June 1, 2018
“Big Tobacco” is pouring millions into a campaign to maintain their ability to keep selling harmful products that target children. At least, that’s the narrative most news outlets have sold about Proposition E, a measure on the city’s June 5th ballot, which would ban the sale of flavors, including menthol, for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. The David and Goliath story is compelling, but don’t be fooled. The other side, comprised of hundreds of anti-tobacco activists is just—if not more—powerful than big tobacco companies.
May 3, 2018
Within days, chain restaurants and grocery stores nationwide will have to comply with a high-cost, low-value Obamacare menu labeling mandate. Failure to comply with the law could land shop owners in prison for a year with a fine of up to $100,000 and a year in prison.
May 2, 2018
California joined by 16 states and the District of Columbia yesterday petitioned the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to stop Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt from revising his predecessor’s greenhouse gas emission standards for new cars sold in 2022-2025. The coalition’s press release claims their “lawsuit is based on the fact that the EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously, failed to follow its own regulations, and violated the Clean Air Act.”
April 24, 2018
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” could be the motto of one of the key research programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency known as the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). EPA staff have been working for nearly a decade to improve the scientific process of this program, but have yet to get it right.
March 23, 2018
The idea of genome editing is no longer a theoretical concept studied only within the confines of labs and scientific research institutions. In August 2017, scientists reportedly managed to successfully use the genome editing technique to correct a disease-causing mutation in viable human embryos. This is just one of the many applications of the technique scientists want to use to alter, and ultimately prevent, damaging mutations in plants, animals, and humans.
January 26, 2018
If you have ever visited California, you have probably encountered the warning labels that appear on everything from seaweed to soft drinks, informing you that they contain “dangerous” ingredients that might cause cancer or birth defects.
January 12, 2018
A panel of government experts gets together and decides what is healthy to eat and what isn’t. What could possibly go wrong?
Freethink Media’s new video on the history of the Food Pyramid will make for surprising viewing for anyone who assumes official health and nutrition advice should be taken at face value. Starting in the late 1980s, the office of the U.S. Surgeon General took the lead in waging the federal government’s war on dietary fat. This led to years of recommendations and public information campaigns that, among...
January 5, 2018
Our friends at the Federalist Society have a great new short film out about the history of alcohol regulation, from the last days of Prohibition to the new profusion of craft distilleries in recent years.
The producers of American Spirit made the always-smart decision to include my colleague Angela Logomasini among the experts they interviewed. Angela has written for many years about consumer health and chemical risk, and has been fighting for smarter regulation of everything from agricultural pesticides...
October 24, 2017
Thanks to the education efforts of public health activists, today few Americans are now unaware of the dangers of smoking. As a result, cigarette use dropped sharply throughout the 1980s and 1990s. But despite taxes, limitations on where tobacco users can smoke, and other public policies aimed at making the habit more expensive and difficult to engage in, a stubborn portion of adults continues to smoke and nearly half a million of them still die each year from smoking-related illnesses.
Thankfully, a new generation of devices promises to provide both these smokers who have trouble quitting and public health professionals with what they want: a safe and satisfying way to consume nicotine that drastically reduces the risks associated with smoking. Why, then, are states like New York trying...
July 19, 2017
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt took the right stand in favor of sound science last March when he denied an activist petition to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos. At the time, he explained:
By reversing the previous Administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making—rather than predetermined results.
But this battle isn’t over; the activists are continuing their irrational anti-pesticide crusade.
Most recently, the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), who filed the original petition in 2007,...