Atrios, the other day, describing this story about the toxic dispersants (symptoms at high doses: headaches, vomiting and reproductive problems) being poured into the gulf by the ton to break up the oil slick:
Nick Kristof, today:
The President’s Cancer Panel is the Mount Everest of the medical mainstream, so it is astonishing to learn that it is poised to join ranks with the organic food movement and declare: chemicals threaten our bodies.
The cancer panel is releasing a landmark 200-page report on Thursday, warning that our lackadaisical approach to regulation may have far-reaching consequences for our health.
I’ve read an advance copy of the report, and it’s an extraordinary document. It calls on America to rethink the way we confront cancer, including much more rigorous regulation of chemicals.***
“Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety,” the report says. It adds: “Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated.”
Industry may howl. The food industry has already been fighting legislation in the Senate backed by Dianne Feinstein of California that would ban bisphenol-A, commonly found in plastics and better known as BPA, from food and beverage containers.
Studies of BPA have raised alarm bells for decades, and the evidence is still complex and open to debate. That’s life: In the real world, regulatory decisions usually must be made with ambiguous and conflicting data. The panel’s point is that we should be prudent in such situations, rather than recklessly approving chemicals of uncertain effect.
Our corporate persons are so powerful that when we don’t know what something is going to do to us or our bodies, we say fuck it, hope nothing goes wrong, approve it, and then listen to those same interests scream about tort reform twenty years later when half a town has cancer.
This whole country has become nothing more than a slow-motion train wreck.
Ah! But at least it’s picking up steam!
Maybe it’s time I took a stroll out in the sun. It’s a gorgeous day, and I really shouldn’t be wasting it by sitting here at work.
corporate america will do it’s own self-policing thankyouverymuch … afterall when profits are involved, it would be irresponsible to put the public’s health at risk:
By MATTHEW PERRONE, AP Business Writer Matthew Perrone, Ap Business Writer – Tue May 4, 6:30 pm ET
WASHINGTON – Ingredients used by Johnson & Johnson in some of the 40 varieties of children’s cold medicines recalled last week were contaminated with bacteria, according to a report by the Food and Drug Administration. …
J&J did not investigate more than 46 complaints received in the last year about “black or dark specks” in Tylenol products, according to the FDA’s report.
Additionally, inspectors found some pieces of equipment covered with thick layers of dust, while others were held together with duct tape.
Pigs & Spiders
I, for one, welcome our eight-legged offspring.
It is as it always was. Only worse.
Ella in NM
Norway was looking good until I read the story on the Tea Party trying to get it’s claws in over there.
Soon, there will be no place left to escape to.
But the free market will regulate itself, and no company would ever use an unsafe chemical, because once the entire nation got cancer or other debilitating diseases, they’d go out of business from the bad press and lawsuits.
Because if there is one single group of people in our nation who think about the long term health of the nation and their company and not reaping enormous short term profits and bailing out to Aruba right before the shit hits the fan, it’s CEOs.
@Pigs & Spiders: Yours at least won’t look wildly out of place in the family album! Other families will have more difficulties with the handmedowns not having the requisite number of sleeves.
@Sloegin: You must be new here. Say it slowly and it sounds like “Who Coulda Knowed?” It’s a catch-phrase for the continuous stream of pathetic excuses from the corporatist, rightist nutjobs who have assumed positions of responsibility in our society and then acted as if completely predictable disasters were totally out of left field.
The mother of all Hoocoodanode events is of course the August 6th PDB warning George W. Bush that “Osama bin Laden determined to attack US,” which then went on to list targets (New York, Washington DC), the fact that airplanes were of interest to bin Laden’s organization, and that individuals had been trained and were living in the US, and oh, by the way the World Trade Center was mentioned. In short, a pretty succinct blueprint for what went down just over a month later that Bush yawned at and went back on vacation.
Condoleeza Rice ran around saying “no one could have predicted” until Richard Ben-Veniste asked her to recall the title of the PDB in the 9/11 hearings. Oh, I’m sure she ran around saying it after that too but the cat was out of the bag.
Yes, they coulda knowed.
I should note that the “organic food movement” (as opposed to food not containing hydrocarbons?) is a little incoherent when it comes to “chemicals”. Still, they’re well-intentioned, and actually knowing WTF different substances have on the human body is a Good Thing.
Hopefully we can get some sane regulatory legislation after the Republicans take back Congress. PUMAs roar, also too.
Atrios is a stupid hippie. He’s probably too stoned to notice that corporate America always looks out for the health and well-being of U.S. Citizens.
Even if they didn’t, it’s still bad for the government to get involved. They’ll only make it worse. That’s why I refuse to eat meat that’s been examined by the USDA (I prefer to eat meat purchased from the trunk of someone’s car at the gas station).
Slow motion? Everything this great country was, will be made nothing but a memory in a generation.
The EU has passed strict guidelines about labeling household cleaning products, paints, and toiletries. We have none whatsoever. If we want to continue to sell products in the EU we will have to comply. (I’ve been waiting for the Wingnuts to start screaming about this).
Companies don’t even test the chemicals they use so that they can’t be found liable.
