direction. It's never too late to exorcise the ghost of Rachel Carson from international health policy.


  • A typology for risk assessment?

    September 14, 2006 10:03 AM

    New research

    may help to explain why the term “risk” shouldn't automatically be applied to

    new technologies, such as biotechnology. According to a University of Sussex research study, new technologies

    should be evaluated on a continuum of categories — including risk, uncertainty,

    ambiguity, and ignorance.


    The article in Food Navigator about the new study also

    quotes extensively from a

    speech
    I gave this summer to the Institute of Food Technologists attacking

    the use of the precautionary principle applied to biotechnology.


    Greg Conko has written extensively on this topic here and here and elsewhere,

    as has Fred Smith here and here

    and lots of other

    places
    .


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