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Friday Finds: The Government's Toxic Love Affair

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16 April 2012, 12:09 PM
GMOs and BPA get a kiss, while green chemistry gets the boot
Photo courtesy of healthserviceglasses (flickr)

EPA disses green chemistry program
Recently, the EPA pulled the rug out from under a green chemistry grant program without any explanation and little notice, reports Environmental Health News. The program, which planned to bring together experts in many fields to design a new generation of green chemicals that are less toxic to people and the environment, would provide $20-million towards the research of green chemistry. It was nixed just weeks before the deadline for proposals, a move that no doubt annoyed the researchers who worked for months on the program. Though the EPA says it may pick back up the program in the future, the recently burned scientists are, not surprisingly, skeptical as to whether that will ever actually happen.

FDA says BPA is A-Okay
The Food and Drug Administration won’t ban bisphenol-A (BPA) anytime soon, despite several studies that have linked the chemical’s exposure to a wide range of ailments, from obesity to cancer and even to changes in behavior, reports Grist. According to the FDA, there’s still not enough evidence to deem BPA a threat. And the fact that the chemical, which is found in up to 90 percent of the human population, may be potentially harmful doesn’t mean we should ban it. After all, what would soup companies, baby bottle manufacturers and other industries do without their precious BPA? It’s not like there are other alternatives out there that are safer and cost-effective, right? Wrong.

Govt. pretends signatures for GMO-labeling don’t exist
Speaking of FDA shenanigans, the agency also recently offered a disappointedly tepid response to receiving one million signatures in favor of labeling genetically modified foods, reports Grist. The signatures are part of the Just Label It campaign, which basically says that people have a right to know whether their food is genetically engineered—a position that about 90 percent of Americans support. Though typically a petition that garners one million signatures gets the government’s attention, in this case the FDA decided to count the one million signatures as only comment since it was submitted as a single document. Not surprisingly, the Just Label It folks and GMO-labeling advocates are furious. Meanwhile, the FDA continues to approve genetically engineered crops like alfalfa, even though GE crops such as these increase pesticide use, spawn superweeds and contaminate nearby organic and conventional crops.

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