News Recap 10-15-21
The Wall Street Journal: Partisan Science in America — Professor Gary Morson argues that trust in science is eroding due to over-politicization in a recent op-ed: “The greater danger to the public’s trust in science comes not from the uneducated but from politicians and journalists who claim to speak in the name of science. Still more, it comes from scientists themselves, either because of what they say publicly in the name of science or their failure to correct others’ misrepresentations of it.”
The Hill: EPA Closer to Unveiling Plan for Tackling ‘Forever Chemicals’ — The EPA will soon unveil a plan to address what it sees as “inadequate” regulations on a class of toxic chemicals that disproportionately affects vulnerable groups, according to documents obtained by The Hill. Two of the EPA’s planned objectives, according to the documents, include establishing voluntary programs to control PFAS use and identifying federal actions and partnerships.
Today: Phthalates, the ‘Everywhere Chemical,’ Linked to Premature Deaths in New Study — A new study estimates phthalate exposure may lead to about 100,000 premature deaths among Americans in their 50s and 60s each year. The FDA says that it’s not clear what effect, if any, phthalates have on human health; and the CDC believes that more research is needed to measure the health effects of exposure to phthalates on humans.
The Hill: It’s Past Time to Abolish Punitive Damages — The authors argue that punitive damages—unconstitutional in some states but not all—restrict consumer choice and dampen innovation, particularly in the scientific fields. “Could the pharmaceutical industry, thankfully afforded special liability protection by federal law, have gotten so many effective COVID vaccines into arms so fast if faced with this jackpot justice?”
The Wall Street Journal: A Crisis of Confidence in America’s Tap Water — Aging infrastructure and chemical pollution have led to high-profile cases of contamination from Michigan to West Virginia and beyond. The EPA has prioritized improving water systems in rural and low-income communities, where problems can include pesticides in agricultural runoff; pharmaceuticals that pass through water treatment plants; discharges from factories, power plants and coal mines; and underground injection of industrial waste.