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OpenMarket: Chemical Risk

  • Don't Fear DEET-Based Insect Repellents

    August 3, 2016

    With the Zika virus now reportedly being transmitted by mosquitos here in the United States, consumers—expecting moms, kids, and everyone else—should be sure to use insect repellents when they go outside. Arguably, the...
  • Dear RegBlog: Special Interests Can Capture Agencies, Too

    July 8, 2016

    Regulatory capture occurs when special interests co-opt the power of the government in order to advance their own interests at the expense of the public as a whole. Over at RegBlog, there is a 16 part series on regulatory capture, but almost all the contributors make the same mistake of assuming that industry is the only threat. In fact, ideological special interests...
  • Obama Administration Fosters Zika through Red Tape

    June 9, 2016

    Zika’s spread is being aided by red tape the Obama administration left unchanged, even as it illegally diverted money needed to fight Zika to the UN’s Green Climate Fund.


  • One Enlightened Statesman: Sen. Rand Paul Pauses TSCA Bill

    May 31, 2016

    Three cheers to Senator Rand Paul for actually caring enough to read legislation before voting on its passage. Last week, he held up legislation that will vastly expand the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate chemicals. As I pointed out recently, this legislation to amend the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has been moving along without proper consideration from most members of Congress. In fact, rather than appoint a formal conference committee composed of legislators from both House and Senate, it appears that lawmakers...

  • TSCA "Reform": Consensus May Again Prove Toxic

    April 25, 2016

    According to a story in Bloomberg BNA, a final vote on legislation to reform the nation’s chemical law—the Toxic Substances Control Act—may be imminent. The story quotes Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who explained at a congressional hearing the other day, “It looks like now we’re [the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee] just a matter of hopefully hours away of having an agreement with the House.”

    The legislation generally has broad support from many well-meaning members of Congress. In fact, it’s hard to find anyone who criticizes the reform (other than myself). With time growing short, I guess this may be one of the last times I can issue ...

  • The Devil, the Details, and "Consensus" for "TSCA Modernization"

    April 20, 2016

    For some reason, there’s always near “consensus” when Congress passes environmental laws that later become controversial (for data, see my study from 2008 on this topic). There are probably two key reasons for this. First, no member wants to appear “anti-environmental” by voting against “green” legislation; and second, few members are paying much attention to the details.

    And that’s what appears to be happening with the latest attempt to reform the nation’s chemical law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). It seems like everyone is on board with the idea that the law needs “modernizing,” including both parties in the House of Representatives and Senate,...

  • Trust in Government: A Bad Strategy for the Chemical Industry

    April 1, 2016

    There is a reason why people laugh when you say: “Trust me, I come from the government.” Governments are not particularly trustworthy because bureaucracies are not particularly efficient, and when they are efficient, there’s sometimes more reason to fear than trust.

    Yet for the past several years, the chemical industry has been trusting the idea that giving more power to feds will save them from a growing patchwork of nonsensical state regulations. Pardon me for being skeptical.

    To that end, the chemical industry is pushing legislation (S. 697 and H.R. 2576) to reform the federal Toxic...

  • Shady Marketing Claims for "Green" Cleaning Products

    March 30, 2016

    Serena Ng of The Wall Street Journal reports today on the murky world of marketing for “green” and “natural” household products. Ads for these flower-scented and creatively-named brands often claim—or, at least, strongly imply—that they are safer and healthier that mainstream cleaning and deodorizing agents. Such claims are often made even when both products are chemically similar or borderline identical. 

    Ng points out that Nature’s Power laundry detergent, sold proudly by Whole Foods, contains sodium laureth sulfate, which they produce from vegetable oil. Arm & Hammer (owned by the same company, Church & Dwight), makes detergent that also contains sodium laureth sulfate, except in Arm & Hammer’s case, it is made from petroleum. It’s the same chemical compound, but...

  • Glyphosate Saves Lives, Reduces Child Labor, and More

    March 25, 2016

    David Zaruk, aka the Risk Monger, has produced an excellent series of blog posts on why the herbicide glyphosate (the active ingredient in “Roundup”) is a wonderful thing, despite “cancer classifications” and demonization by greens. In a refreshingly blunt and honest series of posts, he makes some fantastic points that must shock green activists who can’t imagine why anyone would dare use a chemical to control noxious weeds, grow food, and feed the world. 

    Some key points that Zaruk offers include:

    1. Weed killers help reduce child labor. Yes, that’s what I said. Zaruk has real-life experience to prove it. Check out this post.
    2. The cancer researchers at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have lost credibility within Europe’s...
  • Doing Away with Government Flammability Standards

    March 24, 2016

    During the past several years, there’s been much hype in the news alleging that flame retardant chemicals used on upholstered furniture pose unacceptable health risks. With these alarmist claims abounding, some green minded individuals complain that they unknowingly purchased couches that contain these chemicals because furniture manufacturers apply them to meet government flammability standards. To address this concern, activist groups advocate banning a wide number of chemical flame retardants. While I don’t buy their claims about these chemicals being dangerous and certainly oppose bans, no one should be essentially forced into buying...


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