Jan 152015
 

Dioxins are a notorious carcinogen that enters the environment by the burning of chlorinated compounds such as plastics and industrial waste. Wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, diesel engines and chlorine bleaching used in paper production are also sources of dioxin emissions. Human ingestion occurs when breathing incinerated airborne particles or when consuming plants or water upon which these particles have settled. Eating dairy products from animals that have fed on dioxin-contaminated plants, or consuming the animal itself will also impart this carcinogen to us. Once ingested, dioxins are stored forever in the fatty tissue of animals, accumulating as they progress up the food chain. Health advocates say trace amounts of these synthesized chemicals are now found in every newborn child worldwide. Scientists and the EPA have long suspected that dangers may be associated with dioxide emissions. In 2012, after a 27-year wait, the EPA finally released a portion of its health review of dioxins, intended to form the basics for dioxin regulation. This portion did not address the complicity that dioxins may have in causing cancer. The completion and release of this study had been fought by the chemical and food industries because it could trigger a slew of stringent environmental policies which would tighten standards on Superfund cleanup sites, waste water treatment, air emissions and food safety. It would also likely lead to significant litigation. In its report, EPA officials said “Today, most Americans have only low-level exposure to dioxins.” It claims industry dioxin emissions have declined more than 90% since 1987 and that most people are now safe. It also said “Findings show that generally, over a person’s lifetime, current exposure to dioxins does not pose a significant health risk.” However, critics say the agency’s claim about people in general not being at risk could be misleading because people vary in sensitivity and amount of exposure. The say that traces of dioxins will remain in our food supply years or even decades after they are emitted. Although the EPA has previously acknowledged that dioxins cause cancer, it has yet to release of the other half of its dioxins report, which analyzes the evidence of dioxin carcinogenicity.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current dioxin policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to require the EPA to complete and release its dioxin carcinogenicity assessment within a reasonable period of time

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), also called genetically engineered (GE), bioengineered, transgenic or biotech is an experimental technology developed to alter the genes of a plant or animal cell -usually for commercial purposes. GE technology is most often used to make farmed salmon grow bigger and to give new properties to agricultural crops. Inserting non-native genes into plants create organisms with new properties and capabilities. Supporters of this technology advance the benefits of higher crop yields with less use of pesticides, fertilizers and water. GE plants can be designed to be tastier, more nutritious, and can even produce medications. They say these attributes are particularly important to counter the harsh growing conditions that exist in many developing nations. They also point out that there have been no reports of illness caused by consuming genetically altered foods. Critics say more than 85% of our soybeans and 50% of our corn grown this year will be genetically modified. Nearly 70% of all processed foods on supermarket shelves now contain some GE components even though no human testing has been attempted. Transgenic contamination, or wind-blown pollen from GE crops contaminating natural crops in neighboring fields, is also a concern. This common phenomenon has caused the Agriculture Department to issue rules to prevent contamination of natural crops by biopharmaceutical crops. These measures include greater buffer zones between natural and biopharm crops, stricter harvesting requirements, and inspections of biotech farms. Biotech crops are nonfood GE crops that have been altered to produce pharmaceutical, chemical and industrial compounds. Critics worry these crops will contaminate crops grown for food. Studies conclude there is no bio-confinement method that completely prevents contamination of wild plants and animals by their genetically engineered counterparts. Supporters claim GE plants and animals are needed by the world’s burgeoning population to avoid famine. Critics warn about prematurely certifying the safety of this technology. They believe there has been insufficient assessment of potential long term risks to our health and environment. They insist upon a consumer’s right to know that GE foods do not occur naturally. In 2014, Vermont became the first state to require the labeling of GMO foods.

Pending Legislation:

S.809 & H.R.1699 – Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act

I oppose reforming current genetic engineered foods policy and wish to defeat S.809 & H.R.1699

I support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered products and wish to pass S.809 & H.R.1699

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill banning genetically engineered foods until they are proven safe

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Irradiation is a process in which x-rays or gamma rays are passed through food to kill insects and microbial contaminants. Despite an absence of testing, including any low-level testing, our FDA approved the use of irradiation technology for most of the foods we consume. These foods not only include herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables, but also wheat, beef, lamb, pork and poultry. Experts agree that irradiation causes food to loose nutrients. Opponents warn of harmful changes at the molecular level of food that is subjected to irradiation. They claim this technology is often used by our food processing industry to compensate for their own deficiencies. They say irradiation is used to control fecal contamination in meat and to prolong the marketing life of vegetables and produce. Irradiation proponents say this technology helps make our food safer, lessens waste and reduces the use of pesticides. However, European studies have found chemical byproducts in irradiated ground beef and other foods that may increase the risk of colon cancer and cause DNA damage in human cells. Irradiation opponents seek long-term exposure studies and insist on a consumer’s right to know if food has undergone this treatment. Although federal law requires labeling of irradiated foods, currently restaurants are not required to do so. Advocates say labeling should be required for irradiated ingredients of compound foods as well as for restaurant and institutional foods.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current food irradiation policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill requiring mandatory labeling of all irradiated food, including compound foods

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to study the long-term safety of food irradiation

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to ban food irradiation until it is proven safe

 Posted by at 12:00 am