News Recap for 10-2-20
RealClear Science: Juries’ Scientific Guesswork Has No Place in Courts — In his latest piece for RealClear Science, Joseph Annotti argues that courtrooms too often make pivotal decisions based on emotion and guesswork rather than settled science. “A recent poll of Americans conducted by the Center for Truth in Science found that 61% of those surveyed believe juries should not award settlements unless there is consistent scientific evidence to do so. In fact, they believe that juries themselves are not qualified to make statements or decisions about the safety of a product or ingredient. Rather, respondents believe that court-appointed panels of independent scientific experts are the “gold standard” when it comes to determining settled science amongst contradictory and conflicting claims.”
Reuters: ‘Take home’ lawsuits over COVID infections could be costly for U.S. employers — U.S. businesses with COVID-19 outbreaks are facing an emerging legal threat from claims that workers brought coronavirus home and infected relatives, which could cost businesses up to $21 billion if the number of Americans fatalities reaches 300,000, according to a firm that evaluates risks for insurers. Take-home cases have been around for decades in asbestos litigation and courts have split on whether a business has an obligation to members of the public who have never been on their premises.
Food Safety News: Water and chemicals that never go away are subjects of Consumer Reports cover story — The new Consumer Reports (CR) focuses on safe drinking water—zeroing in on a lawsuit brought by a Pennsylvania attributing negative health impacts to PFAS. The water issue reports on testing of 47 bottled water brands, of which 43 of them containing PFAS above CR’s suggested 1 parts per trillion limit (for reference, the Environmental Protection Agency set a guideline of 70 parts per trillion). CR recommends Congress set a national standard for PFAS regulation, impacting both tap and bottled water.
U.S. News & World Report: 2 Wells for Drinking Water Near Naval Base Contaminated — Two wells bordering Naval Base Kitsap’s southern edge have been found to have potentially harmful levels of PFAS. Of the 292 wells sampled by the Navy in February, 83 showed some level of PFAS, the Navy said. Two wells were found to have more than 70 parts per trillion of PFAS compounds—an amount that triggers the EPA to issue a lifetime health advisory.
Salon: A judge just dismissed efforts to stop pesticides and GMO crops from being used in wildlife refuges — A Washington federal court dismissed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after a pair of nonprofit groups sued the agency for reversing previous bans on specific insecticides and genetically modified organisms (GMO) in national wildlife refuges. Critics worry this will allow genetically modified plants engineered to resist herbicides like glyphosate to be grown in refuges.