FDA May Make Breathing Difficult for Asthmatics
The government may tell asthmatics to "take a hit" for the environment. But that "hit" won't be from their inhalers, which might be taken away.
A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted this week to recommend removing the "essential use" status that permits inexpensive, nonprescription asthma inhalers, like Primatene Mist, to remain on sale.
Powered by chlorofluorcarbon (CFC) propellants, the inhalers shoot epinephrine into the lungs of asthmatics, allowing them to breathe during potentially life-threatening asthma attacks. But environmentalists labeled CFCs a threat to the ozone layer in the 1980s, leading to an international phase-out of CFCs under the 1987 Montreal Protocol.
First, accepting for argument's sake that ozone depletion alarmism is justified, only a trivial amount of CFCs would be released into the atmosphere due to inhaler use. No detectable damage to the ozone layer would likely result.
No one disputes the basic chemistry of ozone depletion – chlorine atoms from CFCs released into the environment can find their way into the stratosphere where they can chemically react with and "destroy" ozone.
It should be noted, however, that CFCs aren't the only source of chlorine atoms in the stratosphere – Mother Nature, in fact, may supply most of them. Also, ozone is also continually being created so we won't ever run out of ozone.
In any event, none of the alleged environmental and public health horrors of CFC-induced ozone "destruction" have ever been observed despite extensive study – one of the best kept secrets of environmentalism.
While overexposure to UV is a risk factor for some types of skin cancer and cataracts, no scientific study has ever demonstrated a link between ozone depletion and such overexposure or any health effects.
We need to think about the effect of what we do, not just what makes a few feel better.
Quick review: No scientific evidence to link ozone depletion with disease. No evidence that the very small amount of CFC's in inhalers affects the ozone in any significant way. No research into how many lives are saved every year by inhalers utilizing CFC's.
But a few people will feel better because their pet cause is getting a lot attention. They won't even know about the asthma exacerbations and deaths I will see in the ER because people can't get their meds.