Toxic Chemicals Deemed Safe, Really?

Toxic Chemicals Deemed Safe, Really

“Chemical safety” is an oxymoron when it comes to the use of consumer products.  One chemical alone that is widely used in plastic products, canned goods and more have been linked to altered brain function and organ development.  In some adults, the exposure may lead to cancer, high blood pressure, obesity and sperm damage.

After years and much-published research showing the toxic effect, some of the manufacturers began to remove BPA from their products.  France even banned its use in food packaging and the European Union banned it from baby bottles.  Now it is possible to find many of these plastic products available in BPA-free form.  But, most BPA-free plastics contain another chemical called bisphenol S (BPS) in place of BPAs.  This chemical is very similar to BPA and might even be more toxic.  Companies are thinking it will be years before people get wind of the toxicity of BPS, and they are taking their profits happily, all the way to the bank.

The co-founder and executive director of the Bioscience Resource Project, Jonathan Latham, Ph.D., revealed that many of the chemical-safety failures plaguing the U.S. are often misunderstood realities surrounding chemical bans.  The chemical production has increased 15-fold from 1945 to 2007.  The “standard” chemicals have been pulled after health concerns and some even banned from the market.  This does us no good because the banned chemicals were then replaced with others that were supposed to be safer, but often turned out toxic as well.  

Currently, there are few chemicals out there that are tested for safety.  Even if they are, they aren’t necessarily safe.  Their so called standard for testing toxicology involves tests of chemicals being administered for up to 90 days and usually to rats or mice fed a standardized diet.  Many times there are gross errors in estimating what really happens when the chemicals are applied in the real world.  Commercial chemicals are often impure and might be contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins, and the real-world exposures are complex and vary depending on too many factors to control.  Most research, therefore, cannot predict the outcome of these scenarios of research.

Studies also reveal that they assume if a chemical causes organ damage at 200 parts per million, it will cause greater damage at higher exposures and less damage at lower levels.  Sometimes the smaller doses are more toxic.

To put it mildly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is NOT an effective regulator.

In 1976 the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) took effect allowing high-production volume chemicals to be launched without their chemical identity or toxicity information being disclosed. This does make it difficult for the EPA to take regulatory action against dangerous chemicals.

How are the problems fixed, or can they be fixed?  It is the opinion of Latham that the issues are not just broken but unfixable because of the complexities of testing multiple chemical cocktails.

The Toxic Substances Control Act desperately needs an overhaul, but an agreement has been reached that doesn’t go far enough to protect Americans.  The EPA has the authority to require companies to provide safety data for untested chemicals and can also prevent chemicals from coming to market if they haven’t been tested for safety.  They can, however, only demand safety data if they can prove the chemical poses a risk.

Our bodies are not a toxin dumping ground!  We can limit our exposure by keeping these key principles in mind:  Eat a diet focused on locally grown, fresh organic whole foods, choose pastured sustainably raised meats and dairy, eat a high-quality krill oil or fish that is wild-caught, buy products that come in glass bottles, store your food and beverages in glass, use glass baby bottles, filter your tap water, use products made by companies that are Earth-friendly, use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, buy products that are chemical-free, avoid stain and water-resistance clothing and products, buy BPA-free baby toys, use natural cleaning products, switch to organic toiletries, replace that vinyl shower curtain with fabric or glass doors, replace feminine hygiene products with safer alternatives and look for fragrance-free products.

-Dr Fredda Branyon