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.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2013 @ 6:28pm

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2013 @ 7:06pm

    Not only coffee

    Cocoa (hence also chocolate) and certain roasted red tea are high-temperature-processed too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Rekrul, Nov 22nd, 2013 @ 9:53pm

    Here's an easy way to eat healthy;

    Avoid everything that tastes good and only eat foods that are bland.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2013 @ 7:53am


    Sarcasm noted, but a better approach might be to avoid highly processed food. Fresh is usually better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous, Nov 23rd, 2013 @ 11:21am

    The FDA? You mean the agency that allows medicines with dangerous, even fatal, side effects on the market? The next time you hear of a drug being recalled or a class-action suit against a pharmaceutical company, remember that it's the government that approved such drugs in the first place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2013 @ 12:19pm

    of course BPA won't get pulled it's part of big oil ..what I find really funny is that through the criticisms there still no labellings on GMOs

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    as if I'm really that anonymous, Nov 23rd, 2013 @ 12:40pm

    everything we eat is poison. we wash it down with more poison. then we get sick from the posions we consume so we end up going to the doctor who tells us to take (poisonous) "medicine".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2013 @ 1:06pm

    the same as everything else. they are all safe until proven otherwise. just like in court now, everyone is guilty unless proven innocent, a complete reversal of things decided centuries ago. and just to please the entertainment industries! what the hell have we done to people? ruled by make believe!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Jennifer Pillow-Taylor, Nov 23rd, 2013 @ 1:41pm

    like I trust them

    I don't think the people telling me a cob full of corn with pesticide-resistant carcinogens should have the authority to take away my donuts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    PopeRatzo (profile), Nov 23rd, 2013 @ 3:23pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 3:41am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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