Issue Date: November 21, 2011
Earning The Public’s Trust
As an ACS member of many years and having voted in every election, I am prompted to respond to the News of the Week story "A Dim View in Europe” (C&EN, Oct. 10, page 8) as it pertains to the platforms written by candidates for ACS offices (C&EN, Sept. 12, page 30). All the platforms in one way or another allude to the problem of public trust, which evidently is a problem in Europe as well. But in the past several years, not one candidate has addressed one of the biggest concerns of the American public: the right to put incalculable amounts of old and new chemicals into the environment.
By this one issue alone, it is no wonder that the public, both here and abroad, distrusts the field of chemistry. The attitude of chemical corporations, and evidentially of ACS, concerning health issues is that the status quo is to be changed only by governmental force or public outcry. Educating is not the point. The public already knows some chemicals cause cancer and sees that chemical corporations interfere and fight regulation. The public is not really concerned with creating more chemists nor with their obtaining more money for R&D.
And yet ACS candidates for office always bring up these two things as a panacea while ignoring the concerns of those whose trust they want. Perhaps the field of chemistry would have public support if things were openly admitted, new chemicals’ impacts better researched, and a cradle-to-grave philosophy accepted. The field of chemistry should begin a show of trust by first seeing these issues at least mentioned in the platforms of the candidates for ACS offices. There is plenty of work to be had in solving these problems.
By Margaret A. Hellmann
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
- Copyright © American Chemical Society