We try not to think too much about California's Proposition 65, the 1986 law that purports to protect individuals from knowingly touching anything that may be theoretically associated with cancer or developmental problems. It just raises our blood pressure. However, we'd be remiss not to point our readers toward Dr. Joe Schwarz's excellent take on this misguided law (which has now expanded to cover over 800 substances). On a recent episode of his radio program, "The Right Chemistry," the McGill University professor of chemistry looks closely at the scientific fallacies that run through California's blanket application of the precautionary principle. As Dr. Schwarz explains it:
Basically, Proposition 65 was an attempt to put the precautionary principle into practice, the idea being to avoid a chemical that might present a risk even if the evidence is not absolute. Sounds like motherhood and apple pie. But according to Proposition 65, even motherhood and apple pie would be suspect since progesterone, the pregnancy hormone, as well as acrylamide and formaldehyde, both present in apple pie, appear on California s list.
You can listen to the podcast here.