Health

Biofuels and Food Prices

hunger + corn

A recent economics paper suggests strongly that biofuels have raised food prices for the world's poor.

Berkeley economist Brian Wright has a disquieting article in the Winter 2014 issues of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, which just crossed my desk.  JEP is published by the American Economic Association and is a great resource for those of us who are interested in economics but aren’t professional economists.  This article is a case in […]

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When Cooking Can Kill

Cookstove  Use in Darfur

Cookstoves are a major threat to health in developing countries, while also wreaking environmental damage.

Cooking dinner, as it turns out, is one of the most serious public health and environmental problems in the world. There’s a common misperception that environmental concerns are just a First World luxury.  But the cookstove example shows that the global poor, too, are in need of better, more efficient, less polluting energy sources. Here […]

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The Food Safety Paradox

mr yuck

As Tom McGarity documents in his recent book, Freedom to Harm, the American food safety system is in disarray.  You’d think we’d all be wiped out by food poisoning.  Yet, the rate of sickness caused by bad food seems to have remained constant since the mid-nineties.  What’s going on? McGarity and others are right about the […]

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Jeudi Gras – The Great American Holiday

Thanksgiving dinner

Jeudi Gras means”Fat Thursday” in English.  It would probably be a better name for the holiday than the current one.  Let’s face it: for most of us, the day involves a bit of giving thanks and a much larger amount of pigging out like there’s no tomorrow.  As the NY Times points out, this wouldn’t be […]

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A Second Helping of Chicken and Salmonella

Salmonella

Food safety levels leave plenty of room at the table for salmonella

Last week on Legal Planet, Dan Farber posted about the surprising regulatory inattention paid to food safety, using as example the latest chicken salmonella outbreaks in the U.S. (see “Playing Chicken with Food Safety,” 10/20/13).  This post picks up from there, to mention that while the recent incidents highlight the chicken-salmonella problem, they don’t quite […]

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Playing Chicken With Food Safety

chicken-farm-inside

Food safety doesn't get the attention it deserves from regulators. Case in point: the latest Salmonella outbreak.

Food safety is something of a step-child of U.S. regulation.  The public obviously cares about it, but it lacks the kind of attention from advocacy groups that the environment gets.  The results have not been pretty. Food safety is divided between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (for […]

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Calfiornia Bans Lead Ammunition

New Law Is Welcome, But Probably Won't Take Full Effect Until 2019

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation that will ban the use of lead ammunition in California by hunters. In approving AB 711 (Rendon), Brown withstood furious lobbying efforts by the National Rifle Association and some (but not all) hunting organizations, who had urged the Governor to veto the legislation. AB 711 was supported by […]

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Happy Birthday, TSCA!

With the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) celebrating its 37th birthday today, I was thinking what we should get it as a birthday gift.  Here’s one idea; how about a little respect.  I’ve blogged before about how the statute has become one of the most denigrated environmental laws on the books.  It seems that every […]

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New Chemical Regulations Go Live in California

Making Prevention Real?

Today, after years of discussions and drafts, California’s new Safer Consumer Product regulations take effect.  They create a comprehensive chemicals regulatory scheme having three steps: identification and prioritization of consumer products containing chemicals of greatest concern (“product-chemical combinations”); performance of “alternative analyses” by the manufacturers of those high priority product-chemical combinations; and selection of regulatory responses […]

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Eco-Nutrition Labels

Increasingly, consumers want to know where their food comes from, how it is produced, and what impact their choices are having on the environment.  The standard “Nutrition Facts” label provides information on ingredients and calories, but says nothing about where a food came from, nor the energy and natural resources expended in its production. Is […]

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