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Less than .3% of Chemicals Proven Safe
Over 80,000 chemicals are regularly used in the US. Less than 200 have been safety tested by regulators. That’s because current regulations are based loosely on the principle of “assumed safe until proven dangerous.” That’s just one of the alarming facts in The President’s Cancer Panel Annual Report published last month.

The report focuses on environmental triggers of cancer, highlighting the tremendous human and planetary health risks we are taking with chemicals. The authors believe these risks are significantly underestimated, in part because much of the data linking chemicals and cancer is several decades old. They also cite the facts that babies are now born “pre-polluted,” with hundreds of contaminants in their blood, and childhood cancer rates are increasing rapidly, as reasons why we should limit chemical exposure.

The report’s many recommendations to consumers include:
  • Eating organic food when possible to reduce consumption of pesticides
  • Buying antibiotic and hormone-free meat
  • Avoiding BPA, phthalates, formaldehyde, and PCBs, which are associated with some food and consumer products
As you might imagine, response to the report was heated, and at times political. However, it’s interesting to note that the members of the Cancer Panel were appointed by a Republican administration and have made their recommendations to a Democratic one.

We should think about...
  • Can we reduce the number of chemicals in the products we sell?
  • Can we reduce the number of chemicals we use when making our products?
  • How can we limit our employees’ chemical exposure at work?
Sources: Environmental Health News 2010; President’s Cancer Panel 2010;
The New York Times 2010
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