Media

Archives

Categories

Contributors

Subscribe Subscribe:

Blog Archive

CHF staff and scholars provide a behind-the-scenes guide to activities at CHF, with reflections on science education, provocative explorations of chemistry in the wider world, and much more.

This page holds archived blog posts. Visit our Tumblr page to see recent content and to join the conversation.

All posts in Policy

What Can TSCA Do for You?

For the last year, momentum has been building for chemicals reform. Public discussions have largely focused on procedural impediments within TSCA to an effective chemicals policy—confidential business information, insufficient data and the catch-22 to obtain more data, burden of proof, and grandfathered existing chemicals to name a few. As part of an ongoing oral history project, Jody and I have been speaking with the former EPA bureaucrats who were actually given the responsibility of implementing a national chemicals policy. In our discussions, all of these problematic elements of TSCA have been raised. However, many of them have highlighted more fundamental problems with the law that have remained largely unaddressed in these discussions.

Read More ›

Posted In: Policy

Interviewing TSCA

There has been a lot of talk lately about TSCA, the Toxic Substances Control Act. It is in desperate need of reform, and, for the first time since it was enacted in 1976, it seems that Congress might actually revise some of its many failings. Organizations as diverse as the EPA, American Chemistry Council, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families coalition, Environmental Defense Fund, and Consumer Specialty Products Association have all laid out proposals for reforming the law. There is a surprising consensus on the elements of TSCA that need to be addressed, although, as always, the devil is in the details.

Read More ›

Posted In: Policy

Cap and Trade: It Ain’t Over Till . . .

There’s no doubt that the momentum for cap-and-trade legislation in Congress has seriously slowed and could be in trouble. It passed the House with a margin of seven votes and now seems to be stuck in the Senate. 

Read More ›

Posted In: Policy

World Wide Views on Global Warming

One of the side events at COP15, sponsored by the Danish Board of Technology (DBT), reported on the results of an international deliberation among citizens from 38 countries. Specifically, the DBT organized national partners to recruit approximately 100 of their citizens, reflecting the demographic diversity of each region, to deliberate over climate change policy and advise their home country’s delegations to COP15. All deliberations were held on September 26, 2009 and the DBT immediately made available all the data on the website for World Wide Views on Global Warming. [Full disclosure: I helped to organize the World Wide Views event in Colorado and am attending COP15 through a National Science Foundation grant to study the outcomes and processes of the project].

Read More ›

Posted In: Policy

The Wrong Way to Close ClimateGate

Today, the scientific leaders of the IPCC held a “side event” at COP15, presenting the main conclusions from their 2007 report (AR 4), updates on their planned Special Reports on renewable energy sources and extreme climate events, and some clues about their approach to AR 5. But the emails took center stage, as everyone in the room had anticipated.

Read More ›

Posted In: Policy

World AIDS Day 2009

It is just a few days after Thanksgiving, Christmas is a few weeks away, and the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are on the news. If you asked people about a current pandemic, they would be more likely to mention swine flu than AIDS; yet, today is World AIDS Day. Amidst the public-health hype over swine flu, it is easy to allow the AIDS pandemic to move to the back of our minds if it does not affect you directly. There are an estimated 33.4 million people living with HIV who do not have that luxury. The CDC claims that those living with HIV are at no greater risk for swine flu so long as the necessary precautions are taken, which can include the swine-flu vaccine. In 2008 there were 2 million AIDS-related deaths, whereas the WHO says that as of late November, there have been under 8,000 swine-flu deaths. 

Read More ›

Posted In: Policy

Personalized Medicine at the AAAS: Opening Up the Black Box

Many, along with Francis Collins, director of the NIH, suggest that we’ll be seeing $1,000 genomes within the next five years. In such a world, how do we plan for this future?

Read More ›

Posted In: Policy

Understanding Swine Flu More than Science

As the vaccine for H1N1 flu, more popularly known as swine flu, makes its way into the everyday lives of more people, the discussion about tensions between “science” and “society” have escalated, especially in the state of New York, where its Department of Health mandated that all health employees receive this vaccination along with the seasonal flu vaccination.

Read More ›

Posted In: Policy

Personalizing Medicine through Genomics An Update

In early September I visited the Center for Genetic Research Ethics and Law (CGREAL) at Case Western. My colleagues there presented some of their work on what they are calling “early adopters” of consumer genomics (specifically genome profiling). Their research begins to profile who the users of these services are: for one thing this is a population of users who are not deceived or duped by what they are getting, although some are still disappointed by what they do get.

Read More ›

Posted In: Policy

Genomes for sale

Incrementally, the cost of real whole-genome sequencing is coming down. Recently, the New York Times reported that Stanford engineer Stephen Quake had fully sequenced his genome for about $50,000-not exactly peanuts and so still unaffordable for most of us. He adds his genome to the other seven individual human genomes fully sequenced to date, but his has the honor of being the cheapest. While we may not be getting our promised individualized genome chips from our doctor’s office yet, it should still be on our radar.

Read More ›

Posted In: Policy