Friday, May 13, 2005

Freedom (for lead poisoning) Is On The March

The Los Angeles Times reported the other day that:
The Environmental Protection Agency has quietly delayed work on completing required rules to protect children and construction workers from exposure to lead-based paint, exploring instead the possibility of using voluntary standards to govern building renovations and remodeling.
Well, isn't that special. Dwight Meredith over at Wampum has distilled the Bush perspective to its essence:
Why would the EPA consider weakening the protections against lead poisoning? They are worried about the cost of the mandatory regulation to business, of course.
EPA officials emphasize that they are concerned about lead exposure and its effect on children. They also point to an internal study showing that the cost of the regulations — $1.7 billion to $3.1 billion annually — could be an overwhelming burden for the mostly small businesses that renovate buildings. However, an agency estimate showed that such rules would provide health benefits of greater value, from $2.7 billion to $4.2 billion annually.
In other words, we can save money by having mandatory standards and we can save children by having mandatory standards, but the administration is balking at doing so because mandatory standards cost contractors some money. Please note that the voluntary standards are just as expensive for any contractor who abides by them. The only purpose in making the standards voluntary is to permit some workers and some kids to continue to be exposed to a known neurotoxin.
Basically, what we have here is avictory of ideology over public health.

Thanks to Susie for the reference.