August 28 2012

Jessica Alba, Please Don't Be a Crony

Hadley Heath

Jessica Alba - do they come any hotter?  She's a beautiful woman, a mother of two, and a businesswoman.  Self Magazine just made her their "Women Doing Good Honoree" and praised her lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.  Alba is standing up for safe homes, asking Congress to restrict the amount of certain chemicals that can be in household goods and products. So what's not to love?

Well, the legislation that Alba supports, the "Safe Chemicals Act," while it sounds like a good thing, will come with some less than wonderful side effects... like more paperwork, an inverted burden of proof, and higher costs.  That's right, manufacturers will be forced to file paperwork, proving their innocence (instead of the traditional American "innocent until proven guilty") when it comes to certain toxins.  And they will pass along the higher costs to consumers.  Not to mention what this will do to American manufacturers who are trying to compete globally.

Of course we all want safer homes.  But many chemicals in household products do good things - like disinfect and clean our homes. And there are plenty of legal restrictions on the books that already monitor what's in our products.

Alba and other alarmists shouldn't be unnecessarily worrying moms over the remaining microscopic levels of toxins (many of which we carry around in our bodies all the time, with no health risk).  Of course babies shouldn't be drinking laundry detergent.  That's why parents and caregivers should be attentive and keep toxic products out of children's hands.  That's a job for mom and dad... not the EPA.

I appreciate the heart that Jessica Alba has towards her lobbying work... But wait... did I mention she's a businesswoman?  Yes, actually... she makes eco-friendly baby, bath, and household products.  Her side business may be evidence of her commitment to toxin-free products to some people, but to me, it raises a question: Wouldn't it be convenient if her more toxic competitors faced additional paperwork hurdles, or were regulated into higher, less competitive prices? 

Please Jessica Alba, don't be a crony.  I'm sure your eco-friendly products appeal to a certain market of super-eco-friendly moms (who have enough disposable income to afford eco-friendly, super-organic products).  Plus, your star power is sure to sell some extra bottles.  There's no need to lobby Congress to kneecap your competition.  If your products are a better value, you will sell more.

I love Jessica Alba's movies.  She's obviously talented, hard-working, and smart.  But I respectfully disagree with her about the Safe Chemicals Act: It's just another form of Nanny State overreach and reactionism to overly-alarmed interest groups.  

 

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