Cowardly “capitalists” keep caving in to demands from business-hating lefties. The American Council on Safety and Health points out that:
The chemical manufacturer Albemarle bought a full-page ad in yesterday's USA Today announcing their shift to more “environmentally-friendly” flame retardants. The ad mentions that they're phasing out one of their biggest-selling products, decaBDE, because, “While this flame retardant has saved lives for decades, and the safety of the product has been extensively studied with no evidence of adverse effects to humans, some stakeholders have voiced concerns.”
In a reasonable world, the company would tell “some stakeholders” to go away and get a life. But in today’s litigious, over-regulated world, it is safer to cave to anti-chemical hysterics.
ACSH's Jeff Stier:
“Their product is safe, but they're taking it off the market because some so-called 'environmental groups' voiced concern about health effects even though the claims are not supported by science. By phasing out the product for no reason other than activist complaints, they're handing over corporate governance to the activists.”
Albemarle and ACSH cannot prove that decaBDE is absolutely safe. It is one of a family of chemicals called PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers); one study claimed:
Women who are exposed to a common chemical that's used as a flame retardant may take longer to become pregnant …
"Women with high PBDE levels were 30 to 50 percent less likely to become pregnant in any given month than women with lower levels," said lead researcher Kim Harley, an adjunct assistant professor of maternal and child health and associate director of the Center for Children's Environmental Health Research at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health...
I suspect that people who work for university departments with titles like “Children’s Environmental Health” are disposed to find environmental risks everywhere. Though at least in this case, the researcher admits that she doesn’t know that the replacement for the chemical will be better.
"We know even less about the newer flame-retardant chemicals that are coming out," Harley said. "There has been even less research on these chemicals."
Great. What’s seldom discussed is that the money spent that will now be spent on newer, “greener,” more expensive and possibly less effective fire retardants could have been used for something else. A cure for cancer? A family trip to a hockey game? I don’t presume to know what that “something else” might have been, but I bet it’s more socially valuable than re-tooling a factory to get rid of a flame retardant after so little human research has been done.