Friday, March 01, 2019

Hormesis: How a scientist's disputed views about pollution may change EPA

The amusing part below is why Leftist scientists (such as Thomas Burke, professor and director of the Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health) oppose the recognition of hormesis.

They say you can allow for it in clinical settings but in everyday setting you must not use it because you cannot control the dosage.

The slipperiness there is that the safe use of hormesis is NOT limited to clinical settings.  There are already many instances where hormetic effects emerged safely in everyday settings.  The dosage range for hormetic effects is in fact quite large so it could be safely allowed for in many regulatory settings

Hormesis has in fact emerged in what would conventionally be regarded as a "medium" exposure to ionizing radiation.  But radioactivity is a great bugaboo to the Left so they desperately need to deny that

Ed Calabrese's theory that low doses of toxic chemicals are good for people could soon become U.S. policy.

In early 2018, a deputy assistant administrator in the EPA, Clint Woods, reached out to a Massachusetts toxicologist best known for pushing a public health standard suggesting that low levels of toxic chemicals and radiation are good for people.

"I wanted to check to see if you might have some time in the next couple of days for a quick call to discuss a couple items," Woods wrote to Ed Calabrese.

Less than two weeks later, Calabrese's suggestions on how the Environmental Protection Agency should assess toxic chemicals and radiation were introduced, nearly word for word, in the U.S. government's official journal, the Federal Register.

"This is a major big time victory," Calabrese wrote in an email to Steve Milloy, a former coal and tobacco lobbyist who runs a website,, that seeks to discredit mainstream climate science.

"Yes. It is YUGE!" wrote Milloy, in response.

It was a glorious moment for Calabrese, who had been snubbed for decades by mainstream public health scientists because of his controversial research and theories.

It also signified the major shift the EPA has taken under the Trump administration.More than any before it, this White House has actively sought out advice from industry lobbyists and the scientists they commission in setting pollution rules.

Denouncing the Obama-era EPA as an agency beholden to environmental extremists, the administration has not only dismissed mainstream science but embraced widely discredited alternatives that critics say are not consistent with the agency's focus on improving public and environmental health.

Calabrese's role illustrates a different side of this shift: the potential removal of long-standing public health practices and the incorporation of industry-backed and disputed science into federal environmental policy.

Calabrese spent decades advancing his ideas, facing skepticism and criticism from peers in the toxicology community while winning funding from companies whose bottom lines conformed to his views.

He says most of the pushback he receives comes from left-of-center toxicologists who see him as "the devil incarnate" for accepting industry funding and challenging their ideology. He maintains his science is solid and will be vindicated in time.

"These environmental regulatory people are very closed-minded," he said. They won't reconsider their standards, and see that some of the agents they call harmful "actually can induce adaptive responses," Calabrese said.

This view - that pollution and radiation can be beneficial - has many experts worried. The fact that such a position might become EPA policy, they say, portends a future in which corporate desires outweigh public and environmental health.

"Industry has been pushing for this for a long time," said David Michaels, former assistant secretary of labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration who's a professor of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University. "Not just the chemical industry, but the radiation and tobacco industries too."

If the EPA ultimately adopts Calabrese's proposed new regulations, researchers say it could change decades of standards and guidelines on clean air, water and toxic waste. It could also fundamentally alter the way the government assesses new chemicals and pesticides entering the marketplace.

"This is industry's holy grail," Michaels said.

For decades, federal agencies charged with investigating and regulating carcinogens, toxic chemicals and radiation have been guided by the assumption that if a substance is dangerous at some level, it is harmful at any level. The higher the exposure, the more harm done. The lower the dose, the less. And the risk doesn't entirely disappear until the substance is removed.

This is known as the linear no-threshold model, and industry dislikes it because it generally assumes that there is no level, or threshold, of exposure that can be considered totally safe.

But research done on low exposures to toxins has been less than definitive. Experiments designed to test carcinogens and radiation at low levels often produce conflicting results - with, for example, some studies of a chemical showing harm, other studies showing no effect, and a few suggesting a net benefit. In other cases, there is no information at all to guide regulators.

In the face of such uncertainty, the EPA and other agencies have taken a cautious approach by relying on the linear no-threshold model. Where data are absent or uncertain, they assume some level of risk.

It is an imperfect but protective approach, many public health specialists say. They argue that in a human population that varies widely in age, health and levels of chemical exposures, it is imperative that the agency cast a wide, conservative and protective net.

For decades, national and international scientific bodies have upheld this approach. It has been reviewed and re-reviewed dozens of times, including most recently by the congressionally chartered National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine and the EPA.

At the same time, industry has funded scientists to conduct and promote research designed to poke holes in the linear no-threshold model.

And that is where Calabrese comes in. He has long argued that regulators "erred on the side of being protective" at the cost of billions of dollars a year to industry.

Calabrese is a proselytizer of hormesis, the idea that dangerous chemicals and radiation are beneficial at low doses. He says they have a stimulating effect.

