On the subject of BPA (one of the substances detected by Brad's phone of the future), John Beddington, the former UK government chief scientific adviser, came up with an interesting attack on EU regulations regarding BPA (Bisphenol A):
"Environmental safety rules have reached "mad" levels because of a failure to understand the difference between risk and hazard, the Government's former chief scientific adviser has said.
Professor Sir John Beddington accused policy makers of adopting the precautionary principle to an "arguably illegitimate" level.
He cited examples of over-zealous regulation, largely generated in Brussels. One was the "completely mad" decision two years ago to ban baby bottles containing the chemical bisphenol A.
Bisphenol A belongs to a family of so-called "endocrine disrupters" that can upset hormone balances in the body. But there was no scientific evidence that the levels found in the plastic used to make baby bottles was harmful to children, said Sir John.
Despite this advice from experts, the ban went ahead. "Being frank, I think the only way you could hurt babies with bisphenol A baby bottles is to baton them with them," said Sir John."
It looks like Beddington was a bigger opponent of junk science than we may have thought from his behaviour during his period of office. My view of the chief scientific adviser job is that it seems to have morphed into another job where a title something like "Government spokesman on scientific matters" might be more appropriate. I came to that conclusion in the mid 00s after noticing David King, the predecessor to Beddington, was talking up nuclear fusion as a solution to climate change in a succession of interviews. I couldn't see any serious scientific adviser doing that - to me he was clearly acting as a government spokesman because only the British political class tend to hold the belief that nuclear fusion is going to work any time soon.