March 23, 2008

Is lead overhyped? Doesn't matter.

I tuned in to some down-home Fox News talk radio this evening, as I do from time to time for laughs.

This particular pundit was ranting in typical Faux fashion about the "lead scare," and about how "lots of parents are freaking out" because of lead presence in children's toys. The pundit said that his generation, as parents, worry too much about their kids. He said something like "many" parents are opting not to buy plastic toys for their kids this Easter, because a Chinese company was found to have Easter eggs with more than the legal amount of lead in the coloring. His argument was that the hype about lead in kid's toys (made in China, of course) is overkill, because lead levels were much higher in the past and everyone turned out relatively well. "Where are th heaps of dead?" he asked.

To scare a Fox pundit you have to have PILES of dead people, not just a few poisoned children throughout the years and scores of mentally disabled people, linked directly to things like lead paint and other pollution...

Anyway, this particular rant really got my bullshit detector humming, and I wanted to document all my thoughts about it right here:

1) ARE "a lot of parents" really freaking out about this, or is Fox hoping that after hearing someone mention the latest "lead scare," that more of them WILL freak out? So, a few articles come out documenting a violation from a Chinese toymaker, some parents post some shit on the Fox Forum, and all of a sudden scores of parents are needlessly freaking out and not buying Easter eggs for their kids. Right, I'm sure Wal-Mart is bogged down with unsold Easter shit (bunnies and candy to commemorate the crucification of your savior? FUCK YOU!).

2) This pundit pointed out that the EPA's standard for lead levels in products was less than .6%, and asked "What IS .6%? I can't see that!" Something like "the average Joe doesn't know what .6% is!" just a bunch of useless whining. At the end of his bitch fit, he was careful not to sound like he was advocating laziness, or carelessness, saying that "they" (the EPA) keep "lowering the standard" of what is too much lead. Yes, the actual percentage of what is legal has been lowered over the years, but most sane people recognize that as raising the standard, not lowering it. This wording, of course, was a lousy attempt at sounding like he wasn't advocating regression in consumer safety.

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