- The Washington Times - Monday, July 31, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, has found a new fight — and fast-food wrapper is thy name.

He wants the feds to investigate them. And not just fast-food wrappers. Cups and cartons, too.

Here’s a question: Wonder which industry forgot to pay off Schumer this month — chemicals or fast food?

Apparently, these items Schumer wants investigated contain phthalates, some forms of which are chemicals already banned in certain household products. It’s also a chemical that makes plastics flexible, pliable and more durable — and one that’s found in everything from medical equipment to materials used for roofs and floors.

But Nanny Schumer read a report that raised his eyebrows — a report that’s highly contested. And he now suggests the product should be banned everywhere.

Specifically, Schumer called for the Food and Drug Administration to launch a study and see if all-around bans are warranted.

“To think that we have all this data on phthalate chemicals from doctors, scientists, health experts and other industries just sitting around, frozen like a beef patty and begging for the FDA to take it to the next appropriate level of scrutiny is worrisome for the consumer,” Schumersaid in a statement. “The studies are clear: the link between these chemicals does have an impact on the body, and not a very good one. That is why I am asking the FDA to launch a formal investigation into the fast food products that wrap our burgers or subs, hold our drinks and contain our leftovers.”

He then cited in his letter several studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and the Journal of the American Medical Association that have found a link between phthalates and thyroid and insulin issues in youth.

Well and good. Then there’s this, from the American Council on Science and Health: “Unfounded health scares do nothing to protect the public and ultimately cause more harm than good.”

The article goes on to speak of the “decades of widespread, safe use and epidemiological research” of phthalates “has found that these compounds are not harmful for anyone, of any age, at typical environmental exposures.”

The ACSH even cities a government study — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — that found “the general public’s exposure to phthalates are at levels deemed safe by regulatory agencies.”

And that’s the nugget of truth right there: It’s the amount, not simply the substance.

Too much oxygen of too pure content can kill you.

Schumer likely knows that — just as he likely knows that his urging for an investigation into a chemical that’s widely and safely used is completely unfounded and alarmism. But more than that, it’s government nannyism run amok. And we really don’t need any more finger-pointers in positions of political power telling us what products we can buy, what products we can’t, and how we ought to live our lives.

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