If you’re inclined to doubt science, why not start with the germ theory of disease? After all, isn’t it implausible that illness, death, and even mass epidemics are caused by tiny invisible organisms that invade our bodies? And what’s the evidence for that, really? Just the findings of scientists who can get big grants from […]
FDA has stalled for 30 years in regulating antibiotics in animal feed. A court says that's O.K.
The FDA seems to be convinced that current use of antibiotics in animal feed is a threat to human health. But the Second Circuit ruled recently in NRDC v. FDA that EPA has no duty to consider banning their use. That may seem ridiculous, but actually it’s a very close case legally. The court’s discussion of Massachusetts […]
New Pritzker Brief from UCLA Law on Making Public Transit Work
Fellow blogger Ethan Elkind has spent a lot of time researching the history, politics, and future of transit in California. Earlier this year he published Railtown, a fascinating portrait of the fight over development of the L.A. Metro rail system, revealing the degree to which that development has been driven by good old-fashioned politics and even intrigue […]
Vermont's new chemical program looks to be a mixed bag
Vermont just joined the posse of states taking chemical regulation reform into their own hands in the face of inaction in Congress. Last week the Green Mountain State enacted a new law covering chemicals in children’s products. (A children’s product is defined as “any consumer product, marketed for use by, marketed to, sold, offered for […]
Court holds that federal law doesn't preempt state statutes of repose
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger. In this case, which my colleague Jesse Lueders described and analyzed in detail here and here, the Court had to decide whether state statutes of repose can bar tort lawsuits by people harmed by latent injuries from toxic contamination, by imposing […]
For the past few days we have all been focused—justifiably—on the EPA’s proposed carbon rule for power plants. But that’s not all EPA and the rest of the federal government have been up to recently. Today a federal interagency working group established under Executive Order 13650, Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security (“EO 13650”) issued […]
California Improves an Already-Powerful Environmental Justice Analytical Tool
A year ago, I wrote about an important environmental justice initiative pioneered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and its subsidiary entity, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. That 2013 initiative, titled CalEnviroScreen, divided up the State of California by zip code, applied 11 environmental health and pollution factors, assessed each of the state’s […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]