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#104 -- Precautionary Voices in Australia, 22-Aug-2007

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Rachel's Precaution Reporter #104

"Foresight and Precaution, in the News and in the World"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007...........Printer-friendly version
www.rachel.org -- To make a secure donation, click here.
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Featured stories in this issue...

Town Council in Australia Votes Down Genetically Modified Glo Fish
The Willoughby municipal council in New South Wales, Australia has
voted against allowing the glofish to be sold in its local government
area because the idea was "frivolous and against precautionary
principle."
Australian Doctor Warns About the Speed of Nanotech Development
"Those of us familiar with the precautionary principle feel
cautious about this," says Dr Tom Faunce. "We don't want to be
naysayers and doomsayers and unnecessarily raise public concern, but
there is a certain amount of concern that industry is pushing things
ahead too rapidly."
Developer Objects To Precaution for Land Use Planning in Australia
"The divisive issue is the introduction of new planning controls
that apply a 'precautionary principle' to development outside the city
centre. Brought in for two years, the measure restricts larger shops
setting up in the city's east, effectively stifling Gateway's planned
development."
Ontario Health Coalition Calls for Precaution on Carcinogens
"Pesticides, cosmetics, industrial cleaners and other products
containing potentially toxic chemicals should face tougher scrutiny
and regulation, said a coalition consisting of Cancer Care Ontario,
the Canadian Cancer Society, the Ontario Medical Association and
others."
How To Avoid a Controversial Plastics Chemical
"The definitive study may not be possible," says Hugh Taylor, chief
of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Yale
University School of Medicine. "Why not protect ourselves and the next
generation from this threat?"
Conspiracy Theorists Find a Bogeyman
"In this David and Goliath battle, it is American industry that is
the David and the environmental activists, with their vast resources,
who are the Goliath."

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From: North Shore Times (New South Wales, Australia), Aug. 17, 2007
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COUNCIL TELLS FISH TO 'GLO AWAY'

By Katrina Adamski

Imagine taking one of these glofish home to join your regular coloured
fishy friends.

Would the genetically-engineered glofish be an outcast? And just wait
until you see its party trick an inserted gene produces a protein
that makes them fluorescent.

But don't hold your breath waiting for them to appear in pet shops in
Willoughby. On Monday the council voted against allowing the glofish
in its local government area because the idea was "frivolous and
against precautionary principle."

Councillors instead voted for staff to prepare a draft policy to guide
the council in future issues relating to genetic engineering.

They were responding to a letter from the Commonwealth Government
Office of Gene Technology, seeking their position on releasing the
glofish to the public.

The fish, produced by Yorktown Technologies in America, is a small
aquarium fish with an inserted gene from coral or anemones.

Councillor Tony Mustaca said he was angered when he heard about the
brightly-coloured fish.

"I am against artificially creating things and I believe we should
have respect for all life forms," Cr [Councillor] Mustaca said.

"Creating new organisms can get out of hand and it is pushing the
evolution process too far I believe the risks outweigh the
benefits."

Mayor Pat Reilly voted in favour of drafting new policy to prevent
council being "inundated with even stranger requests."

"There are concerns about the glofish we will have to look into," Cr
Reilly said. "But as a person who has been genetically modified
myself (a liver transplant), I realise that science can bring about a
continuance of life.

"I acknowledge it is a different issue, but there is someone else's
genes in me and that is the way I look at it."
homesite.com.au

Copyright 2005-2006 Cumberland Newspaper Group

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From: ANU (Australian National University) Reporter, Aug. 17, 2007
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MAKING THE MOST OF SMALL DOSES

A doctor, lawyer, and all-round Renaissance man explores how Australia
can maintain its edge in nanomedicines.


Take a quick glance down Dr Tom Faunce's CV and the phrase Renaissance
man is likely to spring to mind. How could it not? He's worked as a
judge's associate to a High Court Justice, as a barrister and as a
senior registrar in an intensive care unit. His expertise in law and
medicine is also buttressed by a love of history, humanist philosophy
and art. The culture of the Renaissance and its antecedents, as it
happens, must also permeate his home life, given his wife's career as
a professor in medieval art.

Yet instead of viewing these fields as independent travellers, Faunce
aims to get law, medicine and ethics walking together on a common
path. The title of his prize-winning PhD thesis referred to the trio
as fellow pilgrims, drawing on humanist values to inform medicine and
human rights law. Faunce is a joint lecturer in law and medicine at
ANU, but such appointments haven't limited his movements to the
lecture hall and the lab. He's organised groups of his medical
students on field trips to the National Gallery of Australia because
looking at paintings, he argues, is an excellent way to awaken
humanist sensibilities.

"It helps to generate conscience," Faunce says. "Once you've got
conscience generated, it's easy to achieve coherence between ethics,
law and human rights. Part of the way I teach is to say that
conscience, ethics and international human rights are calibration
systems of the law. Then if students decide that the law is unjust,
that gives them an opportunity to debate it."

Just as he advocates a certain fluidity between different fields of
expertise, Faunce also manages a fluidity of scale in his research
interests. He's currently leading two projects funded by the
Australian Research Council (ARC). One is concerned with a major
document that spans nations -- the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between
Australia and the US. The other is narrowing in on miniscule
technologies in medicine -- nanotechnology.

"I was awarded an ARC grant in 2004 to look at the impact of
international trade agreements on medicines policy in Australia. I
interviewed almost all the pharmaceutical companies in Australia and
most of the members of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.
I came to the conclusion that the FTA with the US had altered the
regulatory environment so that there was an advantage for companies
that could promote themselves as 'innovative'.

"While a lot of that research was designed to protect the role of the
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme's cost effectiveness system as a social
equaliser -- one of the important components of egalitarianism in
Australian health policy -- I also felt that I wanted to look ahead as
to how we might take advantage of the trade deal, rather than just
being defensive about it."

Thinking about how the FTA could best serve Australia's interests,
Faunce became fascinated by the agreement's treatment of the word
'innovation'. In what sense was this four-syllable noun being used?
How was it to be interpreted? But before he started to grapple with
these questions, he decided to take the word at face value. After all,
there was an emerging field in which Australian innovations could make
a big splash on the world stage.

Faunce became aware of nanotechnology while helping to promote the
case of Richard White, an industrial sandblaster who'd contracted
silicosis because of exposure to toxic dust in the workplace. The
plight of silicosis sufferers was the subject of a Senate inquiry in
May 2006. Faunce says this was his first real exposure to the world of
nanoparticles, those tiny bits of matter that exist on a scale almost
beyond human comprehension. One nanometre is one billionth of a metre,
so many tens of millions of the things would easily fit on the full
stop at the end of this sentence. Just as they can be present in
industrial by-products, such as toxic dust, nanoparticles can also be
engineered into miniscule machines and structures for medical
purposes. While talking to the pharmaceutical companies for his ARC
project, Faunce became aware of new developments in nanomedicines. One
example is a patch that, when applied to the skin, would deliver
thousands of small doses of a medicine. Such a device would reduce the
need for syringes, earning the approval of the squeamish. By
capitalising on developments such as this, Faunce believes Australia
could propel itself to the forefront of the international nanomedicine
market.

