You can’t help but wonder how all these toxins are slipping by us. One after another, we find that chemicals we thought were safe are not. We use them in good faith, then find out they are implicated in very serious health conditions. You begin to lose your faith in science. How does this happen?
There are many reasons behind it, but one problem is the testing protocols: for the most part, the chemicals (when tested at all) are tested for high level exposure (a large quantity in a short period of time), or occupational exposure (the level isn’t as high, but it is continual for eight or so hours every day.)
What they have not traditionally checked for is the effects of continuous, low level exposure in a non-occupational setting. Which is one of the reasons why, after a chemical that has been tested with traditional protocols, found to be safe, and has even been on the market for years, it is found to cause serious health conditions.
Fortunately, it is now beginning to be widely recognized that the ‘standard’ approach to toxicology testing just doesn’t cut it. This recognition is, I believe, reflected in the changes being made at the EPA. The EPA knows they have not been providing the service we expect from them – to protect us and the environment – and they want to do something about it.
In the meantime, there are testing services that go beyond traditional protocol; testing done with the recognition that exposure other than high level or occupational can also be dangerous. These services are largely offered by companies and foundations that are considered ‘environmental’.