Polluting industries have promoted hormesis as an alternative to linear no-threshold for decades, but they had gotten little traction until the EPA embraced it in April.

"It's clearly not mainstream," said Thomas Burke, professor and director of the Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Burke and other experts say there are clearly scenarios in which toxic chemicals can have beneficial effects in clinical and pharmacological settings, such as in the case of tamoxifen, which at low doses is effective at preventing and treating breast cancer but at higher doses can lead to blood clots, stroke and uterine cancer.

But, they say, what happens in a clinical setting can't and shouldn't be immediately applied to a regulatory, public health setting.

In the clinical case, "you have a doctor controlling and administering the medication to an individual," said David Jacobs, a professor of public health at the University of Minnesota, who has published studies showing hormetic effects in some industrial pollutants. "The doctor can pull the medication at any time.

"There is no way to control the dose a person gets from an industrial or agricultural chemical," he said. "It's not being doled out in pills and monitored by a physician who can lower it if the patient isn't responding well."

Therefore, Jacobs said, it would be dangerous to use hormesis as a framework for protecting public and environmental health.


California introduces bill banning paper receipts

Based on the usual defective science that ignores the dictum that the toxicity is in the dose

First there was the plastic bag ban, and then the straw ban. And now, the Golden State is coming after paper. California may become the first state to require businesses to offer electronic receipts unless customers specifically ask for paper copies.

On Tuesday, Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco, with the help of a very tall paper receipt, proposed legislation that would force businesses to offer customers e-receipts.

Many businesses in the Golden State and around the country are already turning toward electronic receipts, but Ting's bill would require it as the standard.

According to Ting, the law is needed because paper receipts pose a health risk many consumers are unaware of - chemicals Bisphenol-A (BPA) and Bisphenol-S (BPS), already prohibited in baby bottles, which cannot be recycled and with which most paper receipts are coated.

The bill would require all businesses to provide proof of purchase receipts electronically starting in 2022 unless a customer asks for a printed copy.

The penalties in Ting's bill are modeled on the state's straw bill, said Nick Lapis, of Californians Against Waste. It calls for written warnings for the first two violations and a fine of $25 a day for subsequent infractions, with an annual $300 cap.

But not everyone is on board with the paper receipt ban.

Republican Assemblyman Brian Dahle of Bieber said he's concerned the receipt proposal could be burdensome for small businesses, won't save that much paper and may not be practical in rural areas without Internet connection.

In addition, "then they have your email, then they'll be marketing to you or selling your information or it can get into privacy issues," he said.

Ting said consumers can still request paper receipts if they are worried about giving out their email addresses.

Many larger stores already offer the choice of paper or electronic receipts but it is unclear if a mandate would cause a hardship for small and medium-size stores, said California Retailers Association spokeswoman Pamela Williams. Her association and other business groups have not taken a stance on the bill.

Ting said businesses can save money by moving away from printed receipts.

The advocacy group Green America, which is pushing a "skip the slip" campaign, estimated that millions of trees and billions of gallons of water are used annually to produce paper receipts in the United States.

Ting cited studies by the Environmental Working Group and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that retail workers have higher concentrations of BPA or BPS than those who do not have regular contact with receipts.

Ting, with use of his living prop - a man wearing a very long paper receipt - demonstrated how large, and wasteful, paper receipts can be.

And he's not the first to point out how comically long receipts can get.

CVS has consistently been the butt of paper receipt jokes with people using them as rulers, costumes and even as cheap fixes for house projects.


AOC's Green New Deal To Cost $93 Trillion; That's $600,000 PER HOUSEHOLD

According to a new study, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's `Green New Deal' would cost up to $93 trillion dollars, or $600,000 per American household.

The study was conducted by the American Action Forum which was lead be Douglas Holtz-Eakin who was in charge of the non-partisan CBO from 2003 to 2005.

This is what the group had to say.

"The Green New Deal is clearly very expensive," the group said in its analysis. "It's further expansion of the federal government's role in some of the most basic decisions of daily life, however, would likely have a more lasting and damaging impact than its enormous price tag."

The Green New Deal called for an end to all gas cars, planes, promised jobs for those who are "unwilling to work" and even called for an end to farting cows.

The American Action Forum even calculated the yearly price of guaranteed green housing, universal health care, and food security which was outlined by the deal, and they found that the cost for each household in America would be $36,100 to $65,300 every year. That would equate to over $600,000 over 10 years.

I don't know about you, but there is no way I could afford that price tag every year.

This plan is not only idiotic, but completely unattainable.

Read what The Washington Free Beacon reported:

"The American Action Forum's analysis shows that the Green New Deal would bankrupt the nation," said Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

"On the upper end, every American household would have to pay $65,000 per year to foot the bill," he said. "The total price tag would be $93 trillion over 10 years. That is roughly four times the value of all Fortune 500 companies combined. That's no deal."

Barrasso said the focus should be on innovation, rather than costly federal programs.

"Instead, we should promote innovation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Promising new technologies like advanced nuclear power, carbon capture, and carbon utilization hold the key to significant emissions reductions," he said. "We can lower our emissions without crashing our economy."

