Health

Mick Jagger on Chemical Reform

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 […]

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Supreme Court: North Carolina Tort Plaintiffs Can’t Sue for Latent Injuries from Contaminated Sites

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 […]

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Quantifying Environmental Justice (& Injustice) in California–An Update

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 […]

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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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