5. TODAY’S FOCUS:
THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN REGULATING HOW
STUFF IS MADE
_Government: Local, State, National
Sex and Plastic
Shift in US Environmental Policy
_International: Precautionary Principal
9. CAN INVERTED QUARANTINE EVEN WORK?
“Practicing inverted quarantine
exacts a psychic toll, … requires
that one organize one’s whole
existence around the perceived
need to erect and forever maintain
barriers through constant and
repetitive acts of monitoring,
avoidance, separation and
enclosure. (It) would have to
become the organizing principle
for the conduct of every day life.“
10. CONSEQUENCES OF INVERTED QUARANTINE:
Inverted quarantine changes people’s experience. It alters their
perception of their situation. Their sense of being at risk
diminishes. The feeling, correct or not, that they have done
something effective to protect themselves reduces the urgency
to do something more abut what, until then, felt threatening to
them. If many people experience such a reduction in urgency, that
will have consequences in a democracy.
“Political anesthesia” – reduction in urgency, having taken care of
12. RISE OF EU, DECLINE OF US
America used to lead the world in protecting its citizens from
Over the last 15+ years, the EU began to lead the way in establishing
stronger environmental standards.
Other countries are banning toxic chemicals that Americans still use.
13. WHY THE SHIFT IN POWER?
1989: Montreal Protocol– led by the US – to ban ozone-depleting
2001: POPS convention: Stockholm Convention on Persistent
Bush signed just after he took ofﬁce in 2001, but it was never
ratiﬁed, because Bush’s legal team took issue with the fact that the
international agreement could supersede US law, and introduce new
chemicals to ban without the US’s direct authority.
Will the US regain power under Obama?
14. PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE
EU adopts the precautionary principle: acting to avoid serious or
irreversible potential harm, despite lack of scientiﬁc certainty as to
the likelihood, magnitude, or causation of that harm.
Look for patterns, act in anticipation of risk.
Particularly when children are involved.
US principle: do not act until scientiﬁc consensus on causation has
Greater risk is in tempering economic growth for uncertain
15. ARGUMENT VS. PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE
Embedded in the Precautionary Principle is the notion that we can
anticipate all of the ramiﬁcations of a technology in advance and can
tell whether on balance it will be a net beneﬁt or cost to humanity and
20. Learning from rats: effect of phthalates on hormonal
development in male rats and baby boy humans
21. ANO-GENITAL DISTANCE
Dr. Shanna Swan: studied pregnant mothers and
their infant sons.
Certain phthalates serve as endocrine disruptors
– potentially leading to the “feminization of
Chemical industry response: this is “rat
22. US has become a “dumping ground” for
Chemicals not sold in the ROW
23. EFFECT OF BAN ON BUSINESS OF PHTHALATES
Danisco and BASF developed alternatives, no change to the
European toy market in the years after the ban.
Mattel, Hasbro, Toys R Us developed their own ban on levels of
phthalates in children’s toys.
Dr. Swan: “Substitutes are working. Why take the risk? Why put this
into kids bodies if we don’t have to?”
24. PHTHALATES TODAY in the US
2006 California state senator – Wilma Chan – launched a bill to ban 6
types of phthalates that were already banned in the EU.
Heavy lobby by Toy industry to halt the ban.
90% of toys are made in China, but the fear was that the ban would
affect small-medium sized toy makers.
Banned ﬁrst in San Francisco 2007.
25. PHTHALATES NOW BANNED IN TEETHERS
Then in 2008, in response to a crisis in consumer conﬁdence, the CPSIA
Starting on February 10, 2009, certain children’s toys and child care
articles can no longer be sold, offered for sale, manufactured or
imported for sale in the United States if they contain more than 0.1% of
speciﬁed phthalates. In addition, CPSC staff will sample teethers,
rattles and paciﬁers to conﬁrm that manufacturers continue their
practice of not using prohibited phthalates.
Major conﬂict and confusion pits environmental activists against small
business owners, ETSY and Ebay sellers, who are now facing signiﬁcant
testing costs to comply with the ban.
Major toy companies that already adopted their own bans are ahead of
26. BIG BUSINESS BENEFITS
Major toy companies that already adopted their own bans are ahead of
the curve in terms of testing:
Mattel, Hasbro, Toys R Us.
28. SHIFT IN EPA UNDER OBAMA
From “voluntary programs” to regulation
GHG emissions are a threat to public safety
Mercury Policy – Global Treaty Ban
Montaintop removal – more difﬁcult
Review of mining permits
Proactive stance on toxic chemicals
“First, we need to review all chemicals against safety
standards that are based solely on considerations of risk -
not economics or other factors - and we must set these
standards at levels that are protective of human health and
the environment.” _Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator,
September 29, 2009
29. SHIFT IN LOCUS OF INNOVATION
US’s refusal to sign Kyoto accord shifted business opportunities
from the US to the EU and China – investments in renewable energy,
clean development, and updating of old factories.
Hot Flat and Crowded: proposes that an ambitious national strategy
—which Friedman calls "Geo-Greenism"—is not only what we need to
save the planet from overheating; it is what we need to make
America healthier, richer, more innovative, more productive, and
30. TWEAKED TO TELL THE TRUTH
We already had a market that subsidizes fossil fuel at the
expense of renewable energy.
In a world that's hot, ﬂat and crowded, clean tech has to be
the next great global industry and therefore the country that
takes the lead in clean power and clean tech is going to, by
deﬁnition, be an economic and strategic leader in the 21st
century; and that's why there's absolutely no contradiction
not only between going green and being patriotic,
geopolitical and geostrategic. They actually go together.
The free market will be ﬁne, he says, so long as it’s tweaked
to start telling the truth, reﬂecting the true cost to the earth
of all that we consume.
The Copenhagen accord recognizes the scientiﬁc case for keeping temperature
rises to no more than 2C but does not contain commitments to emissions
reductions to achieve that goal..
Brokered between China, South Africa, India, Brazil and the US.
Considered a huge failure by countries in developing world who had been holding
out for deeper emission cuts to hold the global temperature rise to 1.5C this
century. As widely expected, all references to 1.5C in past drafts were removed at
the last minute, but more surprisingly, the earlier 2050 goal of reducing global CO2
emissions by 80% was also dropped.
Concession; The deal aims to provide $30bn a year for poor countries to adapt to
climate change from next year to 2012, and $100bn a year by 2020.
Shift in power from US China
33. NEXT CLASS:
Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at
Stake for American Power. Chapter 1: Soft Power, Hard Edge.
Chapter 4: Two Houses of Risk, pp. 1-19, 67-82.
Assignment due next class: Government policy is changing quickly.
For the product you’ve chosen to analyze, research which
government agencies have an effect over the system of how the
product is created: FDA, EPA, CDC, FTC… Are states and local
governments regulating this product, or do they have plans to?
Share your ﬁndings on your blog.