It s Monday morning. No one is in a particularly good mood. This didn't help.
We have been discussing BPA a component of polycarbonate and polyether plastics forever. This should be #1000 on your list of things to worry about (#999 is being hit by a giraffe that fell off a skyscraper.)
It doesn t matter what we say. The Environmental Working Group, and other geniuses have devoted their lives to finding something dangerous about it. Even though they failed in that quest, they will still get their way, unfortunately for science and for the people of California. It looks like it s headed for California s Proposition 65 list a compilation of chemicals that are alleged to cause cancer, developmental toxicity, or both.
The Manson family could not have done a better job of putting this list together. This is what happens when politicians and ideologues get together and decide on scientific issues.
Rather than debate the merits of the science a waste of time if ever there were one we decided just to make fun of it.
Since an Excel sheet tells 1,000 words, just take a look. Snarky comments are supplied (free of charge) by ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom, who actually knows a thing or two about toxicity, since he managed to work with chemicals for almost 30 years without doing any harm (at least physical) to himself.
Here is sampling of the 800+ chemicals that are on the list. Good luck trying to make sense of this:
Dr. Bloom says, The original intent of Proposition 65 was to keep certain chemicals out of the aquifer. Many of them belonged on the list. But then it morphed into a conglomeration of chemicals that should be on the list and those that have a theoretical chance of causing (whatever) or nothing.
What s the harm?
Dr. Bloom says, By lumping dangerous chemicals together with clearly harmless ones, the entire list becomes meaningless. Worse still, anything on the list requires a label: WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. So, the net result is that methylmercury, which I managed to avoid like the plague during 30 years in lab, requires the exact same label as fish. Make sense? Didn t think so.
Dr. Bloom has expressed similar feelings in his 2012 op-ed entitled Proposition Preposterous, in which he wonders why a bird feed that was shipped from California has a cancer warning on it. Funny, if nothing else.
ACSH s Dr. Gil Ross added this comment: Not so funny, though, if you re in the business of producing safe and useful products that will now come under the gun of the vast bounty hunter system of predatory Prop 65 lawyers who troll this list, seeking companies to sue for inadequate labeling in yet another quirk of this misguided and counterproductive law, it allows private lawyers to sue offenders and collect significant extortion from such dangerous lawbreakers.
See ACSH s publication on Prop. 65 s many paradoxes here the worst of which is that it was passed in 1986 with an aim of preserving California s public health, and it has not and will never do anything of the sort.
Just for yucks, if you interpret Proposition 65 literally, the following are equally deadly: