Thursday, April 26, 2007


The Headline says it all: “OSHA Leaves Worker Safety Largely in Hands of Industry.”

Thomas Riggins

The 4-25-07 New York Times tells the story of a rare potentially deadly lung disease that is showing up in workers at popcorn plants using the food flavoring diacetyl. The Occupational
Safety and Health Administration, set up to protect worker’s health, has become (under Bush) anti-worker and pro business regardless of the evidence of wrong doing by business interests and factory owners. OSHA is not regulating the use of diacetyl-- staying loyal to Bush’s ideal of Profits before People. How do Republicans get any votes from working people?

“The people at OSHA have no interest in running a regulatory agency,” Dr. D. Michaels, an expert on worker safety, is quoted by the Times as saying. The scientific evidence indicates that diacetyl is responsible for potentially deadly diseases in working people. Why isn’t it regulated? The head of OSHA (Edwin G. Foulke Jr.,) gives the standard bushite response whenever the administration wants to dump on the American people and give a hand to the big vested interests that own the Republicans. “The science is murky,” he said.

Its murky just as it is for global warming, or the value of stem cell research or how the world got here with all the different life forms. Its not “murky” for the leading doctors and scientists who have studied the issue. The real reason is that Foulke doesn’t want, it appears to me, to inconvenience the rich corporations that bankroll the Republican party.

The other reason, after the great respect shown for science (if not for scientists), is that Bushies also advocate a “voluntary compliance policy.” They think that is more workable than government regulations against free enterprise. If “voluntary compliance” is so great, why don’t they adopt that policy in the “war on drugs” and “illegal immigration.” The government could save a lot money and maybe take better care of wounded veterans.

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