Late last year I wrote
The courts have yet to deal with the concept of ‘biochemical privacy’ articulated by the late Dr Robert van den Bosch, but eventually they will. When they do, they’ll recognize pollution as a violation of fundamental property rights: no one has any business forcing their chemistry into anyone else’s property — biological or physical — without permission.
The link within the quote references an article I wrote in 1994. Dr van den Bosch had coined the concept well over a decade before. Yet a google search today turns up no [relevant] references other than my own — which seems odd, since the concept holds such potentially large legal significance for industrial society.
I returned to the quest while listening to Noam Chomsky, who’s in the midst of a 3 hour, live call in appearance on C-Span2 (to be repeated later today, and well worth seeing — far more thgouhgtful and far less rabble-rousy than one might expect). Among the many other topics he touched on, Chomsky observed how strange it is that corporations now have legal rights in relation to governments that individuals don’t have. A US company can sue Mexico over environmental laws that constrain its business activity — the NAFTA/WTO approach gives them legal standing — while a Mexican citizen would have very little status in US courts.
So (returning to biochemical privacy): have there been no legal challenges brought, by any of the many environmentally-focused legal intervenors like EarthJustice, to bring action against those who dispose of their unwanted property into air, water or lands of the public commons? Or by the many “free market environmentalist” defenders of property rights like the Cato Institute and others?
We’re reasonably good about proscribing wanton disposal of visible junk. Why isn’t molecular junk, as Karl-Henrik Robert calls it, held to the same legal standard?
Who will step forward to create the test case?


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