You know to avoid radiation by standing away from the microwave. But it’s much harder to stay away from artificial colors and chemicals in your food—they’re added to candy, beverages, cereals, and more.
Many of the foods we eat contain dyes and chemicals that have either been banned or come with warning labels in Europe, Australia, Japan, and other countries. The United States, however, continues to allow their use in food.
The culprit is an outdated, 39-year-old law—the Toxic Substances Control Act—that has not been revised since 1976. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the law, has a hard time keeping up with the roughly 80,000 chemicals in use today, not to mention the 2,000 new chemicals introduced each year. They pop up not just in food, but in toys, furniture, clothing, electronics, plastic food containers, and herbicides.
But states like California have been more vigilant, passing stricter chemical laws. While everyone agrees the federal law needs to be revised, there is an ongoing battle in Congress over how to do it.
In the meantime, Americans continue to consume these foods made with chemicals known to cause hyperactivity in children, allergic reactions, and other harmful side effects.