- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 26, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Plastics caution

Plastic Hysteria Strikes Again” (Commentary, Thursday) by Dr. Gilbert Ross misleads your readers on the very real risks for birth defects of reproductive organs, infertility, prostate and breast cancer and other health effects such as obesity and diabetes discovered in studies on the plastic component known as bisphenol-A (BPA).

Dr. Ross is a paid “expert” and medical director for the industry-funded American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). As such, he is not an objective physician, but rather a spokesperson for the industry.

There are four congressional investigations looking into issues around this chemical, including possible industry interference with regulatory policy information on bisphenol-A.

Canada has just declared bisphenol A to be a “dangerous” chemical. Major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us, and others are pulling some products containing bisphenol-A from their shelves. This is not “hysteria,” but prudent recognition of high-quality scientific studies showing serious risk of illness from exposure to bisphenol-A.

As a public health physician, I take issue with Dr. Ross’ discounting concern among scientists, public health professionals and consumers regarding a chemical that is mired in scientific integrity issues with regulatory policies meant to protect our health.

The corporations that make and use bisphenol-A are spending lots of money to “spin” the information about health risks from exposure to bisphenol-A. This is reminiscent of the tobacco industry’s claims that smoking is “safe.”

Let’s not wait until there is absolute proof that fetuses and young children are harmed by BPA exposure. The scientific evidence is strong. Let’s respect the warning it is giving us.

DAVID O. CARPENTER, M.D.

Director, Institute for Health and the Environment

University at Albany

Rensselaer, N.Y.

Some ‘human rights’ panel

Tony Blankley is in error when, in his Wednesday column, he stated that the enfeebled Canadian officials “promptly filed criminal charges” against Mark Steyn, the author of “America Alone” (“Euro-Muslim tension,” Op-Ed).

In fact, the complainant Muslim students and the head honcho of one of the Islamic organizations in Canada filed what is called a “complaint” with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and two other provincial commissions.

These commissions promptly accepted the complaints, deeming them to be legitimate, and have put Mr. Steyn et. al. to the test of showing cause why he and the magazine that ran the excerpts from his book and why they should not be penalized before the Human Rights Tribunal for having committed the offense of publishing something that was now get this “likely to expose” the person or persons to “contempt or hatred.”

Think about that for a moment. This law is enshrined as Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and effectively says that if something is published which a group feels is “likely” to subject them to contempt, the onus is on the accused to justify that it just ain’t so.

There is no burden of proof on the tribunal or the commission to prove their case. Once accepted, the complaint casts the onus on the accused to “disprove” the issue. Moreover, the complainant need never show up thereafter, even for the trial of the accused, since the tribunal calls upon the accused to justify or otherwise excuse itself, often at terrific cost in legal fees and the like. There is absolutely no cost or consequence to the complainant.

And this is what they call a “Human Rights Act.” I can think of nothing more ironic than having an organization legislated into existence which denies the accused the right to have the case proven against him. That is the nub of this entire fiasco currently being hotly debated in Canada.

In maintaining this charade of a court against free speech and particularly free opinion, the left-wing branch of Canadian elitism is actually fostering increased dislike and condemnation of the very people who file the complaints in the first place.

I refer Mr. Blankley to the blog of Ezra Levant, a publisher who, in his video-recorded interview with the investigative branch of the commission, simply told the interviewer that neither she nor the commission was entitled to challenge what he was thinking, or what his opinion was about any matter whatever. Would that there were more Ezra Levants in Canada.

GERALD LANGLOIS

Ontario, Canada

In praise of diesel

In his recent Op-Ed (“Meeting energy needs,” April 18), Michael Williams, chairman of the Railroad Commission of Texas, provided vision and articulated a challenge to our nation: Find better and smarter ways to use energy. One solution often overlooked and one that is available today is clean diesel technology.

The automotive industry already has developed imaginative, yet viable, diesel-fuel alternatives. This fall, for instance, manufacturers such as Mercedes, Volkswagen and BMW will introduce to the U.S. market the first wave of passenger vehicles that use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.

This new fuel contains 97 percent less sulfur coupled with new advanced engines and emissions-control systems. It offer a compelling alternative to consumers eager to protect the environment and save costs while also retaining the thrill of driving power and performance.

Clean diesel cars provide the highest fuel economy in real-world driving, performing with 30 percent better fuel economy, 20 percent less greenhouse-gas emissions and 50 percent better torque than a comparable gasoline vehicle. This is also at a favorable cost-benefit ratio.

We say clean diesel cars deliver “good clean fun.” At the same time, today’s clean diesel technology contributes to efforts to reduce our nation’s dependency on foreign oil. The Environmental Protection Agency, in fact, predicts that the United States could save as much as 1.4 million barrels of oil per day if as few as one-third of our passenger cars were diesel.

The automotive industry is delivering on the challenge of bringing clean and affordable solutions to America’s drivers with clean diesel technology.

JOHANNES-JOERG RUEGER

Vice president diesel engineering

Diesel systems

Robert Bosch LLC

Farmington Hills, Mich.

Carter and ‘the enemy’

Former President Jimmy Carter is consorting with the enemy (“Jimmy Carter and Hamas,” Editorial, April 16).

The decision by Mr. Carter to meet with the terrorist organization Hamas is deplorable and totally uncalled for by a former president of the United States.

To meet and consort with such terrorist organizations as Hamas, and especially by a former president, is nothing but a disgrace, and I call on Congress to officially admonish and chastise Mr. Carter for this unwise decision.

We are involved in a war against terror, and now Mr. Carter is consorting with the enemy, one of the worst terrorist organizations in the world. Hamas wishes for Israel to be wiped off the map.

Mr. Carter should be declared one of the worst presidents this country has ever had. His actions in dealing with the terrorist enemy support this notion fully. He most certainly had sufficient warning from the State Department about this unwise trip, and now, as a consequence, he should also have his passport revoked by the State Department.

AL EISNER

Wheaton


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