26 April 2010

Precautionary Principle and Ash

Just been reading the latest from The Edge which is a group of thinkers take on the ash cloud event that happened a week ago.

Of particular interest is Gloria Orrigi's tuppence worth: in part,

"... I was wondering whether I could add some evidence not coming from the science of ices and fires, but from the more modest reality of European policy making.

You may be not aware of the inclusion in the Maastricht's Treaty on European Union of the Precautionary Principle for potential ecological and health disasters: (Article III-233): "Union policy on the environment shall aim at a high level of protection taking into account the diversity of situations in the various regions of the Union. It shall be based on the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventive action should be taken".

Roughly speaking, if you don't know anything about the situation, be as prudent as you wish. This principle, that stems from the ecological Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, according to which: "In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation" has been integrated not only in the ineffective Maastricht treaty, but also in many European laws.

The whole of her note is worth reading.

Further notes, Precautionary Principle.
Orrigi's blog.

09 April 2010

Pharmaceuticals Soon ...

The Asia Times in, "US lawsuits may flood China drywalls", tells the story of a massive law suit borne of shoddy goods from China.

This time it is 'drywalls', sheets of material used to partition the insides of houses.

The court case explains,

"From 2004 through 2006, the housing boom and rebuilding efforts necessitated by various hurricanes led to a shortage of construction materials, including drywall. As a result, drywall manufactured in China was brought into the United States and used in the construction and refurbishing of homes in coastal areas of the country, notably the Gulf Coast and East Coast. Sometime after the installation of the Chinese drywall, homeowners began to complain of emissions of smelly gasses, the corrosion and blackening of metal wiring, surfaces, and objects, and the breaking down of appliances and electrical devices in their homes. Many of these homeowners also began to complain of various physical afflictions believed to be caused by the Chinese drywall. Accordingly, these homeowners began to file suit in various state and federal courts against homebuilders, developers, installers, realtors, brokers, suppliers, importers, exporters, distributors, and manufacturers who were involved with the Chinese drywall."

Whilst in the UK we have the toxic sofa scandal.

"The Chinese-manufactured leather sofas, which were also sold by Walmsley Furnishing and Argos, caused skin allergies, rashes and burns on more than 4,000 people in the UK."

I wonder when people will start becoming ill from poorly made drugs?

Update - this just in from Pharmalot "Chinese Drugmaker Under Criminal Investigation"

"Here’s an episode certain to raise confidence in China’s domestic pharma industry. Simcere Pharmaceutical disclosed this week has revealed that employees at its recently acquired Jiangsu Yanshen vaccine producer are under criminal investigation for allegedly covering up manufacturing screw-ups that led to the release of substandard human rabies vaccine doses two years ago.

Four batches of human use rabies vaccine, which were released into the market between July and October 2008, had an insufficient amount of active compound, which agents from China’s State FDA are now investigating.

08 April 2010

Missed Point

Reading the latest from the Daily Mail, "Tiptoeing round the immigration taboo" we find the following quotation,

"... a breathtaking 98.5 per cent of new jobs have gone to foreign-born migrants since Labour came to power."

The article talks about welfare traps and similar. However, the important point is that almost one hundred percent of new jobs since Labour came to power have been crap jobs. Poorly paid, low skill jobs. This is the important point that should be taken from the stats.