By Richard Holober
Californians are exposed to dangerous levels of toxic chemicals in our homes, thanks to a 37 year old state furniture regulation. While the regulation never served its intended goal of reducing fires in our homes, its legacy of toxic harm lives on.
In May 2012, a remarkable investigative series in the Chicago Tribune exposed decades of lies, coercion and influence peddling by flame retardant manufacturers. The report describes how a chemical industry front group paid a medical school professor to travel to Sacramento to testify on two separate occasions before the state legislature.
By Carl Franzen
(Note: Last January Donald Cohen wrote here of the conservative political animus against new, green lighting technologies – namely, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). The following repost of a May 12 Talking Points Memo feature looks at the evolution of another alternative to wasteful incandescent lighting – illumination by light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Battle lines were drawn in Las Vegas, Nevada this week at the 23rd annual Lightfair International trade show, an exposition of the latest in artificial lighting technology.
Spurred in part by the controversial, misunderstood, national phase-out of energy inefficient incandescent bulbs that began in January, companies are racing to develop light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that meet the new energy standards, and yet will provide the same lighting quality that consumers are used to getting from the old, inefficient incandescents.
There they go again. The Heartland Institute, which The New York Times rather generously describes as a “libertarian organization,” recently felt compelled to yank a line of billboards comparing believers in climate change to mass murderers and dictators. “I Still Believe in Global Warming. Do You?” asked one billboard featuring a picture of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. More boards had been planned for Chicago, in a run-up to the institute’s Seventh International Conference on Climate Change, a kind of Coachella for climate-change deniers. Those ads showed photos of Charles Manson, Fidel Castro and Osama bin Laden.
Apparently even some of Heartland’s fellow climate-change deniers began feeling a little queasy over the campaign and so the Windy City-based group killed its plan. Not with any remorse, however. Institute president Joseph Bast released this statement:
“We know that our billboard angered and disappointed many of Heartland’s friends and supporters .
First the Beverly Hills Unified School District ended its tradition of allowing B.H.-adjacent kids to attend that posh city’s schools. Now the local PTA is fighting tooth and French nail to keep subway trains from traveling under Beverly Hills High School via the proposed Westside Subway Extension. The subway has been planned to run through a nine-mile tunnel connecting the current Wilshire and Western terminus of the Purple Line to downtown Santa Monica.
The PTA, according to a Los Angeles Times piece, has released a scare video that predicts “a doomsday scenario” in which students could be incinerated in the event a train somehow ignites a plume of subterranean methane gas left over from the oil wells the school was built on. But if the school is sitting on such a potential box of dynamite, why isn’t it shut down immediately – with or without a subway?