Here's some shocking news:
Major input from industry into the EPA's assessment of the toxicological effects of vinyl chloride weakened public health safeguards. The assessment downplayed risks from all cancer sites other than liver, and it reduced by 10-fold cancer potency estimates. The results illustrate flaws in EPA's trend toward increasing collaboration with regulated industries when generating scientific reviews and risk assessments.These results also illustrate flaws in the notion that the free market is based on the informed choices of rational people.
If you idealize your premises, it's child's play to reach an ideal conclusion, so free-marketeers have no difficulty in equating their dreamy notions with "freedom." But it's obvious that in the real world, their system ensures that honest people will be forever at the mercy of dishonest people, and will thus be anything but free. That's why laws are useful, and regulation is rational. Reason, that crippled god of the libertarians, demands restraint, just as surely as morality does. But power rejects these and any other constraints it finds inconvenient. The moral nihilism of BushCo is a fine example of freedom at its ugly, irrational, vicious worst. There are others.
As for the EPA, it's pretty sad when it misrepresents its results, given the leeway it has to limit the scope of its research. Regulatory agencies start with the reasonable notion that complex situations need to be simplified to the point that they can be studied; having done so, they too often present the simplification as reality. In this case, compelling epidemiological evidence for vinyl chloride's association with non-liver cancers was treated as apocryphal:
Because exposure was not adequately characterized in the epidemiology studies, the EPA cancer potency estimates were based on animal bioassay data.And yet, despite its obtuse oversimplification of vinyl chloride's hazards - despite a bar that was set ridiculously low in favor of industry - the EPA still felt obliged to edit its final report to appease polluters.
It makes you wonder what we'd learn if we considered our problems honestly, and studied them scientifically.