My guest today is toxicologist Steven G. Gilbert, PhD, DABT, He’s a regular guest who is helping us understand the toxicity of common chemicals we may be frequently exposed to. Today we’re going to take a look at a related subject: why people don’t believe there is a problem with toxics when there is so much scientific evidence. And how can we get this vital information more widely known? Dr. Gilbert is Director and Founder of the Institute of Neurotoxicology and author of A Small Dose of Toxicology- The Health Effects of Common Chemicals.He received his Ph.D. in Toxicology in 1986 from the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, is a Diplomat of American Board of Toxicology, and an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington. His research has focused on neurobehavioral effects of low-level exposure to lead and mercury on the developing nervous system. Dr. Gilbert has an extensive website about toxicology called Toxipedia, which includes a suite of sites that put scientific information in the context of history, society, and culture. www.toxipedia.org
LISTEN TO OTHER SHOWS WITH STEVEN G. GILBERT, PhD, DABT
- Toxics in the Air We Breathe—Indoors and Outdoors—and How it Affects Our Health
- Toxic Solvents and Vapors
- How Pesticides Can Harm Your Health
- There is No Safe Level for Lead Exposure
- Fewer Chemicals Make Healthier Babies
- Why We Shouldn’t Have Nuclear Power Plants
- How Mercury Affects Your Health
- Persistant Bioaccumulative Toxicants
- How Endocrine Disruptors Disrupt Our Endocrine Systems
- The Dangers of Exposure to Radiation and How to Protect Yourself
- Toxics Throughout History—Exposure to Toxic Substances is Not New
- The Ethics of Toxics
- How to Determine Your Risk of Harm From an Exposure to a Toxic Chemical
- The Basic Principles of Toxicology
- Meet a Toxicologist
TOXIC FREE TALK RADIO
Why do People Doubt the Science Behind Toxics
Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Steven G. Gilbert, PhD, DABT
Date of Broadcast: March 17, 2015
DEBRA: I’m Debra Lynn Dadd, and this is Toxic Free Talk Radio where we talk about how to thrive in a toxic world and live toxic free. Today is Tuesday, March 17, 2015.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. I hope everybody is wearing green and not getting pinched. Actually, I’m not, but there’s nobody here to pinch me in this room right now. But I will remember to wear green, when I go out today.
We’re going to have a different kind of show today, which I think is very interesting and important. My guest is toxicologist, Dr. Steven Gilbert, who has been on every month. And I have him on because we live in a toxic world and we need to understand the issues of toxicology. And usually, we talk about things like how mercury affects your health, and things like that.
But today, we’re going to talk about something completely different, but needs to be discussed, probably more than anything there is in the entire field.
Dr. Gilbert actually suggested that we talk about this subject, and he sent me an article from National Geographic called Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science?
Some of the things that it says in this article, I have things to say about them. And I’m sure Dr. Gilbert does too. I’ll just start by telling a little story, and then we’ll get to Dr. Gilbert. This is so apropos to me right now because in my work as a consumer advocate, I am writing about decisions that I make about products based on information about whether something is toxic or not toxic.
In the past, there weren’t a lot of studies, but there were things that people had written. Some of it was studies. Some of it couldn’t find the studies, et cetera, et cetera. And so I might right something in a secondhand context, and then I would take that secondhand thing instead of looking at the actual study. And I would use that information.
Now, I am making a huge point to actually gather the studies, and I’m working on actually, a new website that’s going to have the studies on there, so that you can go look at the studies, and that it’s not somebody’s opinion. And I’m running into something in my own work right now where a question came up about, in fact, do mattresses, inner spring mattresses, the metal in inner spring mattresses, amplify EMF’s? Is it more dangerous to sleep on an inner spring mattress?
When I started looking at, yesterday in fact, I gathered all the data that I could gather from all the different sources. And I found that there were a lot of secondhand comments about this. It came up because somebody actually measured the EMF’s spots of a mattress and said, “Hey, wait a minute. There’s no change in the EMF’s. I measured the EMF’s in the room. I measured the EMF’s coming off the matteress, and there was no difference. So what’s the big deal?”