But wait a minute. Is it a good idea to let armies of diminutive
devices go traipsing around inside our bodies? Given how close the
world of nano is to the quantum level, how are we to deal with the
inherent uncertainties of anything so small? What if the medicines
turn against us or escape into the environment? In a recent paper for
the Medical Journal of Australia, Faunce struck a note of caution. It
would be wise to proceed carefully, he advised, "given the novelty and
variety of products, high mobility and reactivity of engineered
nanoparticles, and blurring of the diagnostic and therapeutic
classifications of 'medicines' and 'medical devices'."

"Those of us familiar with the precautionary principle feel cautious
about this," he says. "We don't want to be naysayers and doomsayers
and unnecessarily raise public concern, but there is a certain amount
of concern that industry is pushing things ahead too rapidly."

Such concerns are being given a good airing by the Therapeutic Goods
Administration (TGA), the Federal body that oversees pharmaceutical
regulation in Australia. Faunce says the TGA is tending towards the
approach taken in the US, where the Federal Drug Administration adapts
existing regulatory processes to deal with nanomedicines. The argument
runs something like this: we've been dealing with substances with nano
components for some time, therefore the existing regulatory frameworks
are sufficient.

"On that basis they approved the use of nanoparticles in sunscreens,
saying they couldn't get beneath the dead outer layers of skin. But
what about kids with cuts, people with hairy or damaged skin, or skin
diseases like psoriasis? We know that nanoparticles preferentially
accumulate in the mitochondria, release free radicals and cause DNA
damage."

But Faunce argues that it would be wrong to simply look at the safety
risks of nanotechnology in isolation. "We should look at cost-
effectiveness as well. These new products are perhaps technically
innovative, but they're definitely going to be more expensive. Take a
plastic cannula, used to administer intravenous fluids, which may cost
you 25 cents. If you coat it with nanoparticles to make it less likely
that it's going to cause infection, that might be a great boon, but
it's going to be a lot more expensive. Something that was 25 cents is
now going to cost you five or ten dollars. Who's going to pay?"

In some ways, whether or not nanomedicines are safe and cost-effective
is less of a concern to Faunce than another question -- how can
Australian industries working in nanomedicine take advantage of the
changed regulatory architecture coming out of agreements like the FTA?
Back to that word 'innovation'.

It's possible to think of the FTA between Australia and the US as a
skyscraper, where the individual sections on topics like agriculture,
customs and telecommunications would be the various floors of the
tower. The subsections and clauses within those topics would make up
the hallways, walls and partitions. Take the elevator to the second
floor, forebodingly titled 'National Treatment and Market Access for
Goods', and wander down the hall, past the sections and schedules. Way
down the back, you'd eventually stumble on an unassuming room,
labelled Annex 2C. This small space might seem inconsequential viewed
in the context of the multi-levelled artifice. But Faunce believes
this veritable broom cupboard is much more important to Australia's
medical industry than one might suspect. In such a free trade
agreement, an annex allows an obligation to be imposed on one of the
parties -- in this case, mostly Australia. Annex 2C.1 requires that
drug regulatory processes have greater recognition for 'innovation'.

"What does recognition of innovation in medicine mean? Because it's
not defined, it can mean whatever industry claims it means," Faunce
says. "In the US, innovation is primarily an industry lobbying
principle for deregulation and markets called 'free', but really
controlled by those corporations powerfully able to enforce monopolies
and organise collusion towards a fiduciary agenda to enhance profits
with only peripheral interest in broader social values. Organisations
will label their own products and processes as 'innovative' in order
to pressure government officials and elected representatives into
creating favourable regulatory environments for pharmaceutical
producers, possibly to the detriment of consumers. Such a process
hasn't been sufficiently tested by democratic processes to become a
major driver for health policy in this country.

"Even though innovation is not defined in the trade deal, Annex 2C.1
of the Australia-US FTA does mention two approaches. One is the US
approach, where you determine innovation just by the operation of
competitive markets. If you use that approach in Australia, the
implication would be that you'd have to have much stronger involvement
of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in the
pharmaceutical industry to make sure it was actually competitive.

"The Australian approach to defining innovation is to use objectively
demonstrated therapeutic significance, which means published research
scrutinised by experts. If we are going to encourage an innovative
industry, maybe arguing that the Australian definition of innovation
is the way to go because it creates a much fairer playing field. The
US model would always place us at a disadvantage, because the US
market is so much bigger. But the Australian model means that
measuring innovation is really just a question of asking: how good is
our science?"

In order for Australia to take advantage of the FTA, Faunce says the
government must put enough effort into creating good science and good
published research.

"This is what concerns me most about the new Pharmaceutical Benefit
Scheme changes. They seem to be acquiescing to a US agenda to
gradually dismantle reference pricing and not to adequately focus on
linking our own generic and biotech pharmaceutical sector to the
education revolution in our universities. We have to have systematic
process of industry renewal, to make sure that industry has the right
sort of depreciation rates, taxation breaks, the right facilitation of
research clusters, and the right encouragements to attract and
encourage high-level staff. All of these things need to be put in
place and I'm not sure if enough attention has been paid to this.

"It would be a shame if we saw Australian start-up companies bought
out by larger overseas players and we really never had major industry
development here. It's not just the question of industry development
in Australia for its own sake, because we're nationalistic or
something, but because the Australian regulatory system is a really
good model for the rest of the world. We have a balance between public
goods and innovation in our regulatory processes that really needs to
be strengthened and preserved."

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From: Warrnambool Standard (Victoria, Australia), Aug. 17, 2007
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DEVELOPER BLASTS COUNCIL

By Shane Fowles

The Warrnambool City Council has been accused of reneging on an agreed
Gateway Plaza expansion that has cost developers about $8 million.

AMP Capital Investors (AMPCI) said the council had done a backflip on
a land deal under which the company helped fund a $1.75 million
council road project.

The company will meet with the council later this month to discuss the
backdown prompted by Warrnambool's draft retail strategy.

All legal avenues are being kept open ahead of the high-level talks.

The revelations followed the firm's warning that its $60 million plan
to bring Big W and Safeway to the plaza was seriously threatened by
the retail strategy.

In the agreement, AMPCI paid half the cost of Gateway Road and ceded
some of its land to the council.

In return, AMPCI agreed to rezone a 5100-square-metre block to allow
retail development.