The labels we do have are meaningless, for instance, the term “noncomedogenic” which you see on lotions only means that the product contains no turpentine.
It’s not the meek who will inherit the Earth. It’s the cockroaches. One day aliens might land here, but they’ll never find any signs of “intelligent” life.
@Legalize: They’re getting rid of the internet?
“Innocent until proven guilty” was not supposed to apply to chemicals.
The Moar You Know
America is rapidly turning into the equivalent of an experimental Russian aircraft.
Minus the parachute.
Unless they were smart enough to get a $75 million cap on damages!
once more with feeling: the dinos had a good run too – 100 million years of growth & evolution. We have been here about 100 mil ourselves.
Melamine is good for you.
@frankdawg: We wish we’ve been around for 100 million years. You’re a little off on your estimate. Humans, depending on how far back you want to go on our tree, are 2+ million years. If you want to include some of our more distant ancestors, you might get that number up to 4 million.
I am of the mind that all of this crap spewing out over the last 40+ years is reaching an event horizon of its own. I also happen to think this convergence will be a good thing. There are only so many times you can get hit in the face with a pipe before you begin to ask why you are being hit in the face with a pipe, even for the dullest amongst us.
I’ll bite. Kristof’s fundamental point that we should be wary of new and untested substances is a good one, however, we also need to find a balance between safety and innovation.
Many commercial chemicals pass acute safety tests, and many also pass chronic safety tests, but it is impractical to run 20 year clinical trials to see whether a new compound causes cancer. If this were required, innovation in the industrial chemical industries would slow or cease (I used to work in
Additionally, it is actually quite hard to determine whether a particular substance caused adverse health effects if they only show up a long time after exposure, so I’m not sure how one can fairly determine whether a company is liable.
Don’t get me wrong, there need to be more safeguards. However, I think the idea that we can make ourselves perfectly safe from potential adverse reactions to environmental chemicals while still enjoying the new products that they enable is wrongheaded.
Maybe FINALLY some of the power-elite are figuring out that pollution could affect THEM as well as the little people. Imagine that ! ! !
Oooo, they say, better do something about it before it gets to ME!
best hoocoodanode moment however goes to at the time mtv vj, comedian and english media whore, now imported pop culture persona russell brand, who was fired from mtv uk for showing up on 9/12/01 dressed as osama bin laden.
poor taste, but spot on hoocoodanode
This. And it’s becoming more obvious by the day.
Man we’re having a shitty couple of weeks.
This point, at least in re cancer, is why I’ve always detested all the pink ribbon shit and all the “walking for the cure” and etc… We’d do more for people’s lives and health if we cleaned up the god damned superfund sites, and refused to let companies dump toxins in poor neighborhoods, or force workers to use harsh chemicals to clean the toilets than we will throwing money at research and cures for cancer once its started. And I say that even though I am related to some hard core geneticists who argue strongly that its pretty much all in the genes whether you get cancer or not. We’re poisoning ourselves every day with the stuff we are letting into our air and water and we have known it for ever, but we have allowed ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of compancency about government and corporations. When everyone was freaking out, after 9/11, about the prospect of terr’ists and muslims attacking our chemical plants the papers were reminding us not to eat local blue fish because of mercury contamination, and trout because of PCBs. Why were the companies that pumped that shit into our water not considered terrorists?
@aimai: because, as you know, environmental degredation is for the little people, just like warfare. money will most assuredly buy one’s way out of that problem. their offspring will just have to build the walls a little higher, or let the poor folks drown, oh wait, we did that already, hmmmm.
What about the two headed multi-limbed children? Won’t that spur productivity?
Don’t forget to slather on the sunblock!
1. That 100+my run is only for the non-avian dinosaurs, of course; the avian branch is still going strong. Humans don’t look like breaking 5 my, let alone 170 my or so.
2. What aimai said. Chemical/pharma houses some time ago found that it was far more cost-effective to run their 30-year long-term exposure studies in the real world using real populations. A good bit of the time they don’t get tagged at all, and even if they do (Bhopal, Love Canal, etc. etc.), it’s just part of the cost of doing business and that can get passed along to the consumers in the end anyway. The Golden Rule in action. “Whoever has the Gold makes the Rules.”
Not so slow.
I’ve watched the chaos and insanity pile up since the election of the senile sociopath Ronald “The Cruel Man with the Kindly Smile” Reagan in 1980 (his most famous public statement:4 months before the Kent State massacre he proclaimed about anti-war student demonstrators, “If it takes a blood bath, let’s get it over with”)… And the destruction and degradation has accelerated steadily and exponentially over the last 30 years.
Boy, an exponential curve is really something. Starts off slow, but by the time it gets going…man, it really gets going.
At this rate, I expect a Secretary of Torture on the cabinet by 2014, cops and security guards issued handheld microwave pain rays with which to torture innocent bystanders to death by 2016, and instantaneous revocation of citizenship for anyone who fails a random biometric ID scan by 2020.
Kristof’s being charitable to industry re: BPA; the science is dreadfully “complex” because this administration, like the last one, lets industry whisper sweet nothings into its wallet.