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:

If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

Filed Under: , , , , , , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “DailyDirt: Safe Until Proven Harmful”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Everything is "Harmful until proven safe"

Not as you put it “Safe until proven harmful”,

also “unsafe” and “harmful” are not the same things,

PCB’s that you mentions, are harmful to people if they come into contact with them, but its perfectly SAFE if they are used inside a high voltage capacitor (it was used for that a lot).

So PCB’s are perfectly safe if used correctly, but are “Harmful” if not used correctly is exposed to humans. (its a serious carcinogen btw)..

it is was “Safe until proven harmful” then imagine early man, “no one has died from eating this plant, so it MUST be safe !!!”.

No, did not work that way, humans (every animal) treats a new things a “Harmful until proven safe”, they find a new plant, they might eat a tiny amount, and see if that makes them sick of not, if not they might try a bit more, if it does, they have proven it harmful.

Yes, its very true that things that are considered safe can be later proved harmful, that makes sense.

But nothing is “safe until proven harmful”

“I don’t know anyone killed from jumping off a cliff, so it must be safe” /s

PopeRatzo (profile) says:

toast and coffee

The worst part of the FDA is that they tell us to “limit our intake” of things we didn’t know existed until just now.

Acrylamide is dangerous, we are told, and it appears in toast and coffee. Yet, we are not being told to avoid toast and coffee. In fact, there has been for the past year one article after the other telling us that coffee is beneficial.

Maybe the FDA would be helped by being an agency actually tasked with looking out for peoples’ health in regard to food and drugs, rather than an agency looking out for what’s best for industry. Until they stop trying to run from their role as a natural antagonist of the food and drug industries, they will not be useful to us.

Anonymous Coward says:

How do you test for good and bad cholesterol and for the other stuff too?

Fine, everyone says something is bad and unfortunately I don’t want to press some rats into service for my own curiosity.

But how do you test for the other things in your own home?

See, if I drink too much black coffee that I love, my pressure goes through the roof, when I switch to the lathe stuff which is better than nothing my pressure goes up a notch, if a drink water my pressure goes down, so I know what I have to drink.

I also can buy kits to test the water in my home to see if there if there are heavy metals on it and some toxins that are common in water. Using some fluorescence dies in arrays I can use the cellphone camera to detect the presence of some common biological contaminants(aka bacteria). Youtube: Smartphone Biosensor

How much blood do I need to test for cholesterol, can I take just a drop from a needle prick?
How do I test for the substances that they say are bad?

Surely I am not trusting companies to tell me the truth about the food they are trying to sell me.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »