Day: July 20, 2006

The Precautionary Principle at work

This is how you’re supposed to regulate chemicals, burden of proof on the manufacturers, makes sense because they are the ones who have the most information, and the most to gain or lose. So, you have the right motivators with the right tools to ensure that a decision can be reached in the right amount of time. If you reverse the burden of proof, the group (people/government) with incomplete information and little monetary motivation is going up against a group (the industry) which has all the information on its side, and powerful monetary motivation to do nothing, because in doing nothing, the burden of proof will ensure that they win.

Makes so much sense, doesn’t it!

EU bans 22 hair dye chemicals feared unsafe – Yahoo! News

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Commission said Thursday it would ban 22 hair dye substances, following the release of a scientific study that concluded the long-term use of these chemicals could cause bladder cancer. The ban will go into effect Dec. 1. “Substances for which there is no proof that they are safe will disappear from the market,” said European Union Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen.

Well said, sir, way to motivate industry to prove safety!

“Our high safety standards do not only protect EU consumers, they also give legal certainty to (the) European cosmetics industry.”

A crucial point, industries adjust to regulation very well, as long as the regulation is clear, stable and consistently applied. Not to say that they don’t work to undermine the regulations at times, but most of the time, stability is more important than the regulation itself. The regulation just gets added to the cost of doing business, and you protect yourself against lawsuits, you have plausible deniability, all the good stuff.

The Commission had asked the cosmetics industry to provide safety files for all chemicals used in hair dyes to prove they do not pose a health risk for consumers. The ban concerns 22 chemicals for which no safety files were submitted by producers.

Nice, no proof = no sale.