Tag Archive for ‘Chemicals’
Consumers who prefer less industrial alternatives can choose “green” or “natural” products that claim to be chemical free, but what actually goes into them is often unclear.
Since cleaning products aren’t food, beverages or drugs meant to be ingested, they aren’t regulated, per se, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, makers are required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to list ingredients that are active disinfectants or potentially harmful. Otherwise, they usually keep their other ingredients secret, presumably so competitors can’t copy their formulas.
Bhopal should have been a wake up call, but it is unclear whether chemical plants around the world are any safer a quarter century after the December 1984 disaster—during which some 40 tons of toxic methyl isocyanate gas leaked from a pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide (now part of Dow Chemical), killing 2,259 people immediately and causing lifelong health problems and premature death for tens of thousands more.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading environmental research and advocacy organization, upwards of 80,000 chemicals commonly used in the United States have never been fully assessed for toxic impacts on human health and the environment. “Under the current law, it is almost impossible for the EPA [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] to take regulatory action against dangerous chemicals, even those that are known to cause cancer or other serious health effects,” reports the group.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was initially dismissive of worries about BPA, but increased public pressure and new research on the potential effects of BPA on the brain and the prostate gland in fetuses, infants and young children have forced the agency to revisit its last survey on the topic from 2008.
Anti-bacterial soaps and other products utilizing triclosan may in fact be doing more harm than good for the people who use it regularly. According to the non-profit Beyond Pesticides, triclosan has been linked to various human health problems.