The Left loves to ignore science in favor of conspiracy theories when it suits their narrative. This happens in the courts (read IWF’s legal director Jennifer Braceras’ latest legal brief on that topic) and in the media and it makes it very hard for consumers to feel good about their purchases. And the Left sure does love to pick on conservative women nominated by President Trump.
Well, leftist activist organizations have hit the jackpot with Dr. Nancy Beck, a female toxicologist (check!) who has been nominated by President Trump (check!) to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an agency charged with ensuring products that enter the marketplace are safe.
Dr. Beck is wildly impressive and she’s clearly qualified for the job. She has a Ph.D. in toxicology and has held positions under Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. She currently serves on the White House Council of Economic Advisers and was previously at the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Dr. Beck has also held positions at the Office of Management and Budget, the American Chemistry Council (a trade group), and for the Washington State Department of Health where she advised local communities with concerns about environmental exposures.
Yet, activists and the media (but I repeat myself) ignore her education, her clear qualifications, and her decades of impressive professional accomplishments and instead suggest she’s some puppet of industry because she worked for a widely respected trade association and as such, will make the world a more dangerous place—particularly for children (a favored tactic of green activists—get the moms worried!).
The fabulists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) (read my recent piece on their latest stunt to scare consumers) calls Dr. Beck “the scariest trump appointee you’ve ever heard of.” Funny, I thought that was Education Secretary Betsy DeVos or FCC head Ajit Pai.
The alarmists at the Natural Resources Defense Fund (NRDC) are tracking “the former chemical industry lobbyist’s toxic trajectory through the Trump administration.” My fourth grader, who is currently studying poetry and verse in school, would give the NRDC a gold star for that alliterative headline (maybe a half star since they’re lying. My fourth grader knows lying is bad).
And the Union of Concerned [Politically Active] Scientists offered up “Six Ways Nancy Beck Showed Us She Doesn’t Care About Us or Science.” Only six? Surprising. Of course the media had to chime in with stories about what a danger she poses to all of humankind but mainly kids and toys (again, the kid angle).
Thankfully, IWF Senior Fellow Angela Logomasini offers some reassuring and much more science-based commentary on Dr. Beck over at the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s blog.
Regarding the conspiracy theory that Dr. Beck is going to play fast and loose with chemical regulations and allow dangerous products and chemicals to enter the marketplace, Logomasini writes:
… it is true that some chemicals cause cancer when people are exposed to high levels for prolonged periods of time, but trace exposures in the environment or from consumer products are not a significant cause of cancer. You can see details at SafeChemicalPolicy.org.
Accordingly, the industry employs scientists like Beck to help find ways to manage exposure to keep risks low, which enables the public to benefit from chemicals with minimal risks. After all, it is hardly good business to push products that kill your customers!
Logomasini also addresses activist and media insistence that anyone even remotely connected to the chemical industry should be disqualified from federal service, saying:
The chemical industry has provided massive public health benefits to society. In fact, without the chemical industry, millions of people would be dying from even the most basic infectious diseases that are now controlled with chemical disinfectants. More people would go hungry and many would starve without agrochemicals that help produce an ample food supply. And food lasts longer and is safely transported thanks to sanitary packaging made with chemicals. Without the chemical industry, we would not have the many pharmaceuticals and medical devices that extend and enhance human health and well-being.
It is for these reasons that life expectancy was far lower before modern industrial society emerged than it is today. Worldwide, the average human life span has increased from about 30 years just before the beginning of the 20th century to more than 70 years today, and it continues to rise. In the United States, life expectancy in 1900 was just 47 years, but it reached 78.6 years by 2017.
Logomasini then provides examples on how chemicals have improve the human condition (a small detail always ignored by activists):
Chlorine. Since local engineers and industry introduced chlorination in the 1880s, waterborne-related deaths in the United States dropped from 75 to 100 deaths per 100,000 people to fewer than 0.1 death per 100,000 annually in 1950. Chlorine is also essential in producing 85 percent of all pharmaceuticals.
Pharmaceuticals. Thanks to a wide range of manmade chemicals, there is an almost endless list of benefits and lives saved with the use of pharmaceuticals. For example, combination drug therapy reduced AIDS deaths by more than 70 percent from 1994 to 1997. Today, millions of AIDS deaths are prevented every year, and since 1990, AIDS drug treatments have saved nearly 300,000 people .
Pesticides. Because of high-yield farming, which includes the use of pesticides and other technologies, the world’s food supply has expanded, and hunger has decreased, despite growing populations. And pesticides make it possible to feed more people while farming less land, leaving more land for wildlife.
Logomasini concludes her defense of Dr. Beck in an appropriate way, reminding us that, “…people do not go into these businesses [trade association work] to kill people; they go into them to provide solutions. Beck’s role as a scientist at ACC was to ensure balanced policies are based on science and allow people to benefit from the industry’s many products.
Enough of the silly conspiracy theories and the abuse of these skilled, much-needed experts. Nancy Beck should chair the Consumer Product Safety Commission and she deserves public support.