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Thursday, August 12, 2010

They Wouldn't Sell It If It Wasn't Safe... Would They??

article by: John K. Beaulieu

When we pick up a product at the local grocery store, most of us like to think we are getting something that has been tested and proven to be safe.  After all, we have laws to protect our health and safety, don't we?  Actually, the government has very limited power to regulate manufacturers, or require testing of their products.  here are some disturbing facts:
  • A product that kills 50% of lab animals through ingestion or inhalation can still receive the federal regulatory designation "non-toxic."
  • Of the 17,000 chemicals that appear in common household products, only 30% have been adequately tested for their negative effects on our health; less than 10% have been tested for their effect on the nervous system; and nothing is known about the combined effects of these chemicals when mixed within our bodies.
  • No law requires manufacturers to list the exact ingredients on the package label.  "Personal care product" refers to just about anything we use to clean our bodies or make ourselves look or smell good.  The closest thing to a regulatory agency for the personal care industry is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and their power is extremely limited.  Here are more unsettling facts regarding personal care products.
  • The FDA cannot regulate a personal care product until after is it released into the marketplace.
  • Neither personal care products nor their ingredients are reviewed or approved before they are sold to the public.
  • The FDA cannot require companies to do safety testing on their personal care products before they are sold to the public.
  • The FDA cannot require recalls of harmful personal care products from the marketplace.
  • The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analyzed 2,983 chemicals used in personal care products.  The results were as follows: 884 of the chemicals were toxic.  314 caused biological mutation.  218 caused reproductive complications.  778 caused acute toxicity.  148 caused tumors.  376 caused skin and eye irritations.
You Can't Trust Warning Labels!

You may think you know what is in a product and its potential harms by reading ingredients.  Think again.  Manufacturers are not required to list the exact ingredients on the label.  Also, chemical names are often disguised by using innocuous "trade names."  So even if the chemical is listed on the label, you may not recognize it for what it is. 

Even if the harsh and dangerous active ingredients are listed on a package, oftentimes the remainder of ingredients are lumped into a category known as "inert" (not active) ingredients.  This term may lead you to believe that these chemicals are not toxic or hazardous.  In fact, many of the 1,000 different chemicals used as inert ingredients are more harmful than the active ingredients.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not require manufacturers to identify most inert chemicals, or disclose their potential harmful effects.  Even suspected carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) are used as inert ingredients in household products.

Regarding warning labels, on New York study found that 85% of products they examined had incorrect warning labels.  Some were labeled poisonous, but weren't; others were poisonous, but not labeled as such; others gave incorrect first aid information.  And there are absolutely no warnings on products about possible negative effects of long-term exposure.  This is unfortunate because most diseases linked to chemical exposure are the result of long-term exposure.

If we don't know what's in it, and we don't know if it can hurt us, how are we supposed to make an intelligent decision about whether or not to bring this product into hour home?

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