In class we talked about the loop holes associated with labeling and advertising. When manufactures are able to market drugs directly to consumers, there is plenty of room for misinformation and tricky word play. When substances being used and listed on the sides of foods are assumed to be tested and safe for human consumption, a lack of information about the Toxic Substance Control Act leaves the consumer in direct danger. After a trip to the EPA last semester I learned that of the 100,000 chemicals labeled as “commonly used” in American house holds, only about 1% of them had been tested for possible dangers because of a lack of EPA funding.
To avoid holding back innovation, the TSCA of 1976 was passed which, “provides EPA with authority to require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures.” The issue with this act is, in the words of the EPA, “certain substances are generally excluded from TSCA, including, among others, food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides.” Why would we exclude consumables such as food, drugs, the pesticides used in their production processes, as well as cosmetics that come in direct contact with our skin to skip out on the testing and record keeping requirements? Since 1976, the TSCA has allowed for more than 62,000 chemical to be added to the list of chemicals used in the production of commonly used house hold items without conducting research on the possible human health side effects that they might have as well as without proper disposal requirements being places on the substances that could potentially have negative side effects on the environment.
A good example of the TSCA providing a perfect opportunity for a company to manufacture products and sell them to the public without proper research being done is Monsanto’s (surprise, surprise) product known as Round Up. Residual of glyphosate, which has been rebranded as Round Up, have been found in food products including the kid’s cereal Froot Loops. This substance was tested by the EPA for a short time only in 2011, after which it was never test again. In that length of time, there is no possible way that glyphosate could have been tested for long term effects. Letting industries produce commercial products while not providing the proper testing makes absolutely no sense. Allowing profits to be more important than the safety and health of our people and our environment in nothing less than criminal.