Why Everything Causes Cancer According to California
This article does not contain chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer or birth defects
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You can scarcely go anywhere in California without seeing a sign that says you will be exposed to chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. In fact, according to California, the Disneyland Resort is toxic and there is a sign that says so.
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This kind of thing happens because of Proposition 65. Proposition 65 is actually the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 but the ballot measure was voted in by 63 percent of voters...a ballot measure called Proposition 65. This is the same regulation that requires this warning to be posted to perhaps half or more of the products you purchase online. Since these products may be sold in California, this warning needs to occur unless the seller wants to pay a hefty fee (rumor has it).
Should Prop 65 Warnings Concern You?
Should you be worried about toxic exposure when you see this California Proposition 65 warning? The answer is that you do not need to worry about dangerous exposure because of the presence of a Prop. 65 warning, alone. In California, coffee has this warning. French fries and potato chips have this warning. It seems that just about everything gives you cancer in California.
Let's look at French fries and potato chips. When fried in oil, starchy foods like potatoes build up a chemical called acrylamide. This is a potential carcinogen that's found in a host of everyday foods. Acrylamide is on the list of over 900 chemicals for which California requires a warning. Not all of these chemicals are really considered to be a big problem by the scientific consensus.
List Criteria is Bunkus
It only takes one 'authoritative body' to raise an alarm over a chemical to get it on the list. It is true that acrylamide has been shown to cause cancer in animals at very high doses (read that as gargantuan doses; outright impossible doses) but there has never been a direct link shown between acrylamide exposure and cancer in humans. And, in fact, the same can be said of many every day and ordinarily benign chemicals.
And coffee? Well, coffee has a huge record of safety in scientific studies. Over 100 studies have shown that coffee is safe for you to drink and may even reduce the risk of certain cancers. Sure, if you take ONE of the hundreds of compounds in coffee and give ridiculous amounts of it to laboratory rats, you may be able to cause them to get cancer. Here, again, it was acrylamide.
Here are some other everyday foods that Calfornia says will give you cancer because of acrylamide:
canned sweet potatoes
canned black olives
The range of products in which California has detected acrylamide is staggering. However, the amount of the chemical found in these products is minuscule. For example, Chock Full o'Nuts The Heavenly Coffee, All-Method Grind (ground but not actually brewed) was found to have 197 parts per billion (ppb) of acrylamide. Imagine 197 individual drops of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool and you'll have a good idea of how small this amount actually is. And in an actual cup of brewed coffee, there will undoubtedly be less of the substance detected.
According to California, flip-flops and toothbrushes are also dangerous and may give you cancer. And, an article by the Genetic Literacy Project reveals that they are also considering adding acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, to the list.
Now, I'm not saying that California's Prop 65 hasn't done some good. For example, it did result in the elimination of some dangerous chemicals from certain products. For example, it caused the removal of lead from a great many children's toys, more than 800 of them. But, this is NOT consensus science.
Prop 65 is Not Based on Consenus Science
Many of the chemicals listed as unsafe run completely counter to the scientific consensus on the safety of the chemical. If only one 'authoritative body' declares a substance to be potentially carcinogenic, it may well be added to the list, even if every other 'authoritative body' disagrees.
Being added to the list does NOT mean that a causal link between the chemical and any adverse health effect has been found. Remember what I said about coffee? Coffee has been shown to be perfectly safe for us to drink in moderation in over 100 studies, and yet Prop 65 applies to coffee.
The harm being done by Prop 65 outweighs any potential good. Have you noticed the never-ending lawsuits about everyday things causing cancer? You can thank Prop 65 for that, which has spawned an entire industry of tort-driven profiteering, bullshit that further spreads fear and confusion about our food supply and costs billions of dollars in not only corporate dollars but taxpayer dollars.
You may have heard about glycophosphate being found in all sorts of foods, even oat-based cereals, for example. Well, you'd need to eat about 30 bowls of cereal to be in any danger at all. But, in truth, all any company has to do is warn you, and they can be as carcinogenic as they want. That's why you constantly see these warnings on so many products.
What are you going to do if you see cancer warnings on everything? Are you going to just assume that everything causes cancer and get on with your day? Sam Delson, a spokesperson for the state's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) said "Maybe there's a feeling in the public that everything causes cancer but there are strict criteria for inclusion on the list. Many chemicals are considered and not listed. And sometimes they're removed from the list as new evidence emerges." He went on to say that that criticism may miss the point of the law: “It looks like a law that says, we're requiring warnings. And in fact, the ideal number of warnings under Proposition 65 is zero.”
Now that is bullshit. The ideal number of warnings doesn't matter. Reality does. And in reality, it's a law that requires warnings. And this will NOT likely result in most people assuming everything causes cancer. It will just as likely cause people to grow deaf and blind to such warnings. If you are warned against eating, drinking or using ANYTHING, then what will you do?