I’m quoted at length in a piece on why California’s Proposition 65, despite public scorn and outrage over cases like the latest on coffee warnings, is so hard to reform.
“The bias is toward listing chemicals just to be cautious even though they probably are not harmful, counting ‘exposures’ such as poker chips and doorknobs that are unlikely to touched in such a way as to transfer relevant amounts of chemicals to the human body, and concentrations that are almost certainly harmless under likeliest-case rather than worst-case scenarios,” Olson said.
The senior fellow said people will nod in agreement when asked if they should be warned of risks to health.
“But every time I start my car and drive it onto the street I create a risk of hitting you as a pedestrian,” Olson said. “Do you have a right to be warned of that risk? Each time, or only once?”
He added the balance of scientific opinion these days leans toward the view that moderate coffee drinking probably provides overall health benefits and maybe even net anti-cancer benefits.
“The idea of putting a cancer warning on such a product is not merely irrelevant to public health goals, but actively in conflict with them,” Olson said.