February 26, 2007Today's Globe and Mail reports that Canadian environmental groups may soon succeed in getting the Province of Ontario to ban the use of lawn pesticides used for “cosmetic purposes.” They've managed to get such bans in the Province of Quebec as well as in dozens of cities, including Toronto and Halifax. Their success is part of a larger campaign to rid the world of man-made chemicals—without regard to the impacts—no matter how bad. For further insights on their efforts see this CEI study.
Such bans are not only foolish, they can prove dangerous. After all, do the greens really expect people to manually pull all the weeds from their lawns? Sounds like a good recipe for carpal tunnel syndrome to me. Moreover, “cosmetic...
February 21, 2007Editorial writers in today's Orlando Sentinel say they oppose Department of Homeland Security regulations that attempt to beef up security at the nation's chemical plants to reduce the risks of terrorist attacks. They want Congress to legislate the issue. They complain because the administration focuses on managing chemical risks through improved security measures only. The Sentinel, like many activist groups, wants Homeland Security to pursue a green agenda that would force the elimination or drastic reduction of so-called “dangerous” or “toxic” chemicals. They also oppose Homeland Security's attempt to preempt states from passing such silly regulations.
Frankly, I would have to agree with the Department of Homeland Security on this one. I...
February 21, 2007The Contra Costa Times reports today that minorities in the San Francisco Bay area suffer disproportionately from air pollution coming from industrial plants. The "evidence" is contained in a report released by environmental activists, titled "Still Toxic After All These Years." This report finds that Latinos, African Americans, and Asians or Pacific Islanders compose 62 percent of people living within a mile of industrial facilities that report "toxic air emissions" to the federal government.
Is this an injustice? Hardly. All it actually shows is that some minorities chose to live in more affordable housing near these facilities. There is no evidence that their health suffers as a result. If any suffering is involved, it stems from the...
February 16, 2007
In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency issued warnings to pregnant women. They said that trace levels of methyl mercury in fish could harm developing babies' nervous systems. CEI warned the public that this was fishy advice—based largely junkscience. The EPA-FDA recommendations are particularly bad because they discourage consumption of a very healthy food choice.
Today's Washington Post offers yet another wrinkle to this story. It reports that women who ate more than EPA's recommended maximum levels of fish during pregnancy gave birth to children with better developed nervous systems and higher IQs than women who ate less fish. If the researchers in this study are...
February 15, 2007The New York Times reports today that many consumers are turning to “green” cleaning products. If people are willing to pay more for these products—that's their choice. But the only thing they are like to get is a warm fuzzy feeling. There is no evidence that these so-called “green” are any healthier or better for the environment.
According to a University of California, Berkeley study produced in 2006, some household cleaners might, in theory, pose a health risks. But everything in life poses risks—including the so-called green products. William W. Nazaroff, Berkeley researchers to led the report, told the New York Times: “I haven't seen any good evidence supporting the idea that something that is being sold as green is really good for the people who are using the products â€¦ There are good...
February 14, 2007Today, Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) reportedly will introduce the Toxic Right-to-Know Protection Act, which would reverse recent EPA reforms to the Toxics Release Inventory. The program mandates that industry report “chemical releases” to the EPA and to the public. These lawmakers seem to believe that the EPA changes deprive the public of useful information.
February 13, 2007An Associated Press story today warns that the roses you get for Valentines Day could be lethal. In places like Columbia, they are “sprayed, rinsed and dipped in a battery of potentially lethal chemicals” and “unlike edible fruits and vegetables they are not tested for chemical residues." But there is an easy answer to that: Don't eat the roses! As for trace level contamination from a few sniffs a day, fear not. Such low level exposures pose negligible risks. Chemically caused cancers largely result from long-term chronic exposures to certain chemicals. There is no evidence—or even a good reason to even believe—that people are getting cancer from ornamental flowers! In fact, despite the fact that we are regularly exposed to trace levels of an increasing number of man-made chemicals, people have been living longer and healthier lives, and cancer rates have been...
February 2, 2007This is depressing. Wal-Mart has decided to take the politically correct road—working to eliminate its so-called “carbon footprint.” What on earth does that mean? Are they going to get rid of the automotive section? Must we shop in the dark? That won't do—pretty much every item in the store has a “carbon foot print.” What this really means is that Wal-Mart's customers will be paying higher prices so that the company can appear more "socially responsible."
Hogwash! This move is nothing more than a miscalculated marketing scheme that will do nothing other than undercut the people Wal-Mart primarily serves: Americans with tight budgets. I am a regular at Wal-Mart, and there I mostly see my working class and small business neighbors who struggle to pay high taxes and high mortgages in Fairfax County, Virginia.
These are not the people who have the luxury to go around worrying...
January 31, 2007California usually leads the nation in the formulation of bad public policy—which policymakers in other states often see as a model. But this week, they actually did something worth emulating. They lifted a state ban on residential use of vinyl plumbing pipes, which are made with chlorinated polyvinyl chloride or CPVC.
Unfortunately, it took the state more than a decade to lift this expensive, nonsensical mandate. The state's change of heart came after its housing department conducted a study debunking claims that the pipes are dangerous, which were posited by a coalition of environmental activists and plumbers' unions. In reality, the CPVC pipes are quite safe, energy efficient, and environmentally sound. They also cost much less—about a third of the alternative metal piping.
These pipes are also very easy to install. CPVC installs...
January 12, 2007This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied the marketing of yet another wood preservative, meaning consumers will continue to have few choices when it comes to buying wood products for decking, fences, and other outdoor structures. Wood preservatives are the chemicals used to make pressure treated lumber—lumber that is resistant to insects and decay.
The ostensive reason for prohibiting the product—acid copper chromate or ACC—was to prevent consumers from suffering allergy-related skin irritations and reduce potential cancer risks for workers. Yet ACC has been used safely for decades. It was once one of the most widely used chemicals for residential uses, and it is still used in industrial applications. The same cannot be said about the alternative products that began wide use in 2004, and which pose serious other problems for consumers (see below).