Category Archive: Public Policy

California Lawmakers Plan to Ban Fracking by 2027

A new bill in California could completely end all fracking in the nation’s third-largest state by area.  The legislation, proposed by Democratic State Senators Scott Wiener and Monique Limon, will halt all new oil and gas permits by the end of the year and completely outlaw the practice of fracking by 2027.  Hydraulic fracking is the process of tapping natural gas earth’s crust by splitting layers of rock to release the gas. Natural gas is a carbon-based energy source used to heat homes, run stoves, and power entire cities. Wiener said that the legislation is essential to help end climate change.  “This is...

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Andrew Cuomo Ignores Nuclear Energy in $26B Green Energy Plan

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his plan to help the economy and environment of the Empire State by implementing a massive green energy scheme.  Cuomo announced that New York could be spending billions of dollars to expand solar and wind power in the state. His plan includes the development of two new offshore wind farms off of Long Island and 68 other large-scale onshore wind and solar farms.  The governor claimed that this large project will help New York achieve its goal of having the power grid run on 70 percent renewable energy by the year 2030.  While the plan has billions...

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Measles Resurgence Shows Its Time To Change How We Talk About Vaccines

This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) cited vaccine hesitancy as a top global health threat. The viral spread of anti-vaccine information (pun very much intended) is leading to a resurgence of measles in the United States, where inoculations are readily available as part of the MMR and MMR-V vaccines. More than 300 people have contracted measles in New York, roughly 100 cases have emerged in the Pacific Northwest, and additional outbreaks are springing up in California, Texas, and Illinois. Affluent parents opting out of vaccination stands in stark contrast to an ongoing measles outbreak in Madagascar – where many want...

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Keeping Up With The Chemophobia

The latest episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians chronicles Kourtney Kardashian’s day advocating for cosmetic reform on Capitol Hill. The reality TV star-turned lobbyist teamed up with Environmental Working Group (EWG) to convince lawmakers that cosmetics are unsafe, and to pass sweeping legislation to change how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) handles cosmetics. Kardashian thoroughly prepared her pitch, purportedly asking her friend, “The House of Representatives. Is that what it’s called?” over lunch at a local steakhouse. Let us help you out, Kourt. Currently, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requires all cosmetics be substantiated for safety before reaching the...

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E15 Fuel: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Trump Administration recently decided to allow gasoline stations to sell E15 – which is shorthand for gasoline with a 15 percent blend of ethanol – to be sold year-round. Right now, most gasoline sold in the U.S. is E10, or a 10 percent ethanol blend. As a biofuel, ethanol is praised for its environmental friendliness for reducing the use of fossil fuels, but that praise comes with a few caveats. Older vehicles can’t use E15 without risking corrosion and engine failure. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-commissioned emissions testing also indicates that some vehicles that are able to pass emissions standards while running...

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Blame Outdated Law, Not Science, For The Latest Artificial Flavor Cancer Scare

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is giving food manufacturers 2 years to remove a handful of artificial flavors from drinks, baked goods, ice cream and other foods for having ties to cancer in laboratory animals. Sounds like a straightforward situation, right? Spoiler alert: it's not. The change sprang from a petition arguing that since megadoses of six ingredients — benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, methyl eugenol, myrcene, pulegone and pyridine — cause cancer in laboratory animals, their use as food additives breaks federal law. However, even as the agency announced the ban, it was sure to specify that all the banned ingredients “are unlikely...

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How Much Money Did Your State Lose to California’s Cancer Labeling Law? Read the Report.

The Center for Accountability in Science is proud to announce the release of the 2018 Proposition 65 State Impact Report, a first of its kind overview ranking states by how much money local businesses lost settling Proposition 65 lawsuits. Although we’ve been writing about the harms of Proposition 65 for some time, the California law recently caught national attention for requiring cancer warnings on coffee despite firm scientific consensus that coffee does not cause cancer in humans. Apparently, unjustifiable cancer warnings on one of the world’s most heavily consumed beverages was the catalyst consumers needed to understand exactly how flawed Proposition...

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Major Papers Start to Agree: California’s Environmental Law Is A Disaster

This week, a Bloomberg news story opened with this curious note: “If you happen to buy a cup of coffee in California and it comes with a cancer warning, don’t panic -- it’s just the law.” That law, Proposition 65, has been the bane of California businesses for over 30 years. It requires warnings on products and places which may expose consumers to chemicals “known to the state of California” to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm. Trouble is, California apparently “knows” more than the EPA, FDA, NIH, and the litany of toxicologists who study harmful substances for a living. The state labels items as...

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Child Fire Safety Goes Up In Flames with Government Ban

This morning, the Consumer Product Safety Commission decided on a party-line vote to ban organohalogen flame retardants from children’s products, furniture, mattresses, and electronics. Surely it would make sense to ban them if every organohalogen flame retardant (try saying that five times fast) were more dangerous than the fires they prevent. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that’s not the case. But first, what are “organohalogen flame retardants” anyway? Their name is pretty revealing - they’re a class of organic compounds that contain a halogen molecule (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, or iodine) attached to a carbon atom, and they prevent the spread of fires. Materials...

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How Do Solar Eclipse Glasses Work? Chemistry. 

In just a few hours, Americans will witness the first total solar eclipse to touch coast-to-coast in almost 100 years. If reactions to past galactic news are any indication, for a brief few days, interest in science and technology will spike. After all, how often does the average person find themselves wondering how NASA calculates the path of an eclipse years in advance, or what makes solar eclipse sunglasses so darn special? (Spoiler: many lenses reduce the intensity of visible light and UV rays using black polymer, a flexible resin infused with carbon particles. Score 1 for chemistry.) But it shouldn’t take a once-in-a-century event...

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