Do you believe that trace levels of chemicals are properly characterized in most risk assessments given the time it can take before some health risks are apparent?
Trace levels of chemicals are often dismissed in risk assessment studies as “insignificant” to be of concern to public health. After all, it can take years to determine if a substantial health risk in fact does exist. Consider the decades of discussion and research regarding the potential health impacts of smoking cigarettes; and then the following arguments regarding the impacts of second-hand smoke. Consider the use of Agent Orange and the time taken to accept the unintended yet significant health consequences for those exposed to the defoliant. From the end of World War II until 1973 there were roughly forty five public health alarms regarding technology that were reported in the press. Most of the incidents involved a chronic trace poison, either chemical or radioactive; diethylstibestrol, fiuoridation, shoe fiuoriscopes, DDT, tainted cranberries, polio vaccine hazard, thalidomide, medical x-rays, taconite pollution, mercury in tuna, asbestos, nuclear weapons tests and nuclear power. Every year thousands of new chemicals are engineered and put into products (medicines, foods, household goods, military, agriculture, manufacturing, etc.) with little to no active oversight or testing as to the potential health and environmental impacts of the new substances and products. Do you believe that trace levels of chemicals are properly characterized in most risk assessments given the time it can take before some health risks are apparent? Do you believe that risk assessments should be required for all products that may impact human and or environmental health? Who should pay for and conduct the Risk Assessments, and who should do the analysis? Consider conflicts of interest, the push against regulations, and the high costs of conducting long term health studies.
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