New Study Exposes Flaws in “Green Chemistry” Movement

Washington D.C., November 16, 2011 — This holiday season, most Americans will be happily taking advantage of the comforts and conveniences of the modern world. But not everyone is thankful for the industrial processes that allow us to eat, travel, and shop the way we do. Environmentalist groups are currently pushing “green chemistry” reforms that could force many safe products off our shelves—and unfortunately, many state governments are buying into the propaganda that these anti-chemical groups are selling.

Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute released a new study that outlines the real risks and benefits of the products now under attack. In “Green Chemistry’s March of the Ostriches,” CEI Senior Fellow Angela Logomasini and Contributing Scholar Daniel J. Murphy document the long history of unfounded claims by the anti-chemical movement and urge lawmakers to let facts—not fears—shape the future of regulation.

“When it comes to chemical regulation, precautionary policies are based on potential and often worst-case ‘hazards’ posed by products rather than the actual risks associated with realistic exposures,” the study explains. “For example, cyanide is certainly a hazardous substance to humans, but trace levels of cyanide naturally occur in healthy foods, such as almonds and lima beans, with no adverse consequence to human health. If the precautionary principle and ‘green chemistry’ regulations applied to these foods, we might have to ban them.”

The authors conclude: “With action proceeding on chemicals in so many states, we have begun to overturn one of our cherished principles by giving government the authority to clog scientific inquiry without convincing evidence.”

>> Read the full study: “Green Chemistry’s March of the Ostriches.”