It’s a very interesting place to be in time nowadays where we’re needing to make decisions about what’s healthy, what’s not healthy and where’s the data, and who’s saying what, and what should we believe.
Dr. Gilbert, Hi.
STEVEN GILBERT: Hi there. How are you doing?
DEBRA: I’m doing great. How are you?
STEVEN GILBERT: Good. You’re absolutely right. It’s really hard to know what to believe anymore, and industry has preyed upon that.
DEBRA: Before we get into this, I want to say that I read this article that you sent me, “Why Do Reasonable People Doubt Science?” And I’ll put a link to it on the page with your show. But it starts with a story about, in the movie, Dr. Strangelove, this was in 1964, there was a whole scene at the beginning of this article where they are talking about fluoridation and that at the time, the health benefits of fluoridation had been established, and the anti-fluoridation people were already talking about why fluoride was bad.
And then in this article, by National Geographic, it says, “Actually, fluoride is a natural mineral that in weak concentrations, used in public drinking water systems, hardens tooth enamel, and prevents tooth decay. It’s a cheap and safe way to improve dental hygiene for everyone, which are poor conscious brusher or not.”
That’s the scientific and medical consensus, except they failed to say that it’s not natural fluoride that goes in our water.
STEVEN GILBERT: Yes. That’s quite a good example, and I think it raises some interesting ethical questions too. But that’s the only compound that I don’t believe they deliberately added to the water supply and expose everybody to it. We don’t even know how much people are being exposed because people drink different amounts of water.
And the product is actually not systematically active. As far as teeth goes, it has to be topically applied to teeth.
So it’s really curious how those whole issues happen where we have widespread fluoridated water on very flimsy evidence.
DEBRA: As a toxicologist, wouldn’t you say that there are a lot of studies showing negative health effects of fluoride?
STEVEN GILBERT: Yes, I definitely do. I’m opposed fluoridation of water. I think that there’s plenty of fluoride in toothpaste and other products that we have to be aware of and acknowledge, and there’s no reason to continue with fluoridated water given the potential neurological effects, effects on the bone and other problems with fluoride.
It causes a number of health effects that I think we should be very cautious of. And we should think of cautionary approach.
And they’ve ever done the back-up study, to really document the health benefits of fluoride at the doses they’re doing. And there’s actually some real efforts to reduce the recommendations in the water to 0.7.
In Europe, most move away from fluoridating water. We’re just, not addressing the facts.
DEBRA: So I think this is actually a perfect example. And I was actually shocked to read this when I read it in National Geographic because I thought that they were going to move towards saying there’s all this evidence that fluoride is bad for your health, and yet, people continue to fight to have it in our water. But they said exactly the opposite. So I think this is a perfect example of exactly what the subject is we’re talking about today.
STEVEN GILBERT: It is a good example. It is an example of how the Center for Disease Control and other reputable organizations have brought into this and not step up with the facts. I think that they refused to change with putting fluoride in toothpaste and other products, so there’s really no need to dose the water with fluoride and expose people all across the country to fluoride and drinking water at different doses and exposures, and not take accountable for the adverse health effects.
We’re getting the benefits of fluoride in our toothpaste. Fluoride works best when topically applied.
So it’s an example of not addressing the facts with the science.
DEBRA: Tell us more about this whole issue, about people doubting science.
STEVEN GILBERT: It’s a really important issue because [inaudible 00:08:35] with this climate change being a current big example. I just want to read a quote here. This is from 1969 from a tobacco executive. The company is currently owned by RJ Reynolds, but the quote is, and this is from Industries Logan for Industrial Disinformation Campaign. And the quote, “Doubt is our product. It is the best means of competing with the body of fact that exists in the mind of the general public.”
I’ll just say that again.
“Doubt is our product. It’s the best product they want to create since it is the best means of competing with the body of fact that exists in the minds of the general public.”