The land is essential to facilitate the $60 million plans to set up
Big W and Safeway in the enlarged plaza.

That deal was struck in January after 18 months of negotiations.

When roadworks began in April, the council even cited the area's
significant expansion in needing the upgrade.

Now, before the north-south route has even been built, the council has
been accused of breaking its end of the bargain.

Having spent millions of dollars and years preparing for its major
expansion, AMPCI is seething.

"The removal of those development rights via the imposition of
interim planning controls... is unprecedented," its response to the
council's strategy said.

"Such a radical departure from established council policy undermines
investor confidence.

"That is an issue which AMPCI will be addressing appropriately beyond
this response."

The divisive issue is the introduction of new planning controls that
apply a "precautionary principle" to development outside the city
centre.

Brought in for two years, the measure restricts larger shops setting
up in the city's east, effectively stifling Gateway's planned
development.

AMPCI claims it had no reason to foresee the eastern precinct
development freeze which was imposed without warning.

Having been in talks for five years, the council never raised any
concerns about AMPCI's expansion strategy or its purchase of
additional land.

It was also fully aware that it needed a further 6000 square metres to
facilitate its vision, AMPCI said.

The company now fears the investment and 1700 jobs will be forced into
the hands of another south-west city because of planning
mismanagement.

The city's chief executive officer, Lindsay Merritt, has previously
said the next major anchor store's location would have a profound
impact on the future of the city.

The council has long argued that the CBD is the city's primary retail
area and its standing should be protected. Mr Merritt did not return
calls to The Standard yesterday.

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From: 940Montreal.com, Aug. 20, 2007
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ONTARIO HEALTH COALITION CALLS FOR PRECAUTION ON CARCINOGENS

Health coalition calls on Ontario to lead the way on environmental
carcinogens

TORONTO (CP) -- A coalition of health groups challenged the Ontario
government Monday to become the first jurisdiction in Canada to
aggressively target environmental carcinogens that they say will
continue to kill tens of thousands if politicians fail to act.

Pesticides, cosmetics, industrial cleaners and other products
containing potentially toxic chemicals should face tougher scrutiny
and regulation, said a coalition consisting of Cancer Care Ontario,
the Canadian Cancer Society, the Ontario Medical Association and
others.

The group's report also said manufacturers should be encouraged to
switch to alternatives that are less or not-at-all toxic.

Ontario lacks a strategy to reduce the poisons in our air and food and
revamping the system to be more progressive could cause a ripple
effect in other provinces, said Sarah Miller of the Canadian
Environmental Law Association, one of the groups involved.

"I think public opinion surveys demonstrate again and again that
people are very concerned about the environment," said Miller. "They
want more choices, and the right to know about what they're being
exposed to."

Toxins listed by the coalition include tobacco smoke, pesticides,
industrial soot and tar, asbestos, and exhaust. Even products found in
barbershops and hair salons are included.

The coalition wants to see labels on all products outlining which
carcinogens are present and a campaign to educate the people on the
risks of being around hazardous substances.

Health Canada has already put a related program in place -- as of
November, cosmetics will have to show a list of ingredients.

While a list of ingredients is a great first step, it still puts the
onus on the consumer to research whether the chemicals listed are
potentially toxic, said Jordan Beischlag of the Canadian Cancer
Society's Ontario division.

Given that the average person can't pronounce many of the chemicals
being cited, let alone identify them, the society is also calling for
a visual symbol that immediately identifies a potential toxin -- much
like "recyclable" or "flammable" symbols.

"By having this user-friendly, well-known visual symbol that's
consistent across the province, it would be an easy way for a consumer
to make a healthy decision in what products they're buying," Beischlag
said.

The groups are working on the so-called "precautionary principle,"
which says that if a substance presents a potential threat to human
health, it's not worth taking a chance on.

An estimated 159,900 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in Canada this
year, of which 59,500 will be in Ontario, the report says.

If the toxins are unchecked, the study says, they will contribute to
tens of thousands of new cancer diagnoses each year. The most
vulnerable are pregnant women, fetuses, children, seniors and
aboriginals.

The report also calls for a surveillance system to estimate and
monitor people's levels of exposure to specific substances, and a need
to identify substances for action.

The findings have been presented to the three major political parties
in Ontario, just weeks before the Oct. 10 election, and each has said
a program to reduce the use of dangerous toxins will be central to
their platforms, Miller said.

The group also calls for the creation of a government-funded body that
would be dedicated to researching substitutes for toxic chemicals and
assisting industry in making the switch.

Copyright Copyright -- 940Montreal.com 2007

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From: U.S. News & World Report, Aug. 8, 2007
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HOW TO AVOID A CONTROVERSIAL PLASTICS CHEMICAL

By Adam Voiland

Scientists aren't in full agreement about whether the chemical known
as bisphenol A, which is used in the production of certain plastics
and can leach into food and drink, poses health hazards. Today, an
expert panel organized by the National Institutes of Health concluded
that the hormone-mimicking chemical poses minimal health risks
overall. But a statement made last week by 38 independent scientists
warned of a wide range of adverse health effects.

For people who want to play it safe and minimize their exposure to the
controversial chemical, experts have some tips: Avoid storing food or
beverages in polycarbonate plastic, which is often used to make baby
bottles and "sippy" cups, 5-gallon water cooler jugs, and hard,
transparent water bottles, among other products. And avoid canned
goods, since the linings of metal cans often contain bisphenol A. For
people who continue to use polycarbonate food and drink containers,
not heating them should also reduce exposure, says Frederick vom Saal
of the University of Missouri, who is a vocal critic of bisphenol A.
The acidity of a container's contents and the age and condition of the
polycarbonate can also affect how much of the chemical leaches into
food or drink, he adds.

Alternatives to polycarbonate include polyethylene and polypropylene
plastics, as well as glass. Both alternative plastics are usually
identifiable by recycling code, a number that should appear inside a
triangular symbol on each plastic container. The number 2 marks
polyethylene and the number 5, polypropylene, vom Saal says.
Polycarbonate doesn't have a unique recycling code, but it tends to be
assigned the code 7, a category for miscellaneous plastics. Various
online resources -- for examples, see here and here -- list products said to
be bisphenol A free.

Metal cans, according to studies, are a significant source of human
exposure to bisphenol A. And finding alternatives isn't simple. The
most reliable way to avoid bisphenol A from cans is to avoid using
them at all, according to vom Saal. "The breakdown of the plastic
lining of cans, or any [bisphenol A]-based product, is greatly
accelerated by acidic substances or alcohol," he says. For many canned
products, there are fresh or frozen alternatives, as well as products
that come packaged in glass.

