October 11, 2006 1:24 PM
The Wall Street Journal reports today that U.S. and European
firms were unsuccessful in an attempt to make the proposed chemicals policy in
Europe more affordable during committee consideration of the bill in the EU
Parliament. But even if business had succeeded in reducing paperwork
costs, the policy would still have adverse effects around the world.
The program, known as REACH—for the registration,
authorization, and evaluation of chemicals—would require companies to register chemicals
they produce, import, or use. The paperwork
alone will be expensive, but the program is also likely to produce expensive
bans and other regulations on many chemicals.
Industry has continually tried to make REACH a more
reasonable program, but unfortunately they are fighting a losing battle.
The problem is that REACH is fundamentally flawed and thus, cannot be fixed.
First, REACH attempts to address unknown/yet-to-be
discovered, low-level chemical risks, while other laws already sufficiently
address higher priority, identified risks, according to EU Commission
studies. As a result, it's unlikely that
REACH will produce any substantial benefits because the public exposures it
addresses are insignificant and undetectable. However, REACH will likely lead to unjustified bans of valuable products—which
could prove dangerous. In the past,
similarly misguided bans have produced devastating impacts. The prime example is bans around the world on
the pesticide DDT, which have contributed to millions of deaths from malaria for
the last several decades.
October 5, 2006 3:20 PM
Rosenberg's article in today's New York
Times addresses the devastating impact that misguided bans of the pesticide
DDT have had on people in developing nations. The New York Times presents
the DDT issue as simply a serious policy mistake. But it's not simply a single mistake—it's
part of a dangerous effort by environmental activists around the world to
deprive people of various life-saving technologies. The DDT case alone should discredit these
groups, yet they continue to have a harmful influence on public policy.
the problems DDT bans have caused, environmental activists have successfully
advanced a worldwide ban on DDT under the Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
(known as the POPs Treaty). The
treaty has been ratified in enough nations for it to take effect, and the
United States Senate plans to ratify it soon. It allows for only limited use of DDT on a temporary basis, and it creates
serious regulatory hurdles that limit access in nations where people are dying
in droves. The POPs treaty will also ban
many other substances that might be useful in developing nations. In addition, international negotiators have
set up a process to ban even more substances in the future under the POPs
October 5, 2006 12:26 PM
The X PRIZE Foundation said it would be offering a $10
million prize to researchers who devise the technology “that can successfully
map 100 human genomes in 10 days.”
In its press release the foundation said it was trying to
stimulate faster advances in genomics for preventative medicine and procedures.
“Only after we have access to affordable and fast genome sequencing will we be
able to take advantage of the countless benefits.”
Here's to the newest X PRIZE — using private funds to
finance private research and innovation.
September 28, 2006 11:43 AM
A new study just
published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows mixed results in dealing
with Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes — the most severe type of
diabetes that requires close monitoring of blood sugar, multiple insulin
injections during the day, and a careful balancing of food.
In the study islets, which are cells
in the pancreas that produce insulin, were transplanted into 36 patients with
Type 1 diabetes. Results showed that the
transplanted cells provided insulin independence for up to two years for some
patients, but a majority needed insulin again at two years. The islets also
helped in controlling blood sugar levels.
The cells are taken from the pancreas of dead donors, and in
2001 only 400 were available, while there are 2 million people with juvenile
diabetes. Thus, researchers are
looking to the potential of stem cell research.
September 27, 2006 3:47 PM
A new study shows that mice that drink moderate amounts of wine everyday suffer from less memory loss and brain cell death. A huge body of evidence has shown that moderate alcohol consumption helps keep people heart-healthy, and CEI had sued for that positive information to appear on alcoholic beverage labels. Now moderate drinking seems to “slow Alzheimer's-like diseases.”
The happy mice were given Cabernet Sauvignon wine (really!), ethanol, or plain water— their equivalent of two glasses a day. The ones who did best on mazes were the red wine drinkers. Maybe they thought some Zinfandel was at the end of it.
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
September 21, 2006 10:37 AM
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.
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.
September 14, 2006 10:03 AM
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.