So when you’re trying to create uncertainty play on the doubt, and science is about asking questions as a scientist. I love science. You can explore your doubt. It’s what’s your trained in a sense, but we’re not addressing the facts and the body’s evidence that leaves the good decision-making.
In industry and many other groups that preyed upon that a delayed regulatory progress, degraded benefiting the public health by just emphasizing the uncertainty of the issue.
DEBRA: And we need to go to break. We’ll talk more about this when we come back. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Dr. Steven Gilbert. He’s the director and founder of the Institute of Neurotoxicology and author of A Small Dose of Toxicology: The Health Effects of Common Chemicals. And he’s at Toxipedia.org.
We’ll be right back.
= COMMERCIAL BREAK =
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd, and my guest today is toxicologist, Steven Gilbert.
He is the author of A Small Dose of Toxicology: The Health Effects of Common Chemicals. If you go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com, you’ll see the book cover. You can click right there. This is a free download, and it’s a book I’ve said many times that everybody should have. It just gives you the basics of toxicology in very easy language, and points out some of the most toxic chemicals that you should be watching out for in your daily life.
So Dr. Gilbert, before the break, we were talking about how companies use doubt to counter the facts.
STEVEN GILBERT: Yes. It started off in a Natural Geographic article that says why do many reasonable people doubt science. And that was really why I see this is as a topic because there are a lot of seemingly science doubters that are not looking at the science that is produced, and just going with their gut or they’re going with other interest.
Industry has been doing for a long time, playing on the doubt by delaying regulations. But why are there so many science deniers that are congressional representatives? Why do we listen to [inaudible 00:11:27] who brings a snowball in the senate floor and said climate change isn’t happening when the evidence says that it is and scientists around the world have been documenting climate change and the huge impacts that are going to happen in society if people turn away from this.
And to give you an example of this—and the other thing that I just want to quickly mention was that The Merchants of Doubt book that came out a number of years ago, there’s now a movie called Merchants of Doubt. I’ve watched the trailers. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I really recommend this documentary that looks at industries’ efforts to create doubt and delay regulation.
The tobacco industries are one of the classic examples, but there are many others such as lead that was involved in some of the early lead research. And when confronted with some of these facts, they just tried to confuse the issue and delay regulations, delay removal of lead from gasoline, which is probably one of the greatest public health measures ever taken when the worst public officers were putting lead in gasoline.
DEBRA: I think that it’s the same battle over and over. If we just look at lead in gasoline, removing lead in gasoline, it’s the same process and/or cigarettes, banning cigarette smoking in public places or things like that.
For every chemical, every toxic chemical in consumer products has to go through that same process of people understanding that there’s a toxic danger, and then deciding that it’s not going to be there anymore. That it’s not going to be there anymore for all of us.
In the meantime, each of us individually can do something, but each of us need to individually decide for ourselves that it’s toxic and it’s something that we shouldn’t do.
I was thinking earlier this morning that I think that everybody would agree that you should be careful when you cross the streets, so that you don’t get hit by a car. And although I’m sure there are people who don’t look both ways before they cross the street, but it’s something that we understand is a danger, and that people take precautions about that, yet many, many, many, the majority of people, do not take any precautions about toxic chemicals, that they don’t believe there’s a problem.
And I just can’t understand that.
STEVEN GILBERT: This is where industry really comes in because they create a lot of doubt about these issues. Their motivation is making money from the product. They create a lot of doubt about smoking, a lot of doubt about making [inaudible 00:14:01] a whole list of chemicals.
Flame retardants are is another reason where the industry hired a physician to tell this egregious story about a child being burned alive because of lack of flame retardants. Their [claim] was entirely false. But there’s a lot of money being made from these products, and they convinced people just to ignore the issue. We don’t often know what chemicals are in our products, and we should have a right to know.
I think industries had done a good job of not allowing chemical policy reformed, which is what some of this comes down to in our use of drugs, when we go to the drugstore and buy drugs, industry has done a lot of work and Food and Drug Administration, and all the government regulatory agencies require a lot of scientific investigation of the products. It’s not the same thing as industrial chemicals, and that’s what Toxic Substance Control Act comