The US Congress agreed on 28 July 2008 to an outright ban on some phthalates in children’s toys and child care items, and an interim prohibition on other phthalates pending further research on their impact on infant health.
To the casual observer, it sounds like our elected officials are guarding our health, but this is just cheap politics based on junk science. Speaking as someone who worked in elite labs during my graduate and undergraduate education--including a stint with brilliant Nobel laureate Willard F. Libby (for Carbon-14 dating)--it blows my mind to see what passes for research these days.
Incredibly, people seem to be assured of grants if they can only find a chemical--any chemical--and come up with a "study" that will show harmful effects. Sadly, the majority of these studies would not have passed muster for a high school science fair 30 years ago.
When PC mixes with science, we all lose.
I think this nonsense dates back to Rachel Carson's long discredited Silent Spring. After all, banning DDT accomplished a lot, right? Millions of Africans died of malaria, and there was not a SINGLE benefit to the environment that has ever been documented.
Congress failed to accept these very simple facts:
1. The products affected are still going to need plasticizers, and no one can predict the effects of these mostly untested phthalate substitutes.
2. Phthalates are among the most tested chemicals on earth.
Need I remind you of some past bans, and other foolish so-called environmental actions?
Despite reams of scientific papers attesting to their safety, silicone breast implants were banned, and nearly $1 billion was paid in settlements to alleged victims, only to have the implants restored to the marketplace by the FDA a scant few years later.
Despite obvious problems with supply--to say nothing of its non-effect on helping air pollution--biofuels, especially ethanol were thrust on the market, only to lead to hikes in food prices and additional costs to refiners--passed on to the consumer, thank you very much.
Despite issues with mercury pollution, and the fact that they simply cannot replace incandescent lighting in all applications, efforts are underway to ban conventional light bulbs, supposedly to have them all replaced with compact fluorescents. This is particularly stupid, since the compacts are great--in their place!
Despite issues of cost, payback time, and what to do with the batteries once they're exhausted--not to mention that they look like they are supposed to be occupied by an effete space alien--hybrid cars are pushed by many. To the manufacturer, they are a curiosity that generates wonderful PR.
The list goes on...
If you have trouble understanding how Congress can do some of the things it does, remember how you hated the goody-two shoes brown-nosing kids that played politics to get elected to student office? Well, that's who is in Congress. Any questions?