No matter how careful people are about their food consumption, the beverages they drink and the food they consume, probably contain one or even more of the 10,000 chemicals that have been permitted to be added in foods. Some of these chemicals are known as endocrine (hormone) disruptors, which are associated to cognitive, developmental, and other health issues in adults and babies.

The Food and Drug Administration, which was established to protect U.S. citizens from unsafe chemicals, has not been doing the job it was assigned by the Congress when it passed the 1958 law, Food Additives Amendment, claims a petition filed by a U.S. citizen.

The Environmental Defense Fund’s Chemicals Policy Director, Tom Neltner, who was an important signatory of this petition, stated that the U.S. FDA has never considered the effects of these 10,000 chemicals on consumers’ health, which is something the Congress was after in the first place.

Co-author of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy statement, and the Director of NYU Langone Health’s environmental pediatrics department, Dr. Leonardo Trasande further stated that it is not just small effects on the body. These synthetic chemicals have the potential to harm hormones that offer what is known as synergistic effects or additives.

In pregnant women, the additive effect of exposure of even low levels of these chemicals can severely impact a baby’s IQ and adversely impact its ability to shine in school and also contribute to society as a whole, added Trasande

Trasande further added that the consumption of these chemicals would lead to a child losing 2% of his or her lifetime economic productivity on an average through the loss of one IQ point, which is approximately $20,000. When this number is multiplied to the four million kids born every year, the economic impact of these harmful chemicals on the country’s economy is significantly severe.

All in all, apart from just being about the overall health and wellbeing of the nation’s citizens, the petition is also about the country’s capability to compete as a global economy.

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