Posts Tagged ‘ precautionary principle ’

Health Regulation page goes live!

The Health Regulation page is relevant to internationalcomparisons.org for several reasons. Let’s highlight a couple of the most critical:

This is pretty straight forward. A great example is the link between child advertising and child obesity. U.S. advertisers spend $15-17 billion annually on advertisements targeting children. As a direct result, 35% of U.S. children are obese. Only Italy and the UK have rates over 25% in the EU which restricts advertisement to children by the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive which mandates that child advertisement:

a. shall not directly exhort minors to buy a product or a service by exploiting their inexperience or credulity;
b. shall not directly encourage minors to persuade their parents or others to purchase the goods or services being advertised;
c. shall not exploit the special trust minors place in parents, teachers or other persons;
d. shall not unreasonably show minors in dangerous situations;
e. Children’s programs may only be interrupted if the scheduled duration is longer than 30 minutes;
f. Product placement is not allowed in children’s programs;
g. The Member States and the Commission should encourage audiovisual media service providers to develop codes of conduct regarding the advertising of certain foods in children’s programs.

  • The U.S. is the most reluctant advanced democracy to apply the precautionary principle.

In spite of pumping out nearly 20 new chemicals per day (according to Craig Collins’ Toxic Loopholes), the U.S. somehow still doesn’t find it necessary to have tighter policy to regulate the safety of those chemicals. The precautionary principle can be described as a method of policy making by which all chemicals are considered dangerous until proven harmless. Instead, U.S. chemical policy treats the unpredictable agents as innocent until proven guilty. Even once harm is associated with the chemical, certain systemic pitfalls have made it almost impossible to get such chemicals banned. The EU has banned over 1,000 chemicals; the U.S., in spite of the prolific rates at which new chemicals are produced, has banned a laughable total of nine chemicals. Wider application of the precautionary principle could have saved us the multifaceted and widespread hazards from PCBs. Without such tests required, who knows what we’re risking with GMOs and U.S. backed Monsanto initiatives.

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A look at Prop 37: California and the EU

Even though genetically modified (GM) food hasn’t yet been proven as hazardous, there’s plenty of reason to error on the side of caution and alert consumers with a label. California’s Proposition 37 would be one step closer to applying the logic of the precautionary principle–that a chemical is assumed hazardous until proven otherwise–, an application the US and the well outdated TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) has failed to execute, falling far behind other countries (95% of over 65,000 chemicals have yet to be tested at all here in the US as reported in the “Notes” section on our Environment page). Before entertaining the question whether the precautionary principle demands too much regulation, one should note that new chemicals are being synthesized at incredible rates and there’s little to nothing being done to inhibit them from entering into our every day lives (via our water at home, or even our bottled water, just as an example). Not only has the EU mandated GM labels for over 15 years (as well as Australia since 2000), but they have also banned thousands of hazardous chemicals with help from the application of the precautionary principle (compared to a mere five chemicals banned by TSCA since its induction in 1976). It’s about time that we not only depend on deeper enrichment of consumer knowledge and the power of the consumer’s dollar, but also introduce and implement a wider, further reaching application of the precautionary principle. Hopefully Prop 37 not only passes, but proves the first step of urgent progression in US chemical and food policy.