DailyDirt: Safe Until Proven Harmful
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
It seems like every other day we hear about yet another chemical in our food supply that’s bad for our health. Maybe it’s because the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, which is supposed to help regulate the use of chemicals in consumer products, has failed us with its assumption that “chemicals are safe until proven harmful,” and has turned us into unwitting human guinea pigs. Phthalates in vinyl, perfluorinated chemicals in non-stick cookware, brominated flame retardants in electronics, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in coolant/dielectric fluids, and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) in insecticides — these are just a few chemicals that, over the years, have been discovered to be unsafe, long after they were introduced in consumer products. Here are a few more:
- The FDA will likely ban trans fats in foods. Trans fats, typically found in partially hydrogenated oils, help increase the shelf life of processed foods and make deep-frying oils last longer. However, the FDA has now concluded that the negative health effects of trans fats — they raise LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol — far outweigh their benefits. [url]
- The FDA is now warning people to reduce their consumption of acrylamide, which tends to form when starch-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, like in frying or baking. Acrylamide, in high doses, can cause cancer in animals and likely also in humans. So, in every humanly possible way, avoid eating tasty things like fries, chips, toasted bread, and even coffee. [url]
- The FDA is keeping an eye on bisphenol A (BPA). While there have been a ton of fear-mongering media reports on BPA, the FDA has concluded that at this time, there is no strong evidence that BPA is unsafe at the very low levels we get exposed to through our diet. However, it will continue to study BPA and recommends that people who want to reduce their exposure to BPA should: avoid using plastics with recycle codes 3 or 7; never put hot liquids in containers made with BPA; and throw away scratched plastic bottles. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.