The Unchecked Joys of Chemical Pollution

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  • By Andrew Mackie
The Unchecked Joys of Chemical Pollution

At the SEED event last weekend, David Wolfe dropped a fact that stuck in my head. It was that in the past 50 years we have unleashed 77,000 chemicals into our environment, and into our bodies.


(It reminded me of a New York Times article I read recently that said 85,000…but who’s counting…the gist was that a great majority of these chemicals are untested for health or safety.)


That’s a big number.


That adds up to a lot of chemical pollution. In our environment, and in our bodies. 


Is this the best we can do? Come up with a new chemical to fix every problem? Every inconvenience?


Not exactly original…


Not exactly safe either. Especially if we don’t test them. (and that’s assuming that testing exposure to a chemical for a short period of time will show the effects of the chemical over generations worth of time…) Pharmaceuticals and pesticides have major issues. But at least they are forced to go through the process. Even if the process is flawed.



(on a side note, I have been curious as to whether testing chemicals matters all that much. The are tons of known, tested proven toxins and carcinogens used as ingredients in things people work/clean/paint/glue with every day. What is the point in proving something is bad for you if you are still going to use it?)


But it’s predominant assumption most of us have that is the real problem: the assumption that we are being taken care of by the powers that be.


In reality it is exactly the opposite.


They don’t have time or energy or money to test every new chemical that comes on the market.


Chemicals are innocent until proven guilty.


(maybe this theory makes sense with criminal arrests, but with chemical pollution the stakes are a bit higher)


We need to switch the burden of proof.


It shouldn’t be up to the EPA to raise funds to test chemicals that have already been released into the world. Companies should be required to pony up for some independent, honest testing of their ingredients.


But most importantly, people need to be prepared to take care of themselves; to do their own research; and to make their own choices, in order to protect their wellness, their family’s health, and ultimately the greater world.