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casheroo's avatar

Why can they get away with not sharing the contaminated companies?

Asked by casheroo (18026 points ) April 6th, 2009

I’m not sure if everyone has heard, but a rocket fuel chemical has been found in infant formula link
link two
Why don’t they have to share which companies have it in their formula?
Why is any in our water, and why did they fight to pretty much keep it in our water?
“Last fall, the Bush administration’s EPA leadership touched off a major furor by declaring that perchlorate posed no threat to most Americans and did not need to be regulated as a drinking water pollutant.

The decision was widely regarded as a major victory for the Pentagon and defense and aerospace contractors reluctant to pay clean-up costs that could mount into the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

there was also melamine discovered in our babies formula, and other products from china. they decided that a little is safe, which is absolutely scary to think about.

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11 Answers

RedPowerLady's avatar

I think it is crazy. I am totally with you on this. They should have to list everything that is in our food and water. AND there should be consumer education about such products.

The reason they don’t have to list it is pure capitalism and greed. If they did list it, less people would buy it, and they would lose money. Instead of making things healthier they would prefer to just not let us know what is going on.

I am also in favor of tags on produce letting us know which is genetically engineered/modified and which is not. But that bill got overturned as well.

ru2bz46's avatar

According to this article, common table sugar is also a rocket fuel chemical.

Perchlorates have been used to treat thyroid gland disorders for over 50 years according to this.

Jayne's avatar

On the one hand, I recognize that companies and government officials often have vested interests in allowing harmful chemicals to remain in consumer products for the sake of convenience and the bottom line. On the other hand, I am equally skeptical of the public’s ability to take matters into their own hands. Whether or not a chemical is harmful is quite a complex subject. A scientist might spend months or years investigating the effects of a single chemical, and might not come up with the same result as the lab next door, if only because the effects of a chemical depend on everything from the age of the consumer, their lifestyle, and their health to the dosage and context in which it was consumed. The contention that melamine is not harmful in small doses is quite possibly legitimate, for instance.

Given this, making “them” list every substance in a product would not be helpful, because none of us has the time to track every chemical we consume, and if we tried to do so there is still no guarantee that a new study next week won’t overturn our careful research. We would consume just as many harmful chemicals, and we would have even more health scares. As elitist as this sounds, the science behind our bodies is simply far too complex to be subject to the jury of popular opinion. Thus, while greater transparency in product chemistry might be comforting, and should certainly be available for independent scientific review groups to investigate, what we should really be trying for is greater power to, and greater accountability for, government regulatory agencies.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Jayne But should we not have the option to review what is in our own food?
That way (those of who chose to) can make educated decisions on what we put into our bodies.

casheroo's avatar

@Jayne So they don’t have to tell us which companies they discovered it in? Why? Not all of them contain it. Is it just to save the companies?

Jayne's avatar

The information should certainly be available, online most likely. But having that information does not equate with the ability to make educated decisions on what we put in our bodies. The amount of artificial chemicals that are found in the products we consume (remember, you can’t only consider food here), and moreover the scientific difficulty of determining the effects of those chemicals, means that it is hopeless and totally unhelpful for a private citizen to try to research the effects of everything they consume. Lets say you found out that there is some new chemical in your food. The most you are likely to do is google it, look at the media coverage, maybe read a few reports; you are not going to read the peer-reviewed scientific literature, and consider the validity and implications of the data. None of us have time to. So while it is fine to get angry at the government for allowing companies to introduce harmful chemicals into our bodies, because they certainly have done that, we also need to focus on rebuilding the government as something we can trust, and giving it the power to carry out that trust, because ultimately they are the only ones who can actually accomplish something useful in this field; having companies list their ingredients for the public is nothing but a feel-good measure and a (right now, at least) useless safeguard.

casheroo's avatar

@Jayne Thank you for your response, I really appreciate them.
But, I cannot just google which formula companies have the chemical, because they’ve stated multiple times they refuse to give up the names of the companies. That’s the part I don’t understand.

Jayne's avatar

Yes, that should change, simply for the reason that if you cannot access them, an independent scientific organization will have the same difficulties as well- peer-review is after all the center of all scientific research.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Jayne I follow you until this part “and giving them the power to carry out that trust”.
Governmental power and trust just seem to fit well in combination with this topic.

I also want to note that I think that public citizens are intelligent enough to determine what they want to put into their bodies based on the information given to them. Although we may not read the peer reviewed data, someone does, and it typically gets out into the public. That is when we make even more conscious and aware decisions if we like what is going on. Anyhow if they put labels on produce saying it was genetically modified i’d likely skip it altogether and go for a piece of organic produce instead. I don’t need to know why they put the GM label on, just that they did. I’m not saying that organic is great but it is a better option. And non-organic, non GM foods are still better than GM. So even a simple label would help me out personally and many I know.

In the example of @casheroo . I would just not buy anything with that nasty chemical in it. I don’t need to know exactly why it is nasty. I don’t even care if it is harmless in small amounts. I see it on a baby formula ingredients and I avoid it. So therefore it does help even without the ability to accurately research it or understand the research (which I could do but I understand your point about the public perhaps not being able to).

Having said that I do agree that there needs to be stricter governmental regulations. And that they should use our trust in a trustworthy manner.

How exactly is having companies list their ingredients a feel-good measure??? Are you drastically underestimating the general populations ability to understand the ingredients? Or are you saying that the information posted is a untrue and therefor unhelpful?

Jayne's avatar

I am certainly impugning the general population’s ability to understand the ingredients; whether or not I am underestimating it is up for experience to tell. The amount of sheer crap the public is willing to buy into, whether it is a health fad or scare, indicates that most people, for good reason, are unable to make rational decisions about the science concerning something so personal as their bodies. Now, some people are, and so the relevant information should be available. I suppose my point is really that we should not treat the government as some agent of conspiracy that is concealing the truth from a citizenry that, left on its own, would manage just fine; we would be screwed without government regulation (think of the poisons sold as ‘elixirs’ before the FDA was created), and rather than distancing ourselves from the government we should instead be learning to work with it.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Jayne Thanx for clarifying. I don’t know that I agree completely but I certainly appreciate your viewpoint.

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