101 Toxic Food Ingredients
A different but related argument is about when to draw the line. How do we know when we have reached a point where any further improvement is simply not worth the cost This is a legitimate question that can only be answered when we know all the facts (requiring research) and can understand the true cost-benefit relationship. For some cases we are probably almost there. But remember that until a decade ago, nobody knew the negative effects of relatively low levels of particulate air pollution. In the absence of this knowledge, it might have seemed reasonable to allow particle levels to remain where they were. On the other hand, better and more research can also lead to the opposite result, so that if certain chemicals or agents turn out to be less dangerous than previously thought, we might consider allowing more release into the environment than we would have without the benefit of the relevant scientific information. Such has occurred with certain pesticides and food additives. Many...
The pyrolysis of biomass to produce the slurry to be pumped into a gasifier to produce hydrogen or synthesis gas (syngas) instead of burning can be classified as a pretreatment step. Pyrolysis of biomass can be described as the direct thermal decomposition of the organic matrix in the absence of oxygen to obtain an array of solid (char), liquid (oil), and gas products, depending on the pyrolysis conditions. The solid char can be used as a fuel in the form of briquettes or as a char-oil water slurry, or it can be upgraded to activated carbon and used in purification processes. The gases generated have a low-to-medium heating value, but may contain sufficient energy to supply the energy requirements of a pyrolysis plant. The pyrolysis liquid is a homogenous mixture of organic compounds and water in a single phase, and it is commonly burned in a diesel stationary engine, but extraction can be carried out to obtain chemicals and other valuable products (food additives, perfumes).
The Pure Food and Drug Act was originally passed in 1906 and substantially strengthened in 1938 by passage of its replacement, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. That Act was amended during the 1950s and 1960s to tighten restrictions on pesticides, food additives, and drugs. Responsibility for enforcement of the Act lies with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA oversees food supplies, human and veterinary drugs, biological products (such as vaccines and blood supplies), medical devices, cosmetics, and electronic products that emit radiation.
Based on a report in Environmental News Network, a company called Carbon Sciences has developed a relatively simple technology that puts the mixture under pressure and temperature to create precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC). PCC is a common component of many products used everyday such as paper, plastic, wallboard, food additives, pharmaceuticals, vinyl siding, fencing, agricultural products, and fertilizer.
The SPS sets criteria for use of food additives, contaminants, toxins, veterinary drug and pesticide residues or other disease-causing organisms in food or beverages. It also sets parameters on member countries' domestic policies regarding livestock and fisheries. The primary goal of the SPS is to facilitate trade by eliminating differences in food, animal, and plant regulations from country to country. The agreement requires member nations to harmonize their food safety standards with an international standards agency, the Codex Alimentarius.
Whether or where to site and license nuclear-power plants license or ban specific pesticides, fertilizers, other agricultural chemicals, food additives, industrial chemicals, and pharmaceutical products shut solid-waste landfills regulate emissions to the air and water from industrial plants and automobiles clean up existing hazardous-waste sites and many others. The recurring pattern is of a positivist analysis that demonstrates the risks from some action are quite low and of the public disagreeing, (p. 208)
Especially important for the social movements that were to develop in the 1960s and beyond was the fact that scientific research was placed at the center of postwar economic development. Many of the economically significant new products - nylon and other synthetic textiles, plastics, home chemicals and appliances, television - were directly based on scientific research, and the new techniques of production were also of a different type it was the era of chemical fertilizers and insecticides, of artificial petrochemical-based process industries and food additives (Bookchin 1963 Commoner 1971).
Since food is often imported and exported among countries, international regulations can be significant in reducing the amount of pollution contained in food that travels beyond national borders. The Codex Alimentarius Commission, created in 1963 by the United Nations, has as its highest priorities the protection of consumer health and guarantee of fair practices in trade. With those objectives in mind, it develops standards for, among other criteria, food labeling, food additives, contaminants, methods of analysis and sampling, food hygiene, nutrition and foods for special dietary uses, food import and export inspection and certification systems, residues of veterinary drugs in foods, pesticide-residue levels in food, and guidelines to protect consumer health. These standards are not automatically binding, either domestically or internationally. However, because most countries must at some point conform to international trade law which requires that certain health-related standards...
We are surrounded by manmade chemicals, and most of them are quite benign. Pesticides and food additives have helped people tremendously (although insects and molds have a different opinion about this). Humans live longer than ever before, and it's largely because of the profusion of modern chemicals in our diets and our medications. If you want to know just how prevalent chemicals are, read some food labels. They list things like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) or butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). The thought of consuming both of these chemicals every single day may make you a little leery, but they're actually making you healthier.
Eventually I made my way to a suburban house outside of Uppsala where a young geneticist lived with his family. Bjorn Gillberg was creating a different kind of environmentalism, writing newspaper articles about food additives and genetic risks, standing outside of supermarkets with leaflets to warn consumers about the dangers lurking inside, and, most dramatically, washing his shirt in coffee creamer on a television program to show what a common household product could (really) do. I remember being struck by the fact that there was no toothpaste in Bjorn Gillberg's house - he said you didn't need it to get your teeth clean - and I was also struck by how different he was from the scientists and officials with whom I had been spending so much of my time. He was taking science to the streets (Jamison 1972).
Science, like any field of endeavor, relies on freedom of inquiry and one of the hallmarks of that freedom is objectivity. Now more than ever, on issues ranging from climate change to AIDS research to genetic engineering to food additives, government relies on the impartial perspective of science for guidance.
She determined that chemistry should be used to provide a meaningful service to society by improving people's health and environment. Her pioneering work on the effects of industrial pollution and sewage on human health led to the world's first sanitary engineering program and water-purity testing formulas, which are so precise that they are still being used. Her work in food additives led to the creation of the first pure food laws in the United States.
A related example involves the replacement of CFCs with compounds that do not have the destructive effect on stratospheric ozone that they do. Browne (1989) contended that some of the candidate substitutes for CFCs are likely to be more hazardous for workers and equipment than the CFCs they would replace. A not dissimilar trade-off is sometimes involved in decisions regarding the use or banning of certain pesticides, fumigants, and food additives. Although some of the agents in question have been shown to cause cancer when given in sufficiently large doses to animals, they also are known to be effective in controlling damage to crops and stored food from insects, mold, or fungi. The problem is to limit the one type of risk without creating a yet more serious one.
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