July 1, 2016negotiated an armistice with the sharing economy last week. Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb have promised comply with the new rules, which are less onerous than the ordinance that...
June 29, 2016Greenpeace has been among the most vocal, and oftentimes vicious, opponents of biotechnology and genetically engineered crops. The group has lobbied for bans on GE crops and gone as far as destroying field tests in...
June 21, 2016
June 17, 2016
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...
February 23, 2016
Despite the fact that tobacco products kill nearly half a million Americans each year, it is vaping products—which help people quit smoking—that have become a top target for health advocates. In addition to the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed rules that would create a de facto ban on the products, health advocates are trying to pass laws in the states that would increase restrictions and taxes on electronic cigarettes. Their intentions may be good, but the consequences of their proposals in states like Utah could be a disaster for public...
October 26, 2015
You may have seen the hilarious headlines about putting Monsanto in your vagina (if not, you’re welcome/I’m sorry). This hyperbole comes on the heels of a new study showing that the majority of cotton products tested by Argentinian researchers were found to contain glyphosate—the herbicide made by Monsanto and commercially known as Roundup. Even if you’re comfortable with farmers spraying crops with chemicals that keep away insects or competing plants, like weeds, the idea of putting that into your hooha is probably less comfortable of a thought.
The good news is that, as with most headlines, these findings have been taken out of context and probably aren’t...
April 1, 2015
At recent hearings on the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697), senators, environmental activists, and local government officials claimed that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) law is not sufficient protect public health. As I have argued before, that’s certainly not the case.
There may be an economic reason to reform this law—to preempt a growing patchwork of nonsensical state-level consumer product regulations—but there’s no legitimate “safety” reason for reform.
Still, activists and some members of Congress at the hearing complained that TSCA’s risk standard has prevented the EPA from banning “a known human carcinogen,” i...
March 19, 2015
James Mills of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development lamented in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine back in 1993: “‘If you torture your data long enough, they will tell you whatever you want to hear’ has become a popular observation in our office. In plain English, this means that study data, if manipulated in enough different ways can prove whatever the investigator wants to prove.”
Government regulators will resort to such data torture to justify an activist regulatory agendas if they can’t do it with good data and sound science. One approach includes selective use of data—excluding years or datasets that might change the conclusions of a risk assessment. The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recent ...
March 18, 2015
Many “stakeholders” have complained about the process through which the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) developed its proposed rule related to a class of chemicals called phthalates—and rightly so. In particular, the agency’s failure to allow public comment and open peer review of its Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel report (CHAP report) underscore the fact that bureaucrats want to avoid scrutiny that might hold them accountable for rash and unscientific decisions.
Designed to make plastics soft and pliable, these chemicals have many valuable uses for making a wide range of products from blood bags, to rain boots and swimming pool liners as well as children’s toys, which are the subject of this regulation. Safely used for decades, activists and regulators are poised to essentially throw away...