Since 1976, the EPA has issued regulations on 5 chemicals that were determined to present unreasonable risk. These 5 chemicals are out of 80,000 known chemicals! Our regulations are far behind other countries’.
BGH (Bovine Growth Hormone) is used to increase milk production in dairy cows. Only 3 countries allow the use of BGH: the United States, South Africa, and Mexico. Dairy cows that have been given BGH produce a high insulin-like growth factor in the milk (IGF-1). Human IGF-1 is identical to cow’s IGF-1. Premenopausal women with a high IGF-1 have a 2-3 times higher risk of developing breast cancer than postmenopausal women.
In 2001, the EU classified 2 phthalates (DEHP and DBP) as Category 2 substances, defined as chemicals to impair fertility in humans and thought to cause developmental toxicity to humans. (For more information on Phthalates, see the Nov. 15, 2010 blog.) The EU Cosmetics Directive (76/768/EEC) was revised to ban 1,100 chemicals from cosmetics. The FDA in the US has restricted only 11 chemicals, and phthalates is not one of them.
The good news: Some companies (such as OPI, Body Shop, and Burt’s Bees) have made the initiative to remove these chemicals from their products. And some states, like California and Washington, are now requiring a disclosure statement on labels.
It is up to us to choose products that are chemical-free. We can also choose to drink milk that is hormone-free. Read labels and choose wisely! As consumers, we have the power to influence what chemicals are included in our food and cosmetics.