Thursday, January 29, 2009

David Berstein calls public health "experts" on their awful batting average

Via Prawfsblawgs, I discover that the paper authored by several "progressive" law professors criticizing Cass Sunstein contains the following extraordinary statement, defending the precautionary principle: "It is difficult to think of a single public health or environmental threat that with the benefit of additional research has not proven even more dangerous over time."

Now that's a fun game! Let's see, off the top of my head, here are some things that turned out to be a lot less threatening than many, including at least some "experts," thought:

Mercury in vaccines; Bendectin; Silicone breast implants (and medical grade silicone in general); PCBs; Asbestos in buildings; Flouride in water; Birth control pills; Occasional marijuana use; High fat diets; Exposure to low level nuclear radiation; New carpet fumes; "Toxic waste dumps"/Superfund sites; Moderate overweightedness; Moderate alcohol consumption; Spermicides; Metal fillings (for teeth); Cancer from physical trauma; Masturbation; Predictions in the 1970s of worldwide food shortages; "Overpopulation"; Global Warming (the predictions of the level of man-made warming have decreased dramatically, even among strong advocates of the theory); Miscarriage from video display monitors; Cancer from electromagnetic field radiation; Radon; Dioxin; Pesticides commonly used on fruits and vegetables causing cancer to "eaters";

And much, much more in the comments. Goes to show you the ever widening gap between curing/lifesaving measures, and access to them. And to think beyond our borders, DDT may have saved the lives of 10 million African children who succumbed to malaria.

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