Posts Tagged ‘European Union’

Have You Heard of the Precautionary Principle?

Are you familiar with the Precautionary Principle? Many people aren’t, but it’s an important principle to know. “Be careful”, “Better safe than sorry”, “Look before you leap”, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, “First Do No Harm” are adages that sum up the meaning of the Precautionary Principle.  The official definition is “… the introduction of a new product or process whose ultimate effects are disputed or unknown should be resisted. “ Regarding the Precautionary Principle, Wikipedia states, “When the health of humans and the environment is at stake, it may not be necessary to wait for scientific certainty to take protective action.”

Smoking is a good example of the Precautionary Principle at work. It was strongly suspected that smoking caused lung cancer and emphysema, and as a result many people quit smoking before it was actually proven scientifically.

The Precautionary Principle is widely practiced in the European Union and in fact is a statutory requirement in some areas of law.   The European Union is forming a comprehensive policy, which would require all chemicals to be tested for their effects on health and the environment and puts the burden on chemical manufacturers to demonstrate their products are safe.  There are of course situations where precaution is applied here as well. The Food and Drug Administration requires testing of all drugs before they reach the market for example.   But there are also plenty of situations where precaution is not applied, as with many of the ingredients in personal care products or lawn chemicals.

Naturally there is opposition. Some see the Precautionary Principle as a barrier to technological development and economic growth. But as cancer, obesity, autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, asthma, infertility, diabetes, allergies and other diseases, which might be attributed to chemicals in food and in the environment, become so prevalent in our society, we have no choice but to adopt the Precautionary Principle. Perhaps it’s time to follow the European Union’s lead.

For more information, visit the Science and Environmental Health Network.org.

 

Information compiled from: https://www.aei.org/publication/the-problems-with-precaution-a-principle-without-principle/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precautionary_principle, and http://www.sehn.org/ppfaqs.html

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com

 

 

Safe Cosmetics

One of my readers asked about safe cosmetics.  I did a post on this subject a while ago, but I am reblogging it because it’s such an important topic.  According to the Environmental Working Group,  on average American women use 12 products a day and men average 6 products daily, which means an adult is likely to be exposed daily to 126 unique chemical ingredients in personal care products alone.

Personal care army

Personal care army (Photo credit: A30_Tsitika)

We might not realize that the make up we put on our faces or the hair and body products, sunscreens, and nail polish we use on a daily basis have a host of dangerous chemicals and allergens like mercury, lead, parabans, pthalates, and others. Watch out for products with fragrances. There are no regulations on ingredients and there are usually dozens of synthetic compounds.  I always wonder why American cosmetic companies sell the same products in Europe without the chemical additives! Well, the European Union strictly regulates the extremely hazardous chemicals found in everyday products in the United States and has banned about 1,100 chemicals, while the FDA has banned only ten!  Of the more than 10,000 chemical ingredients in personal care products, 89 percent have not undergone safety testing, according to the Environmental Working Group.  If you read about what these additives do to our bodies, especially young, developing bodies, you would only use organic personal care products!  It’s scary….

The average woman “eats” more than 6 pounds of lipstick over a lifetime, just one of many cosmetics used.  Fortunately finding safer products is getting easier. Whole Foods Markets and independent natural food stores have several lines of organic skin care products that are safe to use, like Dr. Hauschka, Mychelle, Badger, Burt’s Bees.  Some products are “cleaner” than others, so make sure to always read the label and be wary of names too long to pronounce.  A knowledgeable sales person will be able to help you find the safest products.

Organic cosmetics and personal care products are not only better for your health, but better for the earth too!  When discarding them, fewer chemicals will go down the drain or in the trash, seeping into our water supply and landfills.  Many watch dog groups like the Environmental Working Group and the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow are forcing pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies to eliminate these harmful chemicals.  To rate the toxicity of your personal care products, visit www.safecosmetics.or, which does an online safety assessment of 75,223 products.

Information from ewg.org and ecosalon.com.  

Let me know if you have certain topics you want me to write about.  I’m happy to do so!