Trade groups such as the American Chemistry Council and the Can
Manufacturers Institute stand behind the safety of polycarbonate.
Nevertheless, some manufacturers are seeking alternatives, and a few
are actively capitalizing on consumers' concern over bisphenol A. Born
Free touts its plastic baby products, including sippy cups, as being
free of the chemical. And Valspar, one of the largest makers of
plastic coatings, has been developing bisphenol A-free coatings for
cans.

Eden Foods, a Clinton, Mich.-based natural-foods company, sells beans
and tomato products in bisphenol A-free cans. The company switched in
1999 when its officers first learned of concerns about bisphenol A,
according to spokeswoman Tonya Martin. The manufacturing partner that
provides its cans, she says, seemed "taken aback" when Eden first
requested a bisphenol A-free product; now it provides Eden with
custom-made cans lined with an alternative material. The catch: That
material costs 14 percent more and can't be used with the tomato
products, which are acidic enough to corrode the lining and limit
shelf life. As a result, Eden's canned tomatoes still contain trace
amounts of bisphenol A, Martin says.

Whether such traces pose a risk to people remains unclear. The NIH-
organized expert panel that concluded its meeting today in Washington
registered some concern about bisphenol A's possible neurological and
behavioral effects, particularly in children and developing fetuses.
Its chair, Roger Chapin of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.,
acknowledged that concerned people may want to apply a "precautionary
principle" and take steps to avoid the chemical. But he and the
panel's other members, who reviewed hundreds of relevant studies, said
the chemical's health risks appear to be "minimal" overall. And many
regulatory agencies and numerous industry-sponsored studies say
there's no significant cause for worry.

Other experts remain unwilling to let the chemical off the hook.
There's enough evidence from animal studies to warrant concern,
especially for women who are pregnant or attempting to conceive, they
say. "The definitive study may not be possible," says Hugh Taylor,
chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at
Yale University School of Medicine. "Why not protect ourselves and the
next generation from this threat?"

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From: Environment News (Heartland Institute), Sept. 1, 2007
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ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST FUNDING, AGENDAS EXPOSED

By Jay Lehr, Ph.D.

Review of The Green Wave: Environmentalism and Its Consequences
by Bonner Cohen

T.S. Eliot once said, "half of the harm that is done in this world is
due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm--
but the harm does not interest them. Or they justify it, because they
are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."

Eliot said that long before real environmentalism existed, but can
anyone describe the environmental activist movement better?

Misguided Activism

Some people, observed columnist George Will, "use environmental causes
and rhetoric not for the purpose of environmental improvements, but
rather, for them, changing society's politics is the end, and
environmental policies are mere means to that end."

No one has ever exposed this movement better than Bonner Cohen in his
brief, 240-page paperback book. The text is actually less than 180
pages, as the rest contains tables of wonderful data exposing the
funding and power connections of the environmental fear-mongering
groups.

There are more than 8,000 environmental advocacy--or should we say
"obstacle"--groups in the United States today. This book deals with
the largest few dozen, not because the others are not important, but
to imprint upon the reader that in this David and Goliath battle, it
is American industry that is the David and the environmental
activists, with their vast resources, who are the Goliath.

This is a studious work not to be read quickly. It is in fact the
detailed history of an environmental scare industry intent on
defeating capitalism and pushing the world toward another socialist
experiment that they suppose will not renew the murderous treachery
and ultimate failure of the previous version.

Deadly DDT Ban

Cohen's summary of the terrible impact of withdrawing DDT from the
world's battle with malaria is as good as it gets. He notes that
global malaria death rates of 1,740 per million in 1930 were reduced
to 160 per million by 1970 primarily through the use of DDT.

In Sri Lanka, a hotbed of malaria in the 1940s, there were only 17
cases in 1963, but in 1968, after DDT was banned, there were more than
a million cases.

Cohen tells the sad story of how U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) Administrator William Ruckelshaus caved in to environmental
advocates' pressure when he banned DDT against the better judgment of
his own research investigators.

I knew Ruckelshaus from my days at Princeton University. When years
later I confronted him about this horrendous decision, he stuck to his
guns, ignoring the devastation it caused. I wonder if the man ever
sleeps at night.

Activist Agenda Debunked

Cohen's brief discourse on the Precautionary Principle, an absurd,
artificial, and unscientific policy intended to stifle human progress,
is excellent. He also exposes the concepts of sustainable development
and corporate social responsibility for the shams they are.

He does a great job explaining the importance of genetically modified
foods, which hold the primary hope of feeding future generations of an
expanding population. Cohen exposes the environmental activists'
strategy of depriving the world of genetically improved foods by
dividing their work among the more radical groups such as Greenpeace--
which insists on the removal of all bioengineered foodstuffs--and the
more moderate groups that claim to believe genetically improved crops
may have value but should not be released until more research is
completed.

Cohen points out there will never be enough research to satisfy these
groups.

None of us needs to read any more about global warming than what we
are now subjected to daily, but The Green Wave includes a nice summary
of what we do know, which is that man has not warmed the planet to any
significant degree and is totally incapable of altering its
temperature.

Activists' Distortions

A less well-known subject is how environmental activists distort the
facts about environmental mercury to suppress the building and use of
coal-fired power plants. Cohen explains mercury is a naturally
occurring element that is ubiquitous in the environment. Coal-burning
power plants account for less than 1 percent of total global mercury
deposition.

A well covered-up fact that exonerated coal-fired power plants was
mentioned in an EPA research project carried out at Princeton
University, where they discovered methylmercury levels in tuna were
the same in 1998 as they were in 1971, even though the number and
output of coal-burning power plants increased dramatically.

Similarly, Cohen does a good job explaining the endangered species
follies and conservation claims. Species protection, he explains, is
often just a ruse to slow economic growth and market activity.
Similarly, most of today's conservation movement does not provide the
common-sense cost/benefit ratios many expect.

Green Funding Exposed

While technically the book is excellent, economically it is
magnificent. Cohen exposes the budgets and sources of funding for the
major environmental fear-mongering groups. He points out most of the
groups are financed by once-levelheaded if not conservative
foundations, which upon the passing of their founders were hijacked by
their more liberal board members.

Bonner Cohen has made a fine contribution to honest environmental
issue literature. I recommend The Green Wave highly.

========================================================

Jay Lehr, Ph.D. (lehr@heartland.org) is science director for The
Heartland Institute.

HEARTLAND INSTITUTE
19 South LaSalle Street
Suite 903
Chicago, IL 60603
312.377.4000
think@heartland.org

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Rachel's Precaution Reporter offers news, views and practical
examples of the Precautionary Principle, or Foresight Principle, in
action. The Precautionary Principle is a modern way of making
decisions, to minimize harm. Rachel's Precaution Reporter tries to
answer such questions as, Why do we need the precautionary
principle? Who is using precaution? Who is opposing precaution?

