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7 More Substances Classified as Human Carcinogens

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released its latest additions to the list of substances known as human carcinogens, CNN reports. Two “newly reviewed” substances and five viruses are included. The newly reviewed substances include trichloroethylene (an industrial solvent) and cobalt.

While many will probably hail this announcement as wonderful, it’s hardly a dent in the many chemicals that burden our bodies every day. The sad fact is 85 percent of new chemicals approved for the U.S. market have no health or safety information on them, and of the 82,000 chemicals on the market today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has successfully taken action on exactly five of them.

When 1 in 5 cancers is believed to be caused by exposure to environmental chemicals, the idea that only two are part of the latest warning list is abysmal at best, since so many industrial chemicals have been found to accumulate in the environment and in the human body. Ultimately, this can have significant generational effects, as everything an expectant mother takes into her body can potentially get passed along to her developing child.

Also at issue is a flawed “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS) system that allows novel chemicals to enter your food supply without an FDA safety review. The problem is, the chemical concoctions used in processed foods today didn't exist in the 1950s when the amendment was written into law, and the GRAS designation is exempt from the approval process.

What little risk assessment is done is typically done on individual chemicals in isolation, and mounting research now suggests that when you consume multiple additives in combination, the health effects may be more serious than previously imagined. If you want to avoid these chemicals, avoid processed foods of all kinds and switch to a diet full of whole, organic fresh fruits, vegetables, and free-ranging, organically fed meats.
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