FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE DOUBLE STANDARD ON TRADING CONTAMINATED CHINESE AND
U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCTS
CHICAGO, IL, July
30, 2007 --/WORLD-WIRE/--The dangers of cheap
Chinese exports of contaminated consumer products have received extensive
media coverage, besides the formation of a Cabinet-level Product Safety
Panel. These exports include personal care products, such as toothpaste
contaminated with the anti-freeze diethylene glycol, honey contaminated
with dangerous antibiotics, and food contaminated with banned drugs,
pesticides and carcinogens. In contrast, Congress and the media remain
silent on the export of dangerous U.S. consumer products, besides their
decades-old domestic sale.
U.S. personal care and cosmetic
products contain a wide range of avoidable toxic ingredients, notably
multiple carcinogens, hormones and allergens, which remain unregulated by
the FDA. These products include leading brands of toothpaste with
In sharp contrast, the 30-member state
European Union has developed a Cosmetic Directive, which bans the
manufacture and import of products suspected of causing harm to human
health. Highlighting FDA's indifference is the State of California's 2005
Safe Cosmetic Act, requiring cosmetic companies to disclose information on
Of major concern is U.S. milk from cows
injected with Monsanto's genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth
hormone (rBGH) to increase milk production. According to Monsanto, about
one third of dairy cows in the nation are in herds where the hormone is
used. This milk contains abnormally high levels of a natural growth factor
known as IGF-1. As documented in over 30 scientific publications, detailed
in our May 2007 Citizen Petition to the FDA, increased levels of IGF-1 in
milk increase risks of breast cancer by up to seven-fold, besides risks of
colon and prostate cancers.
Not surprisingly, the import of U.S.
rBGH dairy products has been banned by Canada, 29 European nations,
Norway, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.
Also, in June 1999, the United Nations Food Safety Agency,
representing 101 nations worldwide, voted unanimously to reject a safety
standard for rBGH milk. Nevertheless, there are no FDA restrictions on its
continued sale in the U.S., nor any requirement for warning labels.
U.S. beef is heavily contaminated with natural or synthetic sex
hormones. When U.S. beef cattle enter feedlots, pellets of these hormones
are implanted under the ear skin, a process repeated at the midpoint of
their 100-day pre-slaughter fattening period. These hormones increase
carcass weight, adding about $80 profit per animal.
surprisingly, but contrary to the claims of the FDA and USDA, residues of
these hormones in meat are up to 20-fold higher than normal. Increased
levels of sex hormones are linked to the escalating incidence of
reproductive cancers in the U.S. since 1975, 36% for post-menopausal
breast cancer, 50% for testicular cancer, and 88% for prostate cancer.
Based on these concerns, Europe banned imports of U.S. beef in
1989, and Japan followed up with its own ban in 2003. Before the ban,
Japan was the most lucrative overseas market for American beef, importing
more than $1.5 billion worth in 2003.
These concerns are not new.
As evidenced in a series of General Accountability Office investigations
and Congressional hearings, FDA registration and residue-tolerance
programs and USDA inspections are in near total disarray, aggravated by
brazen denials and cover-ups.
A January 1986 report, "Human Food
Safety and the Regulation of Animal Drugs," unanimously approved by the
House Committee on Government Operations, concluded that "the FDA has
consistently disregarded its responsibility - has repeatedly put what it
perceives are interests of veterinarians and the livestock industry ahead
of its legal obligation to protect consumers - jeopardizing the health and
safety of consumers of meat, milk and poultry."
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
Environmental & Occupational Medicine
University of Illinois at
Chicago School of Public Health
Chairman, Cancer Prevention