We often include attacks on the precautionary principle because we
believe it is essential for advocates of precaution to know what
their adversaries are saying, just as abolitionists in 1830 needed
to know the arguments used by slaveholders.

Rachel's Precaution Reporter is published as often as necessary to
provide readers with up-to-date coverage of the subject.

As you come across stories that illustrate the precautionary
principle -- or the need for the precautionary principle --
please Email them to us at rpr@rachel.org.

Editors:
Peter Montague - peter@rachel.org
Tim Montague - tim@rachel.org

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:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Rachel's Precaution Reporter #104 "Foresight and Precaution, in the News and in the World" Wednesday, August 22, 2007...........Printer-friendly version www.rachel.org -- To make a secure donation, click here. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Featured stories in this issue...

Town Council in Australia Votes Down Genetically Modified Glo Fish
The Willoughby municipal council in New South Wales, Australia has
voted against allowing the glofish to be sold in its local government
area because the idea was "frivolous and against precautionary
principle."
Australian Doctor Warns About the Speed of Nanotech Development
"Those of us familiar with the precautionary principle feel
cautious about this," says Dr Tom Faunce. "We don't want to be
naysayers and doomsayers and unnecessarily raise public concern, but
there is a certain amount of concern that industry is pushing things
ahead too rapidly."
Developer Objects To Precaution for Land Use Planning in Australia
"The divisive issue is the introduction of new planning controls
that apply a 'precautionary principle' to development outside the city
centre. Brought in for two years, the measure restricts larger shops
setting up in the city's east, effectively stifling Gateway's planned
development."
Ontario Health Coalition Calls for Precaution on Carcinogens
"Pesticides, cosmetics, industrial cleaners and other products
containing potentially toxic chemicals should face tougher scrutiny
and regulation, said a coalition consisting of Cancer Care Ontario,
the Canadian Cancer Society, the Ontario Medical Association and
others."
How To Avoid a Controversial Plastics Chemical
"The definitive study may not be possible," says Hugh Taylor, chief
of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Yale
University School of Medicine. "Why not protect ourselves and the next
generation from this threat?"
Conspiracy Theorists Find a Bogeyman
"In this David and Goliath battle, it is American industry that is
the David and the environmental activists, with their vast resources,
who are the Goliath."

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From: North Shore Times (New South Wales, Australia), Aug. 17, 2007
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COUNCIL TELLS FISH TO 'GLO AWAY'

By Katrina Adamski

Imagine taking one of these glofish home to join your regular coloured
fishy friends.

Would the genetically-engineered glofish be an outcast? And just wait
until you see its party trick an inserted gene produces a protein
that makes them fluorescent.

But don't hold your breath waiting for them to appear in pet shops in
Willoughby. On Monday the council voted against allowing the glofish
in its local government area because the idea was "frivolous and
against precautionary principle."

Councillors instead voted for staff to prepare a draft policy to guide
the council in future issues relating to genetic engineering.

They were responding to a letter from the Commonwealth Government
Office of Gene Technology, seeking their position on releasing the
glofish to the public.

The fish, produced by Yorktown Technologies in America, is a small
aquarium fish with an inserted gene from coral or anemones.

Councillor Tony Mustaca said he was angered when he heard about the
brightly-coloured fish.

"I am against artificially creating things and I believe we should
have respect for all life forms," Cr [Councillor] Mustaca said.

"Creating new organisms can get out of hand and it is pushing the
evolution process too far I believe the risks outweigh the
benefits."

Mayor Pat Reilly voted in favour of drafting new policy to prevent
council being "inundated with even stranger requests."

"There are concerns about the glofish we will have to look into," Cr
Reilly said. "But as a person who has been genetically modified
myself (a liver transplant), I realise that science can bring about a
continuance of life.

"I acknowledge it is a different issue, but there is someone else's
genes in me and that is the way I look at it."
homesite.com.au

Copyright 2005-2006 Cumberland Newspaper Group

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From: ANU (Australian National University) Reporter, Aug. 17, 2007
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MAKING THE MOST OF SMALL DOSES

A doctor, lawyer, and all-round Renaissance man explores how Australia
can maintain its edge in nanomedicines.


Take a quick glance down Dr Tom Faunce's CV and the phrase Renaissance
man is likely to spring to mind. How could it not? He's worked as a
judge's associate to a High Court Justice, as a barrister and as a
senior registrar in an intensive care unit. His expertise in law and
medicine is also buttressed by a love of history, humanist philosophy
and art. The culture of the Renaissance and its antecedents, as it
happens, must also permeate his home life, given his wife's career as
a professor in medieval art.

Yet instead of viewing these fields as independent travellers, Faunce
aims to get law, medicine and ethics walking together on a common
path. The title of his prize-winning PhD thesis referred to the trio
as fellow pilgrims, drawing on humanist values to inform medicine and
human rights law. Faunce is a joint lecturer in law and medicine at
ANU, but such appointments haven't limited his movements to the
lecture hall and the lab. He's organised groups of his medical
students on field trips to the National Gallery of Australia because
looking at paintings, he argues, is an excellent way to awaken
humanist sensibilities.

"It helps to generate conscience," Faunce says. "Once you've got
conscience generated, it's easy to achieve coherence between ethics,
law and human rights. Part of the way I teach is to say that
conscience, ethics and international human rights are calibration
systems of the law. Then if students decide that the law is unjust,
that gives them an opportunity to debate it."

Just as he advocates a certain fluidity between different fields of
expertise, Faunce also manages a fluidity of scale in his research
interests. He's currently leading two projects funded by the
Australian Research Council (ARC). One is concerned with a major
document that spans nations -- the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between
Australia and the US. The other is narrowing in on miniscule
technologies in medicine -- nanotechnology.

"I was awarded an ARC grant in 2004 to look at the impact of
international trade agreements on medicines policy in Australia. I
interviewed almost all the pharmaceutical companies in Australia and
most of the members of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.
I came to the conclusion that the FTA with the US had altered the
regulatory environment so that there was an advantage for companies
that could promote themselves as 'innovative'.

"While a lot of that research was designed to protect the role of the
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme's cost effectiveness system as a social
equaliser -- one of the important components of egalitarianism in
Australian health policy -- I also felt that I wanted to look ahead as
to how we might take advantage of the trade deal, rather than just
being defensive about it."

Thinking about how the FTA could best serve Australia's interests,
Faunce became fascinated by the agreement's treatment of the word
'innovation'. In what sense was this four-syllable noun being used?
How was it to be interpreted? But before he started to grapple with
these questions, he decided to take the word at face value. After all,
there was an emerging field in which Australian innovations could make
a big splash on the world stage.

