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Kellogg Cereal Recalls Uncovers Serious Problem: Lack Of Safety Data On Chemicals

August 2, 2010: 10:43 AM EST
Kellogg Company’s recent recall of 28 million boxes of breakfast cereals because of a strange odor uncovered an alarming problem. Officials at the U.S. FDA admitted they have no scientific data on the health impact of 2-methylnaphthalene, the chemical suspected of causing the odor, though they have been trying unsuccessfully to obtain such data for 16 years. But the agency is apparently also in the dark about 80,000 other chemicals used in everyday products. The root of the problem is the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, which exempted from regulation about 62,000 commercially used chemicals, including 2-methylnaphthalene. And newly developed chemicals do not have to be safety tested. The government asks companies to volunteer health effect information and then determines if more tests should be done.
Lyndsey Layton, "U.S. regulators lack data on health risks of most chemicals", Washington Post , August 02, 2010, © The Washington Post Company
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