When our children experience the joy of jumping into a cool swimming pool, they also dive into a sea of chemicals—chlorine and other products used to keep the water clean. Whether we drink water from a plastic bottle or the tap, we consume a host of trace chemicals and heavy metals. We consume pesticides found in fresh store-bought produce, processed food, and breathe them in the air. The simple reality is that modern living means living with chemicals.
Some people say these chemicals—particularly the man-made ones—significantly increase our risks of cancer, developmental defects, and even obesity. These advocacy groups go a step further and lobby the federal government for increased regulation of everything from pesticides to consumer products.
The life-enhancing value of chemicals
While the goal of a safer world surely is laudable, the attack on chemicals is misplaced. Chemicals perform a host of valuable functions from keeping our water clean to producing a host of medical products that support our health well being at home and in the hospital. It is true that humans are exposed to thousands of trace chemicals, but that’s always been the case. Even cavemen had to cope with the myriad toxic chemicals that naturally emerge from the campfire. After all, everything in the world is made of chemicals. The real question is whether humans are better off with modern chemical technologies than they would be without them. The best available evidence indicates that man-made chemicals have resulted in vastly improved quality of life and public health and that the risks of resulting trace exposures is extremely low and manageable.
This website offers consumers a balanced, science-based understanding of these issues, revealing why we don’t need to fear modern chemical technologies. In fact, we should fear the campaigns to ban, regulate, or otherwise deprive consumers of the benefits associated with the modern technologies that clean our water, help produce and preserve our food, sanitize our hospitals, make our medicines, and reduce risks associated with dangerous pests.
Safechemicalpolicy.org is a collaborative project of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and its coalition members, a public policy group that promotes free-markets and limited government. We are motivated by the fact that human well-being is best advanced in free societies that allow individuals to capitalize on human ingenuity—creating opportunity and a higher standard of living for everyone. Attempts to roll-back such technologies and undermine freedom create greater risks to human well-being. In fact, as the articles and papers on this site demonstrate, attempts to undermine freedom to innovate already are having serious adverse public health impacts.