Tuesday, June 2, 2009

CPSIA - More Science on Phthalates

As noted yesterday, the data on phthalates from recent studies challenges the panic-stricken construct of California or Federal legislation banning of six (or in the case of CA, seven)phthalates. Reasonable doubts about the consumer advocates' position on these chemicals make the astounding losses from contraband phthalate inventory all the more painful.

Now comes a new study from New York that provides evidence that animal abnormalities from (high) doses of phthalates are not being seen in humans. In other words, in this study of congenital defects in New York State births from 1992-2005, the authors could not find evidence of correlation to any risk factor other than advanced maternal age (whatashock). Animal abnormalities were not replicated in humans from exposure to phthalates. Hmmm.

Digging deeper, a recently updated article by STATS (according to their website, "a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization affiliated with the George Mason University") indicates that according to the National Institutes of Health, the majority of phthalate intake is from . . . food (meat and fish), responsible for 85-90% of intake in adults, and 45-60% in infants, the rest from dust. Toys as a source of phthalates is seemingly deemed by STATS to be minimal, just as the NPR article and audio clip contends. Not surprisingly, STATS confirms that the fear in the streets over phthalates derives from one questionable report by one ardent scientist. The STATS article calls much of that study into question, and presents considerable data which correlates to the CPSC study discounting the risk of phthalates found in toys. They also note that the media has not picked up on this one yet - maybe good news doesn't sell papers???

Ugh.

Perhaps we have all been so assaulted by movies about dread diseases and evil corporate conspiracies that we are now prone to believe the worst of everything and of everyone. One scientist with a passionate distrust of a substance can sweep up a lot of support from conspiracy theorists with a prejudice against business. There is also a strong distrust of scientific pushback on these "discoveries". By using accusations of conflicts of interest to marginalize dissent, fear mongers are able to exploit these questionable studies to promote legislation like the CPSIA (or even Mr. Waxman's dream legislation, the Kid-Safe Chemical Act, designed to change all regulation of chemicals to "precautionary"-style, just like our old friend the CPSIA).

The conspiracy theorists can only hold sway over your country and your society if you let them. This is your country and your Congress. Hold them to account.

2 comments:

Rick Woldenberg, Chairman - Learning Resources Inc. said...

For more info, check out Michael Shaw's blog on this same subject: http://ecologic.typepad.com/shaws_ecologic/2009/06/rodent-study-scares-on-endocrine-disruptors-do-not-pan-out-for-humans.html

Lucky Pebble said...

Thanks Rick.