Friday, September 23, 2011

Those Evil Little Inhalers

News is hitting the wires today about the coming forced change in asthma inhalers at the end of the year, and of course some are blaming Obama:
Remember how Obama recently waived new ozone regulations at the EPA because they were too costly? Well, it seems that the Obama administration would rather make people with Asthma cough up money than let them make a surely inconsequential contribution to depleting the ozone layer.
But Obama is only a part of the problem. He didn't create the Montreal Protocol agreement in 1987, which banned CFCs, still used to power some inhalers. All CFCs were supposed to be phased out by now but they loosened the ban to allow for a more gradual reduction for inhalers, but according to the site Weekly Standard linked, sufferers will now need to get a prescription and pay more for their life-saving plastic pumps:
Asthma patients who rely on over-the-counter inhalers will need to switch to prescription-only alternatives as part of the federal government's latest attempt to protect the Earth's atmosphere.

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday patients who use the epinephrine inhalers to treat mild asthma will need to switch by Dec. 31 to other types that do not contain chlorofluorocarbons, an aerosol substance once found in a variety of spray products.
Does anyone know exactly how these little pumps emit CFCs? What's the science? Are there little exhaust ports or does it just seep out? Or is it exhaled? Calling Al Gore...

Speaking of Gore, here's an oldy from the 90s talking about his use of the politics of fear to hector Bush 41:
In somber tones, Gore reminded his colleagues of previous fears about "the ozone hole over Antarctica," and insisted that our nation faces "not only a long-term, critical threat to the global environment, but also an immediate, acute emergency threat." He raved about "blind rabbits and blind salmon in the areas under the edge of the ozone hole in the Southern hemisphere," and claimed that there would be "an additional 300,000 deaths from skin cancer in the United States as a result of ozone depletion over the next few decades." He also linked ozone depletion to "extra cases of cataracts and blindness due to cataracts," and to "damage to the human immune system...."
Such an effective campaign. Arrrg, the ozone hole! Yet despite the ban scientists say the level of ozone in the Arctic was at an all-time low this past winter. The reason? Inhalers. No, actually, unusually cold air aloft:
"The Montreal Protocol actually works, and the amount of ozone-depleting gases is on the way down, but quite slowly," said Geir Braathen, a senior scientist with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which co-ordinates ozone data globally.

"In the meantime, we have some winters that get much colder than before and also the cold periods last longer, into the spring," he told BBC News. "So it's really a combination of the gases still there and low temperatures and then sunshine, and then you get ozone loss."
OK. CFCs are down 10 percent since Montreal (at some level in the atmosphere wherever they measure it) but they just recorded the lowest drop of ozone ever over the Arctic, explained by colder than normal temperatures aloft they can't really explain. Meanwhile the Antarctic ozone hole just keeps forming year after year. And here on the surface of the earth in temperate climes, where ozone levels have not threatened anyone lately, asthmatics are asked to do their patriotic duty by paying more for their evil little inhalers. It sure sounds like a racket, but we're always open to scientific rebuttals.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

I didn't know you could get over-the-counter asthma inhalers, and if you can they probably are not very effective for true asthmatic patients. I read the headline on Drudge but didn't take time to read the article.

Seems very strange.

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