Posts Tagged ‘FDA’

New Pesticide Marketing Campaign May Be Confusing. What Should You Believe?

Thursday, October 7th, 2010


In the not too distant future you may see advertisements, information hand-outs, signs in the produce areas of grocery stores, you might even hear radio advertising, all promoting the idea that the pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables really aren’t harmful. If you’re concerned about pesticides – which would make you part of a whopping 90% majority of the U.S. population – you might wonder if other information you’ve received on the dangers of pesticides is actually true. Well, here’s the story behind the ads.

Recently, the Federal government approved $180,000 for the Alliance for Food and Farming to “help with a public education campaign to correct misconceptions that some produce items contain excessive amounts of pesticide residues.” The ‘produce items’ being referenced are those on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen List – the top 12 on a list showing the pesticide residue on about 50 fruits and vegetables.

EWG suggests we buy organically-grown Dirty Dozens so we can avoid the pesticides. The Alliance group, on the other hand, says there is no evidence of a health risk.

The EWG information is based on analysis of 89,000 tests conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The tests were on fruits and vegetables that had already been washed and/or peeled – basically, in the same conditions under which they would normally be eaten.

So, there is no doubt that the pesticide residues are there.

Why does the Alliance say there is no health risk? One of the Alliance associates said the EPA rules protect us. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a rigorous, health-protective process for evaluating the potential risks of pesticides on food. This process includes considerations for fetuses, infants and children as well as adults.”

But, the EPA doesn’t have the same faith in their ability to protect us – as is clear from a speech given by EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, in her address to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco:

“A child born in America today will grow up exposed to more chemicals than a child from any other generation in our history. A 2005 study found 287 different chemicals in the cord blood of 10 newborn babies – chemicals from pesticides, fast food packaging, coal and gasoline emissions, and trash incineration. They were found in children in their most vulnerable stage. Our kids are getting steady infusions of industrial chemicals before we even give them solid food. Now, some chemicals may be risk-free at the levels we are seeing. I repeat: some chemical may be risk-free. But as more and more chemicals are found in our bodies and the environment, the public is understandably anxious and confused. Many are turning to government for assurance that chemicals have been assessed using the best available science, and that unacceptable risks haven’t been ignored.

”Right now, we are failing to get this job done. Our oversight of the 21st century chemical industry is based on the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. It was an important step forward at the time – part of a number of environmental wins from the 1970s, like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, not to mention the formation of the EPA. But over the years, not only has TSCA fallen behind the industry it’s supposed to regulate – it’s been proven an inadequate tool for providing the protection against chemical risks that the public rightfully expects.”

Add to that the revelations and recommendations made in the 2010 President’s Cancer Panel Report, entitled Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now:

“Many known or suspected carcinogens first identified through studies of industrial and agricultural occupational exposures have since found their way into soil, air, water and numerous consumer products…Some of these chemicals have been found in maternal blood, placental tissue, and breast milk samples from pregnant women and mothers who recently gave birth. Thus, chemical contaminants are being passed on to the next generation, both prenatally and during breastfeeding.”

“Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers…Similarly, exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic run-off from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free-range meat raised without these medications.”

It’s pretty clear from the EPA and President’s Cancer Panel statements that the pesticide concerns of 90% of the U.S. population are well-founded.

I hope this information helps you in the decision making process if the marketing campaign that $180,000 is supposed to pay for ever does become a reality.

Germs or Toxic Chemicals – Do We Really Have to Make that Choice?

Saturday, September 11th, 2010


What lengths should you go to to protect your children from germs? When Louis Pasteur postulated that minute creatures, invisible to the human eye, were floating in the air, entering our body through our nose and mouth and causing serious illness, he wasn’t met with a very keen reception. People thought he was nuts. Now, more than a century later, the ‘germ theory of disease’ is the basis of modern pathology. But did Pasteur realize at the time that some of the solutions later invented to inhibit the spread of germs could disrupt the endocrine system, interfere with normal development and reproduction and, in fact, endanger the health of all who came into contact with them?

Not likely. But, in fact, that is exactly what happened. Two major alleged germ-fighting chemicals – triclosan and triclocarban, found in anti-bacterial soaps, cleansers, toothpastes and a variety of other products we use every day – have been suspected as dangerous for decades and virtually nothing has been done about it by regulatory bodies like the Food and Drug Administration.

Although the FDA first started looking into triclosan and triclocarbon more than 30 years ago, and in 1978 proposed a ruling that both be banned from soaps, no final ruling on the matter was ever made. Now, 32 years later, it is still in the ‘proposed’ stage.

In the meantime, studies have shown that 75 percent of Americans over the age of six now have triclosan residues in their body.

To make matters worse, it has been scientifically determined that products containing triclosan and triclocarbon aren’t any more effective at fighting germs than regular soap and water.

So, we’re being poisoned for nothing – the chemical has been found in blood, urine and even breast milk.

To remedy this situation, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) last month filed suit against the FDA for failing to issue a final ruling that would regulate the use of triclosan and triclocarbon.

Read the full story, Lawsuit Seeks Final Rule on ‘Antibacterial’ Chemicals After 32-Year Delay, on non-toxickids.net.

It’s taken years to even put a dent in the laws regulating the chemicals used in crib mattresses, and the progress so far has been limited to the ban of just a few types of phthalates, also endocrine disruptors. Let’s hope the NRDC lawsuit motivates the FDA to take further action on triclosan and triclocarbon.

How careful do you have to be about germs with your children? You have to remember that Pasteur lived in an era where sanitation wasn’t what it is today: Most people bathed once a week, at most, and the whole family bathed in the same tub. Dad first, then mom, then the kids – all in the same water. Also, Pasteur was literally trying to convince doctors that it might be a good idea to wash their hands before they plunged them into someone’s open wound.

Today, we’re in much better shape. Almost all of us have bathrooms, bathtubs, soap and clean water. Studies show that’s really all we need – as long as we use them and take normal precautions.

Thanks to companies that make organic and natural personal care and cleaning products, we also have many non-toxic choices available for killing germs.

To keep your kids safe – from both toxic chemicals and germs – check ingredients lists for your personal care and cleaning products on labels and websites, switch to brands that don’t contain harmful chemicals, and make judicious use of the products that are available to keep your home and body clean.