From RegBlog: Time to Discard the Precautionary Principle at the CPSC
The Precautionary Principle is a way of saying that nobody should do anything that hasn’t been proven perfectly safe.
Given that nothing can possibly be proven ‘perfectly safe,’ the effect is to ban ALL innovations. Had people followed this ‘principle’ from the start, we would still be inintelligent vegetarian primates.
Logic, common sense, and reason all dictate that we should evaluate the risks and benefits of any action – and then throw the dice. For example, banning something like fire retardant chemicals could possibly reduce inhalation exposure to halogenated hydrocarbons, but would inevitably lead to the much more deadly inhalation exposure to smoke.
The twentieth century was the century of chemicals, from explosives to pesticides to thalidomide, yet life expectancy rose from 47 to 77. CPSC is an idiotic waste and the pediatric specialty should be outlawed if it does not clean up its act.
People on both sides of the debate over the Precautionary Principle forget that it is in widespread usage, and has been, for millennia. People are really eager to make sure that new technologies are safe to use, and spend countless dollars and hours in the laboratory and elsewhere for that very purpose. After all, dangerous products are very bad for business. It’s only recently that this degree of care has been given A Name and weaponized for the culture wars.
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