Faunce became aware of nanotechnology while helping to promote the
case of Richard White, an industrial sandblaster who'd contracted
silicosis because of exposure to toxic dust in the workplace. The
plight of silicosis sufferers was the subject of a Senate inquiry in
May 2006. Faunce says this was his first real exposure to the world of
nanoparticles, those tiny bits of matter that exist on a scale almost
beyond human comprehension. One nanometre is one billionth of a metre,
so many tens of millions of the things would easily fit on the full
stop at the end of this sentence. Just as they can be present in
industrial by-products, such as toxic dust, nanoparticles can also be
engineered into miniscule machines and structures for medical
purposes. While talking to the pharmaceutical companies for his ARC
project, Faunce became aware of new developments in nanomedicines. One
example is a patch that, when applied to the skin, would deliver
thousands of small doses of a medicine. Such a device would reduce the
need for syringes, earning the approval of the squeamish. By
capitalising on developments such as this, Faunce believes Australia
could propel itself to the forefront of the international nanomedicine
market.

But wait a minute. Is it a good idea to let armies of diminutive
devices go traipsing around inside our bodies? Given how close the
world of nano is to the quantum level, how are we to deal with the
inherent uncertainties of anything so small? What if the medicines
turn against us or escape into the environment? In a recent paper for
the Medical Journal of Australia, Faunce struck a note of caution. It
would be wise to proceed carefully, he advised, "given the novelty and
variety of products, high mobility and reactivity of engineered
nanoparticles, and blurring of the diagnostic and therapeutic
classifications of 'medicines' and 'medical devices'."

"Those of us familiar with the precautionary principle feel cautious
about this," he says. "We don't want to be naysayers and doomsayers
and unnecessarily raise public concern, but there is a certain amount
of concern that industry is pushing things ahead too rapidly."

Such concerns are being given a good airing by the Therapeutic Goods
Administration (TGA), the Federal body that oversees pharmaceutical
regulation in Australia. Faunce says the TGA is tending towards the
approach taken in the US, where the Federal Drug Administration adapts
existing regulatory processes to deal with nanomedicines. The argument
runs something like this: we've been dealing with substances with nano
components for some time, therefore the existing regulatory frameworks
are sufficient.

"On that basis they approved the use of nanoparticles in sunscreens,
saying they couldn't get beneath the dead outer layers of skin. But
what about kids with cuts, people with hairy or damaged skin, or skin
diseases like psoriasis? We know that nanoparticles preferentially
accumulate in the mitochondria, release free radicals and cause DNA
damage."

But Faunce argues that it would be wrong to simply look at the safety
risks of nanotechnology in isolation. "We should look at cost-
effectiveness as well. These new products are perhaps technically
innovative, but they're definitely going to be more expensive. Take a
plastic cannula, used to administer intravenous fluids, which may cost
you 25 cents. If you coat it with nanoparticles to make it less likely
that it's going to cause infection, that might be a great boon, but
it's going to be a lot more expensive. Something that was 25 cents is
now going to cost you five or ten dollars. Who's going to pay?"

In some ways, whether or not nanomedicines are safe and cost-effective
is less of a concern to Faunce than another question -- how can
Australian industries working in nanomedicine take advantage of the
changed regulatory architecture coming out of agreements like the FTA?
Back to that word 'innovation'.

It's possible to think of the FTA between Australia and the US as a
skyscraper, where the individual sections on topics like agriculture,
customs and telecommunications would be the various floors of the
tower. The subsections and clauses within those topics would make up
the hallways, walls and partitions. Take the elevator to the second
floor, forebodingly titled 'National Treatment and Market Access for
Goods', and wander down the hall, past the sections and schedules. Way
down the back, you'd eventually stumble on an unassuming room,
labelled Annex 2C. This small space might seem inconsequential viewed
in the context of the multi-levelled artifice. But Faunce believes
this veritable broom cupboard is much more important to Australia's
medical industry than one might suspect. In such a free trade
agreement, an annex allows an obligation to be imposed on one of the
parties -- in this case, mostly Australia. Annex 2C.1 requires that
drug regulatory processes have greater recognition for 'innovation'.

"What does recognition of innovation in medicine mean? Because it's
not defined, it can mean whatever industry claims it means," Faunce
says. "In the US, innovation is primarily an industry lobbying
principle for deregulation and markets called 'free', but really
controlled by those corporations powerfully able to enforce monopolies
and organise collusion towards a fiduciary agenda to enhance profits
with only peripheral interest in broader social values. Organisations
will label their own products and processes as 'innovative' in order
to pressure government officials and elected representatives into
creating favourable regulatory environments for pharmaceutical
producers, possibly to the detriment of consumers. Such a process
hasn't been sufficiently tested by democratic processes to become a
major driver for health policy in this country.

"Even though innovation is not defined in the trade deal, Annex 2C.1
of the Australia-US FTA does mention two approaches. One is the US
approach, where you determine innovation just by the operation of
competitive markets. If you use that approach in Australia, the
implication would be that you'd have to have much stronger involvement
of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in the
pharmaceutical industry to make sure it was actually competitive.

"The Australian approach to defining innovation is to use objectively
demonstrated therapeutic significance, which means published research
scrutinised by experts. If we are going to encourage an innovative
industry, maybe arguing that the Australian definition of innovation
is the way to go because it creates a much fairer playing field. The
US model would always place us at a disadvantage, because the US
market is so much bigger. But the Australian model means that
measuring innovation is really just a question of asking: how good is
our science?"

In order for Australia to take advantage of the FTA, Faunce says the
government must put enough effort into creating good science and good
published research.

"This is what concerns me most about the new Pharmaceutical Benefit
Scheme changes. They seem to be acquiescing to a US agenda to
gradually dismantle reference pricing and not to adequately focus on
linking our own generic and biotech pharmaceutical sector to the
education revolution in our universities. We have to have systematic
process of industry renewal, to make sure that industry has the right
sort of depreciation rates, taxation breaks, the right facilitation of
research clusters, and the right encouragements to attract and
encourage high-level staff. All of these things need to be put in
place and I'm not sure if enough attention has been paid to this.

"It would be a shame if we saw Australian start-up companies bought
out by larger overseas players and we really never had major industry
development here. It's not just the question of industry development
in Australia for its own sake, because we're nationalistic or
something, but because the Australian regulatory system is a really
good model for the rest of the world. We have a balance between public
goods and innovation in our regulatory processes that really needs to
be strengthened and preserved."

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From: Warrnambool Standard (Victoria, Australia), Aug. 17, 2007
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DEVELOPER BLASTS COUNCIL

By Shane Fowles

The Warrnambool City Council has been accused of reneging on an agreed
Gateway Plaza expansion that has cost developers about $8 million.

AMP Capital Investors (AMPCI) said the council had done a backflip on
a land deal under which the company helped fund a $1.75 million
council road project.

The company will meet with the council later this month to discuss the
backdown prompted by Warrnambool's draft retail strategy.

