Understanding America’s Infrastructure

  • The United States has some of the most rigorous laws to protect employees, consumers and the environment. Governmental bodies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are designed to protect people from a variety of common hazards found in everyday life. While these governmental bodies are powerful, they do have some significant limitations. The following guide explains some common weaknesses that can impact the efficacy of government agencies.

    The FDA is designed to reduce the risk of contaminants in medications and foods. In addition, the FDA controls the approval process of new foods. However, it’s important to understand some significant loopholes that can endanger consumers.

    Agricultural Toxins

    It can be very expensive to comply with governmental regulations. In many cases, private companies will look for ways to reduce their need to comply with these regulations.

    Agricultural groups often look for loopholes that can reduce their fixed costs. In many cases, maintaining a plant crop to food standards can be very expensive. Agricultural companies have been able to get around some of these regulations by creating food products from non-food crops.

    Pesticides and herbicides are essential for maintaining healthy crops. In many cases, it’s cheaper for a farmer to use excessive amounts of pesticides and herbicides on his or her crops. While these chemicals can make farming cheaper, they can introduce dangerous toxins into a food supply. Because of this, the FDA regulates the maximum amount of pesticide and herbicide residue that can be found in a processed food crop.

    Some farming groups have gotten around this regulation by producing food from non-food crops. Cotton plants are often used to create cottonseed oil. Cottonseed oil has a neutral flavor profile, is very inexpensive and is cheaper to grow than other oil plants like soybeans and rapeseed. However, there are no regulations that control the amount of pesticides and herbicides used on these products. Because of this, many cottonseed oil products will contain high levels of these dangerous toxins.

    Cottonseed oil can be found in many value-oriented food products. It’s often possible to see cottonseed oil in cake icing, candies, chocolates, cookies and more. Over time, exposure to the toxins in cottonseed oil can result in cancer and other serious health problems.

    Medication Risks

    Every year, the FDA approves dozens of new drugs. New drugs have to go through a long approval process that can take years. While this approval process is supposed to be managed by a neutral third-party, it is often paid for by pharma companies. This can cause issues with the approval of some medications.

    For example, benzodiazepines like Xanax and Klonopin are used by millions of people every year. While these drugs can be beneficial for seizures and short-term anxiety, they can cause serious health problems if used for an extended time. In many cases, withdrawal from a benzodiazepine can be more dangerous than withdrawal from an illegal drug like heroin.

    Most doctors receive minimal training on the dangers of benzodiazepine dependence. In many cases, a regular prescription can cause long-term addiction and serious health consequences.

    It’s also important to understand the risks that can arise with the use of some novel prescription medications. While all drugs are tested prior to being offered in a public market, there may be long-term health consequences that aren’t noticeable in clinical trials. This can often be seen in chemotherapy drugs.

    While government agencies play an important role in protecting consumers, the environment and employees, they do have significant limitations.