Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Up In Flames: USA Today's above-the-fold story today is about traces of flame-retardent polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) in breastmilk. A cause for concern, no doubt:
But "this is another wake-up call," says Linda Birnbaum, director of the Environmental Protection Agency's experimental toxicology lab.
Er, Mr. Left Hand, meet Mr. Right Hand: America has the highest standards in the world for flame-proofing consumer products. Thus, what the EPA is bitching about Americans being exposed to is a direct result of the state trying to protect us.

Further on in the story, there is this amusing tidbit:

Though the USA has the world's toughest flame retardancy standards, 3,000 people die in fires each year. The Chemical Manufacturers Association estimates the number would be up to 960 higher without such flame retardants.
Got that? 960 times higher! So without such flame retardents, three million people would die every year, more than 1% of the population. Within a single generation, we'd lose 60 million Americans. I smell Congressional-testimony-grade bullshit in that statistic. If the danger is that great, shouldn't we be hosing down our furniture once a day?

Speaking of environmental damage, don't even get me started on the dangers of DHMO.

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