What may be the biggest problem with our country? Greed — profit over people

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.
Part two of a series

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were an organization or an agency that truly cared about the health of all people? Well, for this article, let’s just say all people of the United States of America. Wouldn’t we feel a lot safer if every medical device, food item, food or liquid container, or anything that came in touch with our bodies on the inside or outside, were thoroughly researched or examined to the degree necessary to claim that they were at least 97 percent — if not 100 percent — free of any damaging toxins or hazardous design of the product that could cause acute, if not lingering, problems with our health, especially that of our children — even our newborn babies?
Well, wait a minute! Isn’t that what our FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is there for? The FDA is one of the executive agencies established by the U.S. government in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Department of Public Health (PHS).
As a scientific management agency, the FDA’s responsibility is to “ensure” the safety of food, cosmetics, drugs, biological agents, medical equipment, and radiological products produced by or imported into the United States. (Internationally, the FDA is recognized as one of the largest food and drug regulatory agencies in the world.)
So, if the responsibility of the FDA is to ensure the safety of all the things that could impact our health, the question presents itself as to why there are so many articles and reports telling us to beware of certain products that are dangerous to our health. Why are we always seeing new products on the market and then some time later (even if it’s years later) we see warnings and even recalls for products that were approved by the FDA, but in the meantime, people (including babies and children) have died from their use?
I’m not going to be technical; technical stuff can be found online if you want to go there. Just consider that the end product is made up of ingredients that common sense would tell you that you don’t want either inside your body or used on the outside of your body, yet those ingredients are used to preserve our food, store our food and serve our food, and used in products for babies, whether or not they were found to be “safe” by some members of the FDA team.
Consider this: How many commercials have you seen asking viewers to call this or that law firm that’s involved with a class action lawsuit against some brand name pharmaceutical product because of horrible side effects or even death? I see them all the time. And what we see are only a small percentage of those that exist. The products were previously advertised on TV with the kind of marketing that would make them very appealing to those in need of what they offer. Multiply those who see those commercials by those who suggest using those products to their friends, family, and neighbors because of the commercials; one can quickly see how the profits can multiply in no time at all.
Then consider recalls: such as for baby strollers, baby bottles, even baby food, and realize that those companies, although saying that they recalled them at the first notification of a problem, might really have simply kept selling them (for the profits) as long as they could until forced to recall them due to a single lawsuit, or even a class action lawsuit. (I once heard someone in the “safety-checking” department of a product say that the above is true, but I can’t recall who it was or for what product.)
Yes, we live in a litigious time and country, yet why do we not live in a more “safety first” country? Do we really need a product so fast that we cannot wait until it passes all the required safety tests? And speaking of safety, why do some people not practice safety at home when they buy a product that could conceivably cause a problem if not properly used? I will mention here the lack of common sense in using hair dryers that has led to litigation against manufacturers that did not make them with integral immersion protection against the possibility of their hair dryer falling in a full sink or bathtub.
When I was young, that was one of the first warnings I remember getting from my mother: “Don’t use any electrical appliance (such as a hair dryer or curler or radio) while in the tub or around water.” It’s only common sense. Safety first needs to be taught, but some products, of course, don’t show their dangers. Like those containing BPA or any chemicals known to have health compromising ingredients.
So back to the BPA and BPA-free products. BPA has been used in food packaging since the 1960s. It was a key component in the lining of metal food cans, beverage cans and plastic bottles, including baby bottles and sippy cups. It’s still found in products ranging from electronics to cash-register receipts.
For decades, BPA was considered the workhorse of the industry due to its durability, cheapness, and universal application for different foods, including acidic ones. It protected canned food and drinks from coming in direct contact with metal, prevented corrosion, provided a barrier to bacteria, and helped maintain flavor and freshness.
But in the late 1990s, health advocates and scientists sounded the alarm about BPA’s ability to leach from the cans into food and drinks.
Studies showed that even in low doses, it can act as an endocrine disruptor, affecting certain hormones and the brain, leading to cancers, obesity and other disorders.
Yet, what if we discovered that the FDA and/or the CDC was really some kind of a money-making agency and in order to get your product approved by them one could manipulate the findings to meet their requirements? Don’t tell me that you’ve never considered anything like that when it comes to manufacturers getting approval for a product that wasn’t really found to be safe!
Do you remember when cigarettes were not only considered safe, but endorsed by various health professionals in advertisements? If not, then keep reading.
A post by the Facebook account “The Informed Mama” links historical advertisements for nicotine, DDT, heroin, and asbestos with the CDC (U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention) by including pictures of the adverts along with the text: “Didn’t you know the CDC has your best interest at heart? They would never support a product that can harm you or your children. The scientist that continued to say cigarettes are safe would never have an insidious agenda. Never.”
The advertisements in the post promote the use of nicotine during pregnancy, the use of insecticide DDT to keep flies away from babies, the use of “heroin hydrochloride” by order of a physician, and asbestos as a good option for building insulation.
The claim is likely circulating because of the CDC’s current spotlight on managing the spread of COVID-19.
This article was written with help from various online sites discussing the hidden dangers of BPA-related toxins and other
endocrine disruptors or poisons.
Next week, Part 3 of how corporations or many for-profit companies care more about the profits they can realize than any possible danger their product may be for the people who use it.
* * * * *
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at maramistribune@gmail.com.

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