New Study Raises Concerns About Health Impacts from Yellow Dyes Found in Common Household Products
The dye used to make yellow clothing, newspapers, paint and much more could contain a banned chemical that is suspected of causing birth defects, cancer and irritation to the nose and lungs by leaking potentially harmful toxins into the air.
The chemical, known as PCB-11, has made its way back into yellow goods due to a major loophole in the Toxic Substances Control Act, which states PCBs are allowed in consumer products as long as their production is unintentional. Oftentimes, PCBs are byproducts of chemical processes, according to the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Food blog.
Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act in 1979 banning PCBs after the chemical began showing up in fish and wildlife. But lawmakers realized it was difficult to regulate the inadvertent production of the chemical and created the legal loophole to permit its accidental production, reports ABC News.
One process that generates an inordinate amount of PCBs is the production of pigments, which are used in paints and printing inks.
Researchers at the University of Iowa tested batches of paint pigments and found a wide range of PCBs in them. Students at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, have been testing consumer products and found that newspapers, magazines, napkins, plastic bags, and even children's and adult clothing all contained PCBs.
"PCBs cause a whole range of really worrisome health problems," said Rutgers University Associate Professor Lisa Rodenburg in a Feb. 23 interview with Good Morning America. "There is enough evidence that there could be health effects from this specific kind of PCB that we should investigate further."
Yet to avoid widespread alarm Rodenburg added, "I don't think that people should be, you know, terrified of this, but i think it's important to be aware of what's going on."
Michelle Noehren, founder of the Connecticut Working Moms blog, told ABC Newss it's concerning because there's virtually no way to fully weed out the color yellow when shopping.
Rodenburg said the best option is to thoroughly wash new yellow clothing and to simply be mindful of what you're purchasing and its potential impact.
Researchers say further studies need to be conducted to find out just how harmful PCB-11 is to the public.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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