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Scientists know plastics are dangerous. Why won’t the government say so?


By Paul D. Thacker

In July, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a letter that would stop almost any parent in their tracks: Chemicals in food colorings, preservatives and packaging can be dangerous to children, and they aren’t being suitably regulated by the government. A review of almost 4,000 additives found that 64 percent had no research proving they were safe for people to eat or drink; these chemicals can be especially harmful to small children because they are still growing, making them more vulnerable to any ill effects. The AAP called for reforms to the Food and Drug Administration’s food additive regulatory process and offered guidelines that could be more panic-inducing than reassuring: Don’t microwave foods or liquids in plastic, buy fewer processed foods, switch from plastic to glass or metal whenever possible, avoid putting plastics in the dishwasher.