Dominique Browning on Testing Chemicals Dominique Browning notes in today's New York Times that the sale of BPA-free bottles and sippy cups for children is part of a genuine effort to keep Bisphenol A, "a synthetic estrogen that disrupts normal endocrine function," from children's hands and mouths. But, she points out, in most cases BPA is substituted with a different kinds of Bisphenol--"a dysfunctional family of chemicals"--that may be more dangerous than BPA and are not endorsed by the EPA. "A manufacturer can replace BPA with another untested compound and get a few years' use out of it before it, too, becomes the subject of health alerts or news media attention," she writes. "By the time we know what those new chemicals do to us, entire generations are affected. We are the guinea pigs." Browning insists chemicals be tested for safety before they are allowed on the market, to save parents the effort of figuring out whether what they give their kids can harm them.
Jonathan Kay on Geert Wilders's View of Islam Jonathan Kay, editor at the Canadian National Post, describes his interaction with Geert Wilders, the Dutch Politician who is both loved and hated for his strong opinions on Islam. Kay discovers that Wilders "knows more about the Islamic faith and what it means to ordinary people than do most of Islam's most ardent Western defenders." Wilders insists that he doesn't hate Muslims but considers them "victims of bad ideas," describing Isam not as a religion, "but rather a retrograde political ideology with religious trappings." Kay understands why Wilders's opinions have branded him "a hatemonger" in the eyes of many Europeans. Still, "His insistence on the proper distinction between faith and ideology deserve to be taken seriously," he argues. "For it invites the question: If we permit the excoriation of totalitarian cults created by modern dictators, why do we stigmatize (and even criminalize) the excoriation of arguably similar notions when they happen to be attributed to a 7th-century prophet?"