In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 31, 2005 / 26 Av, 5765

Supersized nanny state

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | America has become the country of the warning label. California is the warning-label state. Since California voters in 1986 approved Proposition 65 — which mandates warnings when people are exposed to known carcinogens or chemicals that cause birth defects — to live in California is to be warned. Most office buildings and parking garages post Prop. 65 warnings. When you fill your gas tank, there's a warning. When you go to a department store or a restaurant, there are warnings. Ditto the grocery store, where there are warnings not just about lighter fluid, nail polish and the effects of alcohol, but for fruits and vegetables, nuts and fish. Now, if Attorney General Bill Lockyer has his way, you can expect warning labels for fast-food french fries and potato chips.

If he succeeds, the Legislature might as well post a billboard at the border that says: Eating in California can be hazardous to your health.

In these tight fiscal times, you'd think Lockyer could find a better use of taxpayer money than to spend it in a push to warn the public about something any high-school student knows. French fries are bad for you.

But never passing a chance for a good press release, Lockyer filed a lawsuit against a number of fast-food chains and junk-food producers because their french fries and potato chips contain trace amounts of acrylamide — a chemical also found in asparagus and olives, it is a natural byproduct of cooking certain starchy foods.

While Lockyer is alarmed, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration isn't sure acrylamide is bad for you. In March, the FDA issued a press release that stated, ''Acrylamide can cause cancer in laboratory animals at high doses, although it is not clear whether it causes cancer in humans at the much lower levels found in food.''

Ed Weil of the attorney general's office thinks the FDA is wrong. He cites U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limits on acceptable acrylamide, which is used to treat drinking water, as lifelong exposure can lead to "damage to the nervous system, paralysis; cancer." Weil notes that the Environmental Protection Agency limits acceptable acrylamide amounts to .5 micrograms per liter of water, while the government found 40 micrograms in the average serving of chips or fries.

Weil hopes this action will prompt Big Junk Food to change how it cooks chips and fries.

Weil agrees there are too many warning signs — although he argued that grocery stores, for example, post warning signs mainly to stop nuisance lawsuits. Lockyer is pushing the acrylamide issue, Weil said, because it is the government's job to dispense information and let consumers decide if they care about a possible carcinogen. As he put it, acrylamide falls into "an in- between category. Depending on how you feel about it, you might want to eat it or you might not want to eat it."

Problem is, there are too many in-betweens — some 750 other chemicals, according to Weil — on the Prop. 65 list, and some of those chemicals are ubiquitous or naturally occurring.

As a result, consumers see so many warning signs, they can't take them seriously. Even Lockyer isn't that alarmed. In a press release announcing the suit, Lockyer said, "I am not telling people to stop eating potato chips or french fries."

Now I ask you: If people shouldn't stop eating these foods, why post a warning?

Michele Corash, a San Francisco attorney who represents five companies being sued by Lockyer, noted that there are so many warnings that "We are immunizing the public to signs."

No lie. I've come down with a strong case of warning fatigue. I see the Prop. 65 signs not as valuable warnings — but as nagging. What else would you call a warning against doing something you do every day, like eating or parking or shopping?

Donate to JWR

And whatever I do, it must be wrong, because there's always a sign telling me that what I'm eating, drinking or buying is bad for me. If all of these things are so hazardous, why am I alive?

The scary part is that there are times when consumers need to know there is a danger. As in: you shouldn't drink this because it is poisonous. But consumers don't notice such warnings. Corash noted that sometimes "we need a way to warn consumers when there's a real hazard. Now we can't any more. You have to say, 'We really mean it this time. This isn't like the other warnings. ' "

If Lockyer wanted to perform a true public service, he'd devise a way to whittle down the long list of Prop. 65 baddies. Instead he's fattening up the list.

Oddly, Lockyer is taking this stand as he begins his bid to become state treasurer in 2006. Some treasurer he'd make. With this lawsuit, I'm convinced of only one thing:

That Lockyer knows how to waste money.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders's column by clicking here.

Debra J. Saunders Archives

© 2005, Creators Syndicate