Driving Innovation: How Stronger Laws Pull Safer Chemicals into the Market

The following is excerpted from PUBLIC HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT: DRIVING INNOVATION: HOW STRONGER LAWS PULL SAFER CHEMICALS INTO THE MARKET and makes a solid case that chemical industry rants against protecting the general public are false.

People OR Profits?

“A common refrain by the regulated (or soon-to-be regulated) industry is that stricter laws over hazardous chemicals will impede innovation, reducing economic growth, competitiveness, and employment….

“Current laws in the European Union and United States designed to protect people and the environment from hazardous chemicals aim to enhance innovation.

“However, both European and American laws have shortcomings in terms of their ability to prevent harm, the costs of which are borne by individuals and society-at-large, and to encourage the entry of safer alternatives.

“Can stricter laws over hazardous chemicals drive innovation?

“Can it drive innovation while also sending it in a safer direction?”

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“First, the article presents findings on the human health effects of hazardous chemicals, illustrating the pressing need for innovation around safer chemicals.

“The next section discusses the rate at which alternatives are invented in response to the prospect of stricter laws.

“Then, the article examines the types of inventions adopted by downstream users after regulators take measures, exploring why the transition may or may not have been to safer alternatives.

“Fourth, the article looks at how the law can help safer alternatives overcome barriers to entry, enabling early adopters to gain competitive advantage through innovation and an opportunity to optimize their return on new investments.

“The final section presents findings on how stricter laws direct resources to the innovation of safer alternatives.”

People AND Profits

The article makes a compelling case that caution and protecting the public can be profitable for those who are enlightened enough to care.


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