Friday, April 27, 2007

In the News

From Carl Cranor in Chemical and Engineering News

Taking a broader look at human exposure to substances in the environment, Carl Cranor, philosophy professor at the University of California, Riverside, observed: "It is arguable that the current moral basis for legally regulating exposure to toxic substances is problematic." First, he explained, the current harm-based, or risk-of-harm-based, legal structure does not work well enough. Firms proposing to manufacture a new chemical, other than a pharmaceutical or pesticide, are required to submit only what they know about the product to EPA, he said, and for many new chemicals, the firms have no toxicity information.

And even if the legal structure could be made to work better with sufficient political will, there would still be a moral concern about the basis for current regulations, Cranor continued. "Because most substances are subject to postmarket regulation, the existing legal structure results in involuntary experiments on citizens. The bodies of the citizenry are invaded and trespassed on by commercial substances, arguably a moral wrong," he said. "If we were to recognize that chemical invasion is a wrong," then we could authorize actions—especially testing—to prevent additional wrongs, he said. "We can gain greater sovereignty over our bodies by requiring no trespass without testing."

To see the full article, click here.

Roger Atkinson was quoted in Live Science.
"It's been known for a long time that E85 is not the cleanest fuel in the world."
Roger Atkinson, director of the Air Pollution Research Center, on the results of a study that found that fuels high in ethanol may pose an equal or greater public health risk than regular gasoline.

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