However, I do know what to make of this mother's statement:
"I'm angry at my government for failing to regulate chemicals that are in mass production and in consumer products." Hammond says. "I don't think it should have to be up to me to worry about what's in my couch."
Yes, as a matter of fact it should be up to all of us to research this stuff and become educated and make decisions based on the information we find out and our particular situation. Yes, and shame on you for thinking otherwise!
Most parents I know (myself at the top of the list) get really suspicious of other people and environments if we think our kids might not be safe. Me? I'm constantly scoping out playgrounds and restaurant tables and public places for peanut-containing food wrappers. (It's what I do.) Most parents investigate schools and childcare centers with diligence, and rightly so, because their child's safety is at stake. Some parents will get into a knock-down fight with a child's teacher if they believe the child is being treated unfairly. Probably all of us wonder who that weird guy is on the edge of the park.
This applies to non-parenting situations, too, of course.
How many times do people tackle, say, a home improvement project partly because they know they can do the job better, because they can't find a contractor willing or able to meet their high standards? Almost all of us have muttered to ourselves or our significant others, "Sometimes I just have to do it myself to know that it will be done right. I don't trust anyone else to handle this particular project/situation."
So why doesn't it occur to most people to be suspicious of the government regulations? Why don't we say to ourselves and our neighbors, "Sometimes we need to do it ourselves to make sure it gets done right!" Why do so many people trust an official government regulation created by an official government bureaucrat (peopleguy) in an official government department? We're willing to take the time to research a school or a doctor or a car dealer that will meet our requirements; we're not willing to research products to make sure they don't contain harmful chemicals. Because we shouldn't have to?
This is one of the reasons I oppose the food allergen labeling regulations, because I think it will inspire more lazy complacency on the part of consumers and consolidate more power in the hands of the bureaucrats. Those new regulations have not changed my shopping and food allergen research habits one bit. Having those regulations in place do not make my child any safer. I'm not willing to risk my kid's life on a law.
Regulations are not the answer. The rational purpose of government is to protect individual rights, not make our decisions for us, or mitigate risk, or eliminate the remotest possibility that anything bad will happen in our lives. As the level of government-regulated "protection" increases, the (average) consumer's decision-making skills decrease proportionately. I believe it may even make people dumber, because it's so easy to get used to being spoon-fed information by others. It's quite the opposite approach to the things I wrote about in my post about parenting for independence.
Government regulations such as those advocated by the mother in the article will only serve to obfuscate information beneficial to an objective risk analysis and provide a false sense of security. We won't really be safer than we were without them and only people who choose to evade that fact will feel as if they are.