The emotion of a human being is like an elephant, while our reason is like a little rider on the back, according to academic Jonathan Haidt. Of course, the rider may be able to control the elephant, but if the elephant says no and digs in his heels, there is nothing the rider can do about it.
What is really frightening, however, is when the elephant is convinced that it is the one behaving reasonably: a phrase like “believe the science” sounds somewhat cult given that science is based on verifiable evidence. rather than beliefs. We see it now with a debate over a group of chemicals that the so-called progressives have made haram, even though these chemicals are essential to our modern quality of life.
Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a diverse family of chemicals manufactured in the United States since the 1940s. According to the EPA, PFAS are used in a variety of industries, including food packaging, commercial household products, electronics, paints, etc.
Now. Despite the fact that said environmental protection agency does not mention PFAS in its main list of common sources of drinking water contaminants, environmentalists have targeted it. Currently, the PFAS Action Act requires the EPA to designate PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances and remove them from our daily lives.
The PFAS Action Act is co-sponsored in the House by New Hampshire Representatives Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas, and in the Senate by Senator Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen. They have all made attacks on PFAS a regular part of their political rhetoric.
Rather than acknowledging the science that there are over 5,000 different types of PFAS that should be treated differently, this hastily drafted piece of legislation puts them all – in rather unscientific ways – into one basket.
The PFAS action law would drain money and resources, and serve as a gift to greedy trial lawyers pushing baseless claims.
If history is any guide, broad product bans end up doing more harm than good. Government overreactions fueled by emotion and media anecdotes tend to create more chaos and confusion than if public policy were based on logic instead.
When the ridiculously named mad cow disease was discovered in 2003, panic erupted around the world. American ranchers and processors lost an estimated $ 11 billion from 2004 to 2007 after import bans … even though there have only been six mad cow cases since 2003. Almost as mad as New Zealand in full closure due to a case of COVID.
Another example is the “beepocalypse”, when genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and insecticides have been blamed for letting large numbers of bees abandon their colonies. Current science suggests viruses were to blame, and bee populations have been on the rise for more than a decade. However, attacks and baseless bans of GMOs and insecticides have damaged the agricultural sector across the world.
These overreactions are like, pardon the idiom, killing a fly with an elephant gun. Similar actions against PFAS would wreak havoc on the global economy.
We wouldn’t have affordable smartphones without PFASs, which play a role in everything from semiconductors to data center coolants. Currently, the world is suffering from a global semiconductor shortage, and heavy regulations would increase costs for the 275 million smartphone users in the United States. Moreover, they would make mobile devices unaffordable for the unbanked people of the developing world whose phones allow cheap access to financial services they never would have had before.
PFAS chemicals also play a vital role in the medical industry. In addition to their use in a variety of life-saving medical devices, PFAS polymers are essential for gowns and drapes, as their contamination resistance properties reduce infections. Single-use gown and drape sets offer the highest rates of disease control, according to the American Journal of Infection Control, and are only affordable with PFAS.
Considering the COVID-sized elephant in the room, it seems like now is a really bad time to make it easier for people to catch illnesses when they are in the hospital.
These compounds even play an essential role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars. Modern on-road emissions standards would be unachievable without PFAS, according to PlasticsEurope.
In addition, thanks to the cleaning efforts of DuPont, Chemours, 3M, Daikin Industries Ltd. and others, the amount of pollution from PFAS is decreasing. Since 2000, average blood levels of PFOS and PFOA have declined by 84 and 70 percent, according to the CDC, while other recent reports showing that U.S. water bodies contain only traces of PFAS, and are on the declinee.
The histrionic and grandiose efforts to tackle this group of benign but beneficial chemicals have no scientific basis. America couldn’t afford this kind of over-regulation under normal circumstances, let alone while we are recovering from the coronavirus. The elephant must let the rider lead this time.