All legal avenues are being kept open ahead of the high-level talks.

The revelations followed the firm's warning that its $60 million plan
to bring Big W and Safeway to the plaza was seriously threatened by
the retail strategy.

In the agreement, AMPCI paid half the cost of Gateway Road and ceded
some of its land to the council.

In return, AMPCI agreed to rezone a 5100-square-metre block to allow
retail development.

The land is essential to facilitate the $60 million plans to set up
Big W and Safeway in the enlarged plaza.

That deal was struck in January after 18 months of negotiations.

When roadworks began in April, the council even cited the area's
significant expansion in needing the upgrade.

Now, before the north-south route has even been built, the council has
been accused of breaking its end of the bargain.

Having spent millions of dollars and years preparing for its major
expansion, AMPCI is seething.

"The removal of those development rights via the imposition of
interim planning controls... is unprecedented," its response to the
council's strategy said.

"Such a radical departure from established council policy undermines
investor confidence.

"That is an issue which AMPCI will be addressing appropriately beyond
this response."

The divisive issue is the introduction of new planning controls that
apply a "precautionary principle" to development outside the city
centre.

Brought in for two years, the measure restricts larger shops setting
up in the city's east, effectively stifling Gateway's planned
development.

AMPCI claims it had no reason to foresee the eastern precinct
development freeze which was imposed without warning.

Having been in talks for five years, the council never raised any
concerns about AMPCI's expansion strategy or its purchase of
additional land.

It was also fully aware that it needed a further 6000 square metres to
facilitate its vision, AMPCI said.

The company now fears the investment and 1700 jobs will be forced into
the hands of another south-west city because of planning
mismanagement.

The city's chief executive officer, Lindsay Merritt, has previously
said the next major anchor store's location would have a profound
impact on the future of the city.

The council has long argued that the CBD is the city's primary retail
area and its standing should be protected. Mr Merritt did not return
calls to The Standard yesterday.

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From: 940Montreal.com, Aug. 20, 2007
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ONTARIO HEALTH COALITION CALLS FOR PRECAUTION ON CARCINOGENS

Health coalition calls on Ontario to lead the way on environmental
carcinogens

TORONTO (CP) -- A coalition of health groups challenged the Ontario
government Monday to become the first jurisdiction in Canada to
aggressively target environmental carcinogens that they say will
continue to kill tens of thousands if politicians fail to act.

Pesticides, cosmetics, industrial cleaners and other products
containing potentially toxic chemicals should face tougher scrutiny
and regulation, said a coalition consisting of Cancer Care Ontario,
the Canadian Cancer Society, the Ontario Medical Association and
others.

The group's report also said manufacturers should be encouraged to
switch to alternatives that are less or not-at-all toxic.

Ontario lacks a strategy to reduce the poisons in our air and food and
revamping the system to be more progressive could cause a ripple
effect in other provinces, said Sarah Miller of the Canadian
Environmental Law Association, one of the groups involved.

"I think public opinion surveys demonstrate again and again that
people are very concerned about the environment," said Miller. "They
want more choices, and the right to know about what they're being
exposed to."

Toxins listed by the coalition include tobacco smoke, pesticides,
industrial soot and tar, asbestos, and exhaust. Even products found in
barbershops and hair salons are included.

The coalition wants to see labels on all products outlining which
carcinogens are present and a campaign to educate the people on the
risks of being around hazardous substances.

Health Canada has already put a related program in place -- as of
November, cosmetics will have to show a list of ingredients.

While a list of ingredients is a great first step, it still puts the
onus on the consumer to research whether the chemicals listed are
potentially toxic, said Jordan Beischlag of the Canadian Cancer
Society's Ontario division.

Given that the average person can't pronounce many of the chemicals
being cited, let alone identify them, the society is also calling for
a visual symbol that immediately identifies a potential toxin -- much
like "recyclable" or "flammable" symbols.

"By having this user-friendly, well-known visual symbol that's
consistent across the province, it would be an easy way for a consumer
to make a healthy decision in what products they're buying," Beischlag
said.

The groups are working on the so-called "precautionary principle,"
which says that if a substance presents a potential threat to human
health, it's not worth taking a chance on.

An estimated 159,900 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in Canada this
year, of which 59,500 will be in Ontario, the report says.

If the toxins are unchecked, the study says, they will contribute to
tens of thousands of new cancer diagnoses each year. The most
vulnerable are pregnant women, fetuses, children, seniors and
aboriginals.

The report also calls for a surveillance system to estimate and
monitor people's levels of exposure to specific substances, and a need
to identify substances for action.

The findings have been presented to the three major political parties
in Ontario, just weeks before the Oct. 10 election, and each has said
a program to reduce the use of dangerous toxins will be central to
their platforms, Miller said.

The group also calls for the creation of a government-funded body that
would be dedicated to researching substitutes for toxic chemicals and
assisting industry in making the switch.

Copyright Copyright -- 940Montreal.com 2007

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From: U.S. News & World Report, Aug. 8, 2007
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HOW TO AVOID A CONTROVERSIAL PLASTICS CHEMICAL

By Adam Voiland

Scientists aren't in full agreement about whether the chemical known
as bisphenol A, which is used in the production of certain plastics
and can leach into food and drink, poses health hazards. Today, an
expert panel organized by the National Institutes of Health concluded
that the hormone-mimicking chemical poses minimal health risks
overall. But a statement made last week by 38 independent scientists
warned of a wide range of adverse health effects.

For people who want to play it safe and minimize their exposure to the
controversial chemical, experts have some tips: Avoid storing food or
beverages in polycarbonate plastic, which is often used to make baby
bottles and "sippy" cups, 5-gallon water cooler jugs, and hard,
transparent water bottles, among other products. And avoid canned
goods, since the linings of metal cans often contain bisphenol A. For
people who continue to use polycarbonate food and drink containers,
not heating them should also reduce exposure, says Frederick vom Saal
of the University of Missouri, who is a vocal critic of bisphenol A.
The acidity of a container's contents and the age and condition of the
polycarbonate can also affect how much of the chemical leaches into
food or drink, he adds.

Alternatives to polycarbonate include polyethylene and polypropylene
plastics, as well as glass. Both alternative plastics are usually
identifiable by recycling code, a number that should appear inside a
triangular symbol on each plastic container. The number 2 marks
polyethylene and the number 5, polypropylene, vom Saal says.
Polycarbonate doesn't have a unique recycling code, but it tends to be
assigned the code 7, a category for miscellaneous plastics. Various
online resources -- for examples, see here and here -- list products said to
be bisphenol A free.

Metal cans, according to studies, are a significant source of human
exposure to bisphenol A. And finding alternatives isn't simple. The
most reliable way to avoid bisphenol A from cans is to avoid using
them at all, according to vom Saal. "The breakdown of the plastic
lining of cans, or any [bisphenol A]-based product, is greatly
accelerated by acidic substances or alcohol," he says. For many canned
products, there are fresh or frozen alternatives, as well as products
that come packaged in glass.

