What a lot of fuss. Over nothing. All so WUWT can do some EPA-bashing. Over a de-regulation would you believe!
Anthony Watts is running out of climate things to write about so he's decided to jump some sharks. He's claiming that the EPA is banning the use of argon in pesticides. It's not.
Anthony didn't bother reading the documents to which he linked. He just took science denier Eric Worrall at his word (archived here). Eric Worrall took science denier "IceAgeNow" at his word. None of them bothered to read the EPA material.
In fact, the notice states (my emphasis):
EPA is proposing to remove certain chemical substances from the current listing of inert ingredients approved for use in pesticide products because the inert ingredients are no longer used in any registered pesticide product.
Yep. That's right. They were on a list of inert ingredients approved for use, but now they aren't used any more. They aren't banned. They aren't needed, so why keep them on the list. In common parlance you could call it tidying up regulations. Doing a bit of housekeeping.
Once the list is finalised (it's still open for discussion), if a company wants to use a substance they will need to make a submission to the EPA:
Once an inert ingredient is removed from the list, any proposed future use of the inert ingredient would need to be supported by data provided to and reviewed by the EPA as part of a new inert ingredient submission request. The type of data needed to evaluate a new inert ingredient may include, among others, studies to evaluate potential carcinogenicity, adverse reproductive effects, developmental toxicity, genotoxicity as well as environmental effects associated with any chemical substance that is persistent or bioaccumulative. Information regarding the inert ingredient approval process may be found at http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/guidance-documents-inert-ingredients.
Thing is, inert doesn't mean the same as harmless. In the context of pesticides it would mean that it isn't an ingredient that is used to kill the pests. In this case, the substance that is getting the deniers up in arms kills people. It's argon. (Argon can be used to kill pests, mind you. But not in this context.)
Argon deaths are typically related to industrial accidents and it kills by suffocation or, should I say, oxygen deprivation. For example:
On December 31, 2008, a welder was preparing to conduct TIG welding on a 2 in. by 65 in. piece of pipe located in the vent trunk compartment of an aluminum vessel under construction. The estimated height where the pipe entered the compartment was about 1.5 ft from the bottom of the deck. The welding process involved using an argon gas purge on the pipe. The hose supplying the argon gas was in place on the top of the pipe. At 9:15 a.m., the welder completed a prior welding project. At this time, the welder exited the vessel to adjust his welding machine to complete welding on the vent trunk. At 9:18 a.m., a coworker passed the compartment where the welder was working and saw him laying on his side, unresponsive. The coworker called his foreman for help, and the in-house rescue team responded. CPR was administered to the welder. He was transported to a local hospital and was pronounced DOA. The cause of death was asphyxia.
Anthony wrote - and copied and pasted the following:
This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “noble” cause corruption. Documentation follows. Eric Worrall writes:
h/t IceAgeNow - the American EPA has stunned observers, with a list of inert additives for pesticide formulations they intend to ban, which includes the noble gas Argon.
Its hard to imagine a more inoffensive substance than Argon. As a noble gas, Argon is chemically inert – it participates in no chemical reactions whatsoever, except under exotic conditions – there are no known chemical compounds which can survive at room temperature which include Argon. Argon is not a greenhouse gas.
Anthony or Eric or IceAgeNow thinks argon is inoffensive. I don't imagine the relatives of people killed by argon find it inoffensive.
As for being inert, it's not completely inert, but for all intents and purposes it can be regarded as such. And as for banning it, no. The EPA doesn't intend to ban it. All it's proposing is that because it's not used any more in pesticides, it be taken it off the list of approved inert substances for pesticides.
IceAgeNow may have read the material or may not. If he did, he decided to make up stuff, writing:
So, why does EPA want to remove these materials from the list of compounds sanctioned for use as inert ingredients? The short answer is: they seem to have some mental blockage.
Nope. The short answer is that no-one uses it in pesticides. Or if they do they haven't said so.
Sheesh, what a lot of fuss over absolutely nothing. It's a slow day in the deniosphere.
From the website - it seems that IceAgeNow is one of those "ice age cometh" nutters (my emphasis):
Robert W. Felix, author of Not by Fire but by Ice and Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps, attended the University of Minnesota School of Architecture in the mid-1960s.
Upon graduation he traveled throughout the U.S. working with architects and builders from Florida to Colorado to Alaska. In the early 1970s he settled in Tucson, where he designed and built more than 300 custom homes and small office buildings.
In the early 1990s, drawn by a different passion, he signed up for further studies at the University of Washington. He spent the next eight years, full-time, researching and writing about the coming ice age.
From the WUWT commentsTypical of the fake skeptics at WUWT, almost no-one checks the facts and lots jump straight into their favourite paranoid conspiracy theory.
Ian W launches into a conspiracy theory:
October 29, 2014 at 5:56 am
Eric asks: “why on Earth would the EPA plan to ban something as inoffensive as Argon?”
But he then goes on to answer his own question.
“Any effort to regulate the use of this harmless substance would do incalculable damage to American industrial competitiveness”
This would appear to be the rasion d’etre of the current EPA
Keitho agrees with Ian that it's all a plot:
October 29, 2014 at 6:40 am
It is hard not to think that Ian. Sometimes in the Occam struggle between clueless and malicious you have to come down on the side of malice.
The EPA is beyond satire.
klem decides it's bizarre because argon is used for something quite unrelated to pesticides:
October 29, 2014 at 6:31 am
Wait a minute, at one point didn’t the EPA promote the purchase of Argon filled windows for homes because they reduced heat loss?
This is bizarre.
Alberto is another fake sceptic who believes everything he reads at WUWT, without checking:
October 29, 2014 at 6:05 am
Argon? Are they serious? Argon is the third most common gas in the earth’s athmosphere at 0,93%. Will the EPA ban oxygen next?
Finally some common sense from Barry who wrote:
October 29, 2014 at 6:56 am
Not bizarre at all. It’s being removed from the list simply because it’s no longer being used. Be happy that regulations get updated to avoid no longer needed regulation.