Safety first

The FDA is considering pulling cold medicines such as Nyquil off the market. It seems that some people use them incorrectly, taking too much and/or combining them with other acetaminophen products, resulting in an overdose. This kills about 20 people per year.

Cough syrup for toddlers is already banned, due to fears it can be misused. Its misuse killed about 3 children per year. Hundreds of public pools across the country are closing because municipalities cannot afford to retrofit them with drain covers that comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker act. Circulation entrapments kill about 1 person per year. (But one of them was the granddaughter of an important politician.)

Every death is a tragedy, of course. We need to ensure safety, at whatever the cost, right?

Then what about CAFE gas mileage standards, which kill 1300 people every year? If we’re going to curtail everyone’s lives to save a few people per year (or even just one), certainly CAFE standards need to go! Right?

Not at all. We’re tightening CAFE standards. Dramatically. From 27.5 mpg to 39 mpg. We can’t know how many additional people that will kill each year, but the number is surely in the hundreds at least.

Well, I suppose the government must have its priorities. Safety isn’t everything.

UPDATE: By a vote of 24-13, Nyquil and the like will remain on the market, assuming the FDA follows its panel’s recommendation.

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