Why we need to arm the EPA against toxic chemicals

Silent scream: "In America, chemicals are innocent until proven guilty," writes Bejamin Ross in this fascinating summary of the FDA and the larger history of U.S. regulation of toxic substances in food and our everyday environments. While this rule of thumb has been in place for over a century, it's not how they do it in England: there, the "precautionary principle" (also known as "better safe than sorry,' while America's might be "considered safe until sued") took hold following a 1900 poisoning epidemic of arsenic in beer. Ross is the author of the forthcoming book, The Polluters: The Making of Our Chemically Altered Environment, to be published in September by Oxford University Press. (Dissent Magazine)

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