Sunday, June 14, 2009

Science and the CPSIA

Scientist material I am not, but even I know that the claims made by supporters of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act are bogus. However, being non-scientific I didn't know how to "prove" anything. I just have intellect and logic on my side.

Thankfully, other people recognize the fallacies found in the CPSIA also understand and know science. They can point out the exact errors in CPSIA thinking. One such person, Michael D. Shaw (Executive Vice President of Interscan Corporation) wrote an interesting article for, Disrupting The -Endocrine Disruptor- Hypothesis.

Shaw explained several of the fallacies in arguments supporting the need for the CPSIA and in the methodology of tests advocates use to show the "inherent" dangers of phthalates. The law and its supporters worry about possible dangers to children, dangers caused by certain materials including lead and phtalates. Dangers abound in this world, but the over-reaction to things that really are already controlled can be worse than perceived dangers.

One point Shaw made, with which I definitely agree, is as follows:

At the heart of this is the so-called precautionary principle which states: "When an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically."

To the uninitiated, this principle may sound good, but in practice there have been virtually no demonstrated benefits to balance the well-documented failures and even catastrophes. All but the most strident Greens now agree that the banning of DDT was a tragic mistake, leading to the deaths of millions of Africans from malaria. Closer to the present, a mostly moronic Congress was quick to exploit the lead-poisoning death of young Jarnell Brown, with the patently absurd and destructive Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act—quite possibly the worst law passed in the last 50 years.

I recommend everyone read Mr. Shaw's article complete article found here. The scientific information alone is worth the read.

Personally, I'm still afraid that my publishing house, 4RV Publishing, libraries, and many other small businesses and households are in danger of prosecution under this "quite possibly the worse law passed in the last 50 years."



L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thanks for the tip on this article. I've been following this whole debacle for months. It's going to hurt far more than it will help!

L. Diane Wolfe

Connie Arnold said...

Thank you for sharing this article, Vivian. I've been following this closely too and agree with what you say! I continue to pray about it.

Jen said...

Thanks for blogging about this. I closed my custom hair bow business 2/10/09, not because I make toxic hair bows, but because I cannot afford the testing and certification required to prove each one is safe. I find it sad that some of the industries most negatively impacted by this ill-conceived law are many wholesome, healthy and family-friendly businesses and organizations. It hurts libraries, schools, publishers, moms working from home to be with their kids, the elderly and disabled supporting themselves through handcrafts, and environmentalists manufacturing sustainable organic products right here in the US. Not to mention the thrift industry – which primarily doesn’t carry children's items at all any more for fear of prosecution or litigation. Are these our national values? Let Congress know that this is not how we want to “protect” our children, and that the CPSIA must be amended now, before more livelihoods are needlessly lost.

Kent Graham said...

?? "All but the most strident Greens now agree that the banning of DDT was a tragic mistake..."

In logic/critical thinking classes, this is called "arm-waving": say it loudly and wave your arms, and it's true. A scientist -- or honest storyteller -- would offer proof of both assertions. Shaw doesn't.

I'm not a Hoosier -- but even a Texan abroad can say "Show me!"