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Royal Rubbish

June 12, 2013

Drive an old car – your baby deserves it

The Royal Colleges are struggling for a role in the modern world, but last week’s, widely ridiculed, advice from the Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, about chemical risks during pregnancy (click here) won’t help them find one.

The “precautionary principle” led them to recommend pregnant women to:

  • reduce “use of foods/beverages in cans/plastic containers, including their use for food storage”,
  • minimise “use of personal care products such as moisturisers, cosmetics, shower gels and fragrances” 
  • avoid “purchase of newly produced household furniture, fabrics, non–stick frying pans and cars”

Although, as the authors admit:

  • “it is unlikely that any of these exposures are truly harmful”.

How can pregnant women be sure that the extra detergent they use to clean their old sticky pan won’t harm the baby, or that cutting down on personal hygiene won’t provoke their partner to leave – after all single parenthood is a well-known risk to children.

We expect this sort of nonsense from Greenpeace, and George Monbiot.  But in the real world the principle is meaningless. It would mean no new vaccines, because “we can never rule out unexpected risks”. Every action, including inaction, has risks. We can never avoid them all. Instead we weigh them up, one against the other, and against the pleasures of driving a new car or smelling nice.

If the RCOG can give pregnant women some estimate of the risks from plastics, and from food going off in alternative storage, they would be doing a service.  If they can’t, shut up. Or better still take a day off from “college committees”, and sort out the labour ward. Plenty of risks to reduce there.

Jim Thornton


One Comment leave one →
  1. May 14, 2014 9:12 pm

    Jim, you are so deliciously unPC sometimes!

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