The Nation’s Food: Hazardous US Chemical and Biological Products


Government officials serve their interests. In the US, it includes appointing corporate executives to run federal agencies.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with departments of agriculture, commerce, energy, health and human services, environmental protection, housing and urban development, interior, labor, and other federal agencies are run by corporate officials or others beholden to industry interests.

The FDA “is (supposed to be) responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.”

The agency is run by food and drug corporate executives, industry lawyers and lobbyists, or others connected to them, serving business, not public health, safety and welfare.

Last May, Trump appointed physician, vulture capital investor, resident neocon American Enterprise Institute fellow Scott Gottlieb as FDA commissioner.

Earlier he was involved in agency decisions affecting about 20 healthcare companies. His allegiance is to them, not public health and welfare.

Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is a former drug industry lobbyist and executive. He was president of Lilly USA LLC, Eli Lilly’s largest affiliate company, earlier serving as Bush/Cheney’s deputy HHS secretary.

The FDA is an HHS agency. They’re both responsible for permitting hundreds of hazardous to health food additives to be sold to the public – instead of banning them.

They include aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, trans fats, blue, red and yellow food dyes, sodium sulfite, sodium nitrate/sodium nitrite, BHA, BHT, sulfur dioxide, and potassium bromate.

Other permitted hazardous substances include high-potency industrial chemicals, pesticides, fungicides, growth hormones, antibiotics in foods, irradiated foods, glyphosate, and other known carcinogens.

Internationally recognized cancer expert, University of Illinois Chicago Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Health, the late Samuel Epstein documented occupational, environmental, prescription drug, and consumer product carcinogens. Examples include:

  • diethanolamine (DEA) absorbed in the skin, used in cosmetics, soaps and toiletries;
  • permanent and semi-permanent dark hair dye, producing 20% of female non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in America;
  • food colorings, pesticides, fungicides, nitrites, and hormones in foods.

Most US cattle and sheep receive carcinogenic growth-promoting hormone implants (usually testosterone or estrogens).

Packaging is harmful, containing dangerous chemicals able to migrate into food and other edibles.

Epstein said hazardous prescription drugs “may pose the single most important class of unrecognized and avoidable cancer risks for the US population.”

Most people in the West and other countries are aware of the hazards to human health of GMO foods and ingredients. Yet they’re allowed in America and elsewhere, along with the above substances in the US, showing the power of monied interests over the general welfare.

In 1906, Upton Sinclair’s muckraking novel “The Jungle” exposed corporate excesses, worker exploitation, and unsanitary practices in slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants.

Foods hazardous to human health were produced. Nothing was done to stop it. Unsuspecting consumers ate them. Over a century later, things are worse, not improved because of the power of big money and the influence it buys – politicians bought like toothpaste.

Jack London said Sinclair’s book “depict(ed) what our country really is, the home of oppression and injustice, a nightmare of misery, an inferno of suffering, a human hell, a jungle of wild beasts.”

Corporate lawyers and lobbyists write the nation’s laws, assuring the interests of their clients are served. It’s been this way for time immemorial, more egregious today than earlier.

Johnson & Johnson is the latest corporate predator outed, the leading baby products company, its talc sales greater than all competitive products combined.

According to a Reuters report, its executives knew about carcinogenic asbestos in its baby power for decades – yet failed to correct the problem and concealed it from the public.

According to HHS, the EPA, and International Agency for Research on Cancer,

“there is sufficient evidence that asbestos causes mesothelioma (a relatively rare cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen), and cancers of the lung, larynx, and ovary.”

“(M)esothelioma is the most common form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure. There is limited evidence that asbestos exposure is linked to increased risks of cancers of the stomach, pharynx, and colorectum.”

Asbestosis “is a chronic lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Prolonged exposure to these fibers can cause lung tissue scarring and shortness of breath,” the Mayo Clinic explained.

J&J’s indifference to public safety and health leaves the company vulnerable to thousands of potential lawsuits.

“J&J didn’t tell the FDA that at least three tests by three different labs from 1972 to 1975 had found asbestos in its talc – in one case at levels reported as ‘rather high,” Reuters reported.

According to the World Health Organization and other health authorities, there’s no safe level of exposure to asbestos. Even minute amounts can cause cancer and other diseases years later in life.

Asbestos and most other carcinogens have long latency periods, taking years for illness to occur. It’s unclear if J&J talc today is asbestos-free. What they sold decades ago was tainted, cancer and other diseases showing up years after use.

J&J’s longstanding “Safety First” motto belied its practice regarding talc, perhaps other products as well.

Many of America’s foods, drugs, and related products are hazardous to human health. Federal agencies run by corporate executives are part of the problem, largely gone unaddressed.


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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

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Articles by: Stephen Lendman

About the author:

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." Visit his blog site at Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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