Does the chemical industry have any self-respect?
A new article in Environmental Health Perspectives (“Questions Persist: Environmental Factors in Autoimmune Disease“) attempts raise concern about manmade chemicals causing autoimmune diseases. The general line of “thinking” is that reports of autoimmune disease are on the rise and there are 80,000 chemicals in commerce that haven’t been proven not to be the cause.
But while it’s impossible to prove such a negative, there is zero positive evidence linking chemicals with autoimmune disease. Further, there is no evidence that autoimmune diseases are of recent vintage. The more likely explanation for any increased incidence is increased diagnosis and reporting. The last major effort to link something manmade with autoimmune disease was silicon breast implant farce. There was no there-there then, and things haven’t changed.
Anti-chemical activists are continually and automatically blaming any unexplained health condition or malady with exposure to chemicals. They try to “scientific-ize” there concerns under the precautionary principle — i.e., the 80,000 chemicals haven’t been tested under every circumstance for every possible health outcome so uncertainty (and concern) abounds.
But chemistry, chemists, chemicals and chemical companies (the “5Cs”) have helped provided us with the highest standard of living and the longest life expectancy humanity has ever known. They have helped treat, cure and eradicate disease, sanitize living conditions, and increase food production. They make innumerable consumer and industrial products possible. Despite their innumerable and invaluable contributions to humanity, the 5Cs have somehow developed political enemies who exploit the misfortunes of sick people.
Sadly the chemical industry, particularly the large companies like Dow, Dupont and 3M, continues to do a lousy job of defending itself, its products and chemistry against aggressive enemies. The industry’s incompetence and/or cowardice plays into the hands of the anti-chemical mob to the detriment of the rest of us. Also to blame are the individual chemists and toxicologists who refuse to stand up for sound science within their companies, universities and government agencies.
Today on Dupont’s web site, right under its “miracles of science” tagline is an boast about Oxone, the company’s “non-chlorine shock oxidizer” for pools and spas. But of course, the real miracle of science was chlorine itself. Oxone is simply a less effective substitute for the unjustly maligned chlorine — one that simply makes Dupont more money at the expense of humanity and science.