The United States is already leading the world in the reduction of carbon emissions.

In Trump's first year in office, emissions were down by 2.7%. The only purpose of the Green New Deal is to grab attention for AOC and her far Left followers.

Check out what the American Action Forum concluded via The Washington Free Beacon:

"The Green New Deal is clearly very expensive," the American Action Forum said. "Its further expansion of the federal government's role in some of the most basic decisions of daily life, however, would likely have a more lasting and damaging impact than its enormous price tag."

In all, the plan would cost between $52.6 trillion and $94.4 trillion, over 10 years. The burden to the taxpayer would amount to between $361,010 and $653,010 for each household over 10 years.

Electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket under such a plan. Barrasso's office previously calculated the Green New Deal would increase electric bills by up to $3,800 per year.

Taking the lead of Ocasio-Cortez, who recently suggested people should stop reproducing because climate change will end the world in 12 years, Democratic 2020 hopefuls have lined up to endorse the Green New Deal.

It's shocking how Democrats aren't condemning Cortez and are actually endorsing her radical ideas.

The facts speak for themselves. The Green New Deal would bankrupt our country and would have lasting negative effects on our nation.


Under Trump's Tariffs, The US Lost 20,000 Solar Energy Jobs


2016 was the best year on record for solar energy in the United States. A report from the U.S. Department of Energy at the time showed that solar energy was responsible for a much larger share of employment in the electric power sector (43%) than the whole of the fossil fuel industry combined (22%). With such robust numbers, it seemed as though solar energy, and renewables more broadly, were about to revolutionize the energy sector in the United States and lead the push towards cleaner energy and lower carbon emissions.

However, solar energy jobs have stagnated and dipped for two consecutive years since the Department of Energy's initial report, with a loss of 10,000 jobs in 2017 followed by a further 8,000 in 2018. Although some job losses were foreseen as a result of project finalizations in several states, the biggest contributing factor was President Trump's tariffs on solar panels . The first shot fired in what would become a wide-ranging trade war with China in 2018, the U.S.' decision to add a 30% tariff on foreign-produced solar panels had a negative effect on its domestic solar industry, which heavily relies on cheap imports.

The Solar Foundation's latest report has called the last two years "challenging". Since that record year, the solar sector has lost close to 18,000 jobs, but the Foundation is confident that 2019 will be the year they bounce back, as it explains: "Based on the Census survey, the solar industry expects a jobs turnaround with 7% growth in 2019." That being said, the Foundation also acknowledges that its predictions could be wrong, as it was when it projected a 5.2% job growth in the sector for 2018.


`Climate Security' Panel May Give White House Skeptics New Voice

The White House is considering establishing a presidential committee to assess the consensus of scientists and the Pentagon that climate change poses a national security threat, according to a person familiar with the plan.

The move, being spearheaded by William Happer, a physicist and National Security Council senior director who has touted the benefits of carbon dioxide emissions, could give climate skeptics a platform to push back against conclusions reached by Pentagon and other agencies within Trump's own administration that climate change is a major national security threat.

The proposed Presidential Committee on Climate Security has yet to receive sign off by the White House and the panel will be the subject of a deputy-level meeting on Friday, according to the person who requested anonymity to discuss non-public deliberations.

Representatives of the National Security Council did not immediately comment.

The idea drew swift condemnation from climate activists.

"The science and facts on climate change are well-established and do not need a administration-influenced review by an NSC headed panel," said Ron Keys, a retired U.S. Air Force general and senior member of the advisory board at the Center for Climate and Security, a nonpartisan Washington think tank. "What we do need are practical and pragmatic policy choices today to fix the problem."

According to a National Security Council discussion paper obtained by the Washington Post, which reported earlier on the proposed committee, the panel would "advise the president on scientific understanding of today's climate, how the climate might change in the future under natural and human influences, and how a changing climate could affect the security of the United States."

"It's a great idea, spearheaded by a great guy," said Steve Milloy, a policy adviser for the Heartland Institute, a group critical of climate science. "Sounds like the dishonest/know-nothing climate bedwetters in the national security apparatus - as well as those across the federal government - are about to get schooled in CO2 reality."

The effort to upend the military approach to climate change comes as some conservatives grow disappointed the Trump administration is not moving more aggressively to eliminate or undercut a swath of domestic climate policies enacted under former President Barack Obama.

Conservative Concerns

Still the possible new initiative illustrates the seriousness of the Trump administration's commitment to undermining a scientific and government consensus about the national security threat posed by climate change, as rising seas, more intense storms and deeper droughts threaten to uproot communities, destroy property and create new geopolitical tensions around the globe.

Last month the Pentagon issued a report warning of the dire risk of climate change to the military's bases and troops and a worldwide threat assessment of the U.S. intelligence community by the Office of the Director for National Intelligence recognized climate change as a threat. A report issued late last year by several federal agencies said climate change posed a serious threat to the U.S., and one that is quickly getting worse.



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