5 Ways the U.S. Government is Failing Your Family and the Planet

Image by hberends via sxc.

Supporting Harmful Chemicals

The USA is sorely behind when it comes to chemical caution. The European Union along with nine other countries, including Japan, Mexico and Argentina have banned phthalates. Flame retardants and other chemicals like BPA and triclosan, which are still used in the U.S., are also banned or under major consideration for bans in other countries. When it comes to chemicals that Americans are exposed to, you’ve got two choices.

  1. You can assume that chemicals are safe until proven to be dangerous.
  2. You can assume that chemicals pose a danger until proven to be safe.

In almost all cases, your U.S. government goes with the first choice, “Chemicals are innocent until proven guilty.” This means that even when the evidence against chemicals is scary, if there’s any uncertainty about the evidence, the federal government sides with chemicals not caution. Most recently we’ve seen this happen with BPA, as the FDA made the decision not to ban this chemical from food products due to lack of supporting risk evidence, even though The Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and various other health-minded organizations in the U.S., along with numerous studies agree that BPA poses more than a passing health threat. The government cares little about what consumers want. Case in point – one of the only chemical victories we’ve seen in recent years came about because the chemical industry told the FDA to ban BPA in baby products. Chemicals are also a financial burden on the American people with exposure to chemicals costing the U.S. about $76.6 billion in 2008 alone. The government may act like chemical exposure is a small issue, but the CDC has a handy National Chemical Exposure Report (pdf) that shows that chemical exposure is extremely widespread. In fact almost all Americans carry a slew of chemical toxins in their bodies, due to slack regulation and chemical build-up over time.

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