Trade groups such as the American Chemistry Council and the Can
Manufacturers Institute stand behind the safety of polycarbonate.
Nevertheless, some manufacturers are seeking alternatives, and a few
are actively capitalizing on consumers' concern over bisphenol A. Born
Free touts its plastic baby products, including sippy cups, as being
free of the chemical. And Valspar, one of the largest makers of
plastic coatings, has been developing bisphenol A-free coatings for
cans.

Eden Foods, a Clinton, Mich.-based natural-foods company, sells beans
and tomato products in bisphenol A-free cans. The company switched in
1999 when its officers first learned of concerns about bisphenol A,
according to spokeswoman Tonya Martin. The manufacturing partner that
provides its cans, she says, seemed "taken aback" when Eden first
requested a bisphenol A-free product; now it provides Eden with
custom-made cans lined with an alternative material. The catch: That
material costs 14 percent more and can't be used with the tomato
products, which are acidic enough to corrode the lining and limit
shelf life. As a result, Eden's canned tomatoes still contain trace
amounts of bisphenol A, Martin says.

Whether such traces pose a risk to people remains unclear. The NIH-
organized expert panel that concluded its meeting today in Washington
registered some concern about bisphenol A's possible neurological and
behavioral effects, particularly in children and developing fetuses.
Its chair, Roger Chapin of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.,
acknowledged that concerned people may want to apply a "precautionary
principle" and take steps to avoid the chemical. But he and the
panel's other members, who reviewed hundreds of relevant studies, said
the chemical's health risks appear to be "minimal" overall. And many
regulatory agencies and numerous industry-sponsored studies say
there's no significant cause for worry.

Other experts remain unwilling to let the chemical off the hook.
There's enough evidence from animal studies to warrant concern,
especially for women who are pregnant or attempting to conceive, they
say. "The definitive study may not be possible," says Hugh Taylor,
chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at
Yale University School of Medicine. "Why not protect ourselves and the
next generation from this threat?"

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From: Environment News (Heartland Institute), Sept. 1, 2007
[Printer-friendly version]

ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST FUNDING, AGENDAS EXPOSED

By Jay Lehr, Ph.D.

Review of The Green Wave: Environmentalism and Its Consequences
by Bonner Cohen

T.S. Eliot once said, "half of the harm that is done in this world is
due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm--
but the harm does not interest them. Or they justify it, because they
are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."

Eliot said that long before real environmentalism existed, but can
anyone describe the environmental activist movement better?

Misguided Activism

Some people, observed columnist George Will, "use environmental causes
and rhetoric not for the purpose of environmental improvements, but
rather, for them, changing society's politics is the end, and
environmental policies are mere means to that end."

No one has ever exposed this movement better than Bonner Cohen in his
brief, 240-page paperback book. The text is actually less than 180
pages, as the rest contains tables of wonderful data exposing the
funding and power connections of the environmental fear-mongering
groups.

There are more than 8,000 environmental advocacy--or should we say
"obstacle"--groups in the United States today. This book deals with
the largest few dozen, not because the others are not important, but
to imprint upon the reader that in this David and Goliath battle, it
is American industry that is the David and the environmental
activists, with their vast resources, who are the Goliath.

This is a studious work not to be read quickly. It is in fact the
detailed history of an environmental scare industry intent on
defeating capitalism and pushing the world toward another socialist
experiment that they suppose will not renew the murderous treachery
and ultimate failure of the previous version.

Deadly DDT Ban

Cohen's summary of the terrible impact of withdrawing DDT from the
world's battle with malaria is as good as it gets. He notes that
global malaria death rates of 1,740 per million in 1930 were reduced
to 160 per million by 1970 primarily through the use of DDT.

In Sri Lanka, a hotbed of malaria in the 1940s, there were only 17
cases in 1963, but in 1968, after DDT was banned, there were more than
a million cases.

Cohen tells the sad story of how U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) Administrator William Ruckelshaus caved in to environmental
advocates' pressure when he banned DDT against the better judgment of
his own research investigators.

I knew Ruckelshaus from my days at Princeton University. When years
later I confronted him about this horrendous decision, he stuck to his
guns, ignoring the devastation it caused. I wonder if the man ever
sleeps at night.

Activist Agenda Debunked

Cohen's brief discourse on the Precautionary Principle, an absurd,
artificial, and unscientific policy intended to stifle human progress,
is excellent. He also exposes the concepts of sustainable development
and corporate social responsibility for the shams they are.

He does a great job explaining the importance of genetically modified
foods, which hold the primary hope of feeding future generations of an
expanding population. Cohen exposes the environmental activists'
strategy of depriving the world of genetically improved foods by
dividing their work among the more radical groups such as Greenpeace--
which insists on the removal of all bioengineered foodstuffs--and the
more moderate groups that claim to believe genetically improved crops
may have value but should not be released until more research is
completed.

Cohen points out there will never be enough research to satisfy these
groups.

None of us needs to read any more about global warming than what we
are now subjected to daily, but The Green Wave includes a nice summary
of what we do know, which is that man has not warmed the planet to any
significant degree and is totally incapable of altering its
temperature.

Activists' Distortions

A less well-known subject is how environmental activists distort the
facts about environmental mercury to suppress the building and use of
coal-fired power plants. Cohen explains mercury is a naturally
occurring element that is ubiquitous in the environment. Coal-burning
power plants account for less than 1 percent of total global mercury
deposition.

A well covered-up fact that exonerated coal-fired power plants was
mentioned in an EPA research project carried out at Princeton
University, where they discovered methylmercury levels in tuna were
the same in 1998 as they were in 1971, even though the number and
output of coal-burning power plants increased dramatically.

Similarly, Cohen does a good job explaining the endangered species
follies and conservation claims. Species protection, he explains, is
often just a ruse to slow economic growth and market activity.
Similarly, most of today's conservation movement does not provide the
common-sense cost/benefit ratios many expect.

Green Funding Exposed

While technically the book is excellent, economically it is
magnificent. Cohen exposes the budgets and sources of funding for the
major environmental fear-mongering groups. He points out most of the
groups are financed by once-levelheaded if not conservative
foundations, which upon the passing of their founders were hijacked by
their more liberal board members.

Bonner Cohen has made a fine contribution to honest environmental
issue literature. I recommend The Green Wave highly.

========================================================

Jay Lehr, Ph.D. (lehr@heartland.org) is science director for The
Heartland Institute.

HEARTLAND INSTITUTE
19 South LaSalle Street
Suite 903
Chicago, IL 60603
312.377.4000
think@heartland.org

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