Expanding Ban on Plastics Chemical is Bad Science
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) decision to sign a statewide ban on phthalates, a chemical found in plastics, follows "a California tradition of misguided, often damaging 'health' regulations," Henry Miller, a physician and fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) "is eager to expand California's folly to the entire nation," Miller says. Feinstein introduced a bill in the Senate that would ban six types of phthalates in toys, he writes, adding, "Undeterred by the judgment of experts but swayed by a few experiments with rats and a single flawed epidemiological study ... Feinstein's legislation ignores the basic principles of toxicology."
"Numerous studies have shown that human exposure to phthalates under ordinary circumstances is low and harmless," Miller states. He writes that Feinstein's argument is flawed because rat studies often "do not predict effects on humans," and "the mere presence of something in the body does not imply harm."
He concludes, "The public is harmed when lawmakers proscribe the use of a product that has been proved safe and useful ... Feinstein's bill represents bad science, bad law and disregard for public interest" (Miller, Los Angeles Times, 12/18).