“Fear and Politics Trumps Science” (2009)
Fear and Politics Trumps Science and Rational Thinking
Despite recommendation by scientists at the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) which regulates toys, Congress recently implemented a ban on the use of phthalates in all children’s toys. The Consumer Product Safety Commission opposed the ban because “there was not a risk of injury to children” according to Dr. Marilyn Wind of the CPSC. This conclusion was reached after studying phthalates in toys for more than 25 years. This extensive study included toys which are used as teethers and pacifiers. Scientists at the CPSC believe children were not exposed to even a slight risk from products containing these chemicals.
Scientists at the FDA reached the same conclusion and reported to Congress that a ban was not necessary to protect the public. Unfortunately lawmakers such as Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) were easily duped by advocacy groups into believing that these ingredients are linked to reproductive toxicity, despite evidence to the contrary presented by two different groups of government scientists.
A favorite tactic used by advocacy groups is to link their demands to “children”, knowing this will pressure politicians to easily give in, rather than stand up for what is right. Activists regularly and successfully use the “children card” to pressure politicians into making decisions that are contrary to science and reason.
Even so, Dr. Wind stands by the results of the government research, “I know we did really good science and sometimes people don’t listen to the good science.”