Wednesday, June 2, 2010

1/1000th

The Jousters - Getty Center
While in Los Angeles recently we really got a dose of what seemed like nanny state. There was not just one, but many incidents where rules and regulations seem a little bit much. Case in point is this display plaque for an outdoor sculptor at the Getty Center. Okay, the “Please do not enter” is in line with standard phrasing a museum would use. But below that is “Lead is a metal known to the State of California to cause reproductive harm.” After some research, I found out that this warning is the result of the controversial California Proposition 65. Is the warning useful here? What does it apply to, the plaque, the fencing, the border edging the lawn of dymondia? In what doses and exposures is there harm? On the Prop65 site they specify that “Businesses subject to Proposition 65 are required to provide a warning if they cause exposures to chemicals listed as causing birth defects or reproductive harm that exceed 1/1000th of the ‘no observable effect level’”. 1/1000th of no observable level!? Ponder that as you stand in the smog.

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