Sunday, August 05, 2007
A recent example of government intervention to make everyone "safe" is summarized below. Though the bureaucrats' intention was good, the results could be devastating. And, those who enforce these practices will be the first to blame someone else, outside their bureaucracy for any future accidents or failures.
All of us use computers for much of what we do - not just the "computer" but our cell phones, cars, appliances, etc. In addition, computers run airplanes, our national electrical grid, space stations, satellites, etc. A key ingredient in the manufacture of computer circuit boards is solder, that stuff that lets you adhere metal to metal, to a frame, etc. Solder is also flexible. A small percentage but key component in solder is lead. Turns out bureaucrats in Europe and China, discussed in the Chemical & Engineering News, have decided that lead needs to be eliminated from everything. Problem is, Mother Nature has other ideas. Lead helps prevent computers from short-circuiting, developing tin "whiskers." If the lead is removed, the soldered components become more fragile, develop these "whiskers" and increase the possibility of breakage, short circuiting, etc.
It is wonderful to want to FIX everything with one fell swoop of a law, etc. But characteristics of metals are rigid. When we find a solution that works to minimize risk, breakage, contamination, etc. we would be wise to be very careful before we ban a component that actually saves lives in the long run. Flexibility should be an integral part of the legal process. Hmmmm