The detrimental effects of the FDA’s leniency on dangerous substances and ingredients

By: Haroon Yonis

The FDA is a federal organization that focuses on food safety and health. It regulates our foods/drugs and makes sure what we consume doesn’t harm us. 

As US citizens, we are right to assume this organization will do their best to prevent harm from coming to us through seemingly harmless foods. 

Yet, there are many controversies surrounding the FDA and its peculiar leniency in banning cancer causing agents; ingredients that have been banned in the EU, and practically every country in the world, yet the FDA continues to delay banning these harmful ingredients, many of which have been proven to cause cancer and many other terrible diseases.

A great example of this, is the group of food dyes commonly found in many household foods: Yellow 6, Yellow 5, and Red 40.

These food dyes have been scientifically proven to cause cancer. The specific cancer causing chemicals in these foods are: 4-aminobiphenyl, 4-aminoazobenzene, and benzidine.

Not only do these food dyes cause cancer, they also cause vomiting and an uncontrollable itch when they are given to certain individuals. Also, young adolescents are more susceptible to these conditions when consuming the dye.

These dyes wouldn’t be an issue if they weren’t prevalent in popular and household foods such as Froot Loops, Doritos, and Jello.

Millions eat these foods every year, and the FDA continues to claim the chemicals in these dyes are safe. Yellow 5, 6, and Red 40, have been banned in the United Kingdom, France, and many other countries. The dye is even illegal in countries such as Norway and Finland.

This is only a single example of the FDA’s failure at keeping US citizens safe. There are thousands of other chemicals that are still allowed in the US, despite the obvious risks and effects associated with them.

Now, the questions that arises are:

  • Why does the FDA continue to allow such foods to be sold in the market, when their sole purpose is to regulate these foods?
  • And: How can we as a country prevent these foods from reaching our children and communities?

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Black History Month

Hope you had a great Black History Month. In February, we as a nation, celebrate African Americans for their contribution to society and their accomplishments. In 1964 author James Baldwin wrote about his time in school. He wrote: “I began to be bugged by the teaching of American history because it seemed that that history had been taught without cognizance of my presence.” His thoughts about the lack of the teaching of Black history spread. 

Nearly half a century earlier, the celebration of Black History Month began in the year 1926 as a week-long celebration created by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Woodson is referred to as the “Father of Black History” by many. 

While Woodson was earning his master’s degree he witnessed how underrepresented African Americans were in history books and how it was taught to students. 

In 1926, Woodson launched “Negro History Week.” He choose the second week in February to celebrate so he could include Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays. He wanted African Americans to be proud of where they came from and their heritage. 

After the launch of Negro History Week, schools worldwide organized local celebrations, established history clubs, and hosted performances and lectures. Decades after its creation, mayors in the country recognized Negro History Week.

During the Civil Rights movement, it evolved from Negro History Week to Black History Month. President Ford issued the first message on the observance of Black History Month. Presidents Carter and Reagan continued the tradition of celebrating African American contributions in their messages to the American people. In the month leading up to Black History Month, each president endorses a specific theme. This year’s theme was: “Black Health and Wellness,” which explored the legacy of Black scholars and medical practitioners.

According to BLS Educational Technology’s website, today we celebrate Black History Month by: supporting Black-owned businesses; learning about noteworthy Black figures and their contributions; donating to charities that support anti-racism, equity and equality; purchasing, reading, and sharing books by Black authors; supporting and learning about Black women; participating in online events, and attending Black History Month celebrations.

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