Friday, December 31, 2010

The high costs of 50 years of pesticide paranoia and the EPA

The progressives are destroying our way of life, piece by piece. The EPA, without benefit of Congressional oversight, continues to over-regulate with the sole purpose, not to correct known problems, but to gain control over major segments of the economy. Hopefully the new Republican House will be able to bring this to a screeching halt.

Government overreach led to November's voter revolt and congressional shake-up, but one wonders if President Obama is listening and will rein in his own administration, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA has been the progressive agenda's vehicle on climate change, pesticide regulation and other orders totaling 29 major regulations and 172 major policy rules, far outpacing previous presidential administrations.

The more challenging legislative road ahead could lead the EPA to an even more strident path in its regulatory overreach. This could spell bad news in particular for American farmers, when you consider the shaky foundations on which the EPA builds its regulatory cases.

Why does the government increasingly seek to quash the technologies that make the American farmer so phenomenally productive?

Thank Rachel Carson. Children are still taught the environmentalist's 1962 book, "Silent Spring," showing DDT thinning out bird eggshells and leading to the American bald eagle's extinction.

Despite thorough debunking of the "Silent Spring" morality tale, Carson's pioneering scare tactic has been endlessly replicated against one useful chemical after another.

The result is toxic policy that be counted in the needless deaths of millions of Africans from malaria, countless preventable illnesses, and more threats today against the livelihoods of farmers across America. You can learn more about this in my "Pesticide Activism: Fifty Years of Panic and Propaganda."

With DDT demonized, the EPA's political leadership found it easy to ban it as a possible human carcinogen. (In fact, a 1997 Harvard medical study found no link between DDT exposures and cancers of any type.)

Carson's formula was repeated with greater success against Alar, a plant-growth regulator used to manage apple ripening. The anti-pesticide activists at the Natural Resources Defense Council mounted a campaign in the 1980s to force the EPA to conduct an absurd experiment of pumping mice with doses of a breakdown product of Alar that were more than 100,000 times the highest estimate of a preschooler's daily intake.

Read the full Washington Examiner article here.

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