Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Christmas Kill-Joys

By Alan Caruba

I would like to reserve a special place in Hell for those people who, every year, issue warnings about “toxic toys” and thus add to every parent’s concerns additional worries about anything and everything they purchase for their children.

I was reminded of this when my local daily devoted a full page, plus scary cartoon illustrations, to the claims of a group in Michigan, the Ecology Center, citing an alleged threat from plastic toys that include the use of phthalates and other “chemicals” that will surely kill every child who receives one.

Here’s what the American Chemistry Council says about phthalates: “Most phthalates are used to make vinyl soft and flexible. From their use in medical devices to toys to cars to homes, flexible vinyl products help make our lives better and safer. And in hospitals and emergency rooms, they help save lives.” Such products are “high-performing and cost effective; their performance is difficult or impossible to match with competitive substitutes.”

The Council further notes that “Safety reviews by European and American scientific panels have specifically cleared phthalates for use in toys and in nail polish,” adding that “No governmental review has found any phthalate unsafe as used in products for the general public.”

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will, as of next year, ban phthalates. Never mind the findings of scientific panels. Never mind the oldest principle of toxicology that it is the “dose”, the amount of any chemical or substance that determines whether it is unsafe, whether it is a poison or not. If you consumed too much salt, sugar or water, it would kill you.

There is, to my knowledge, no evidence whatever that phthalates have caused injury or death to anyone.

Do you know what actually kills children? From one to four years of age, the leading cause is “accidents”, followed by “developmental and genetic conditions that were present at birth", then cancer, also largely genetic-related. From age 15 through 24, the leading causes are “accidents” followed by homicide and suicide!

Consumers are being victimized by their own lack of knowledge about the use of chemicals while, at the same time, benefiting in countless ways from them. Pharmaceuticals, too, are “chemicals” that bring relief and recovery from all manner of illness and injury.

Plastic, a derivative of oil, has so enhanced our lives one could write a multi-volume history of how its use has been a benefit.

The problem is that the enviro-crazies don’t care about improving our lives. They are determined to deny humanity the benefits of modern life, returning us all to earlier times when epidemics swept over whole populations and destroyed them.

We are, as the expression goes, being nibbled to death by little duckies. A ban on DDT, a ban on phthalates, a ban on harvesting timber, a ban on irrigation to save some minor specie of fish, a ban on extracting oil from a tiny part of a vast wildlife reserve or of the thousands of miles of our continental shelf, attacks on “dirty” coal or “dangerous” nuclear power for our electricity needs, a proposed “emissions” tax on ranchers for every single cow, pig, sheep, and other livestock and poultry, and the list just keeps growing and growing.

Environmentalism has everything to do with its own perverted religion of protest and nothing to do with reality. Meanwhile, we find ourselves the victims of politicians who no longer care, nor bother to understand—if they ever could—the science of the issues. These are the same people who have destroyed the U.S. housing market and set in motion another Recession.

Much of the fear that Americans and others around the world endure is fed by the worldwide environmental movement with its locus in the United Nations. Its sole commodity is the generation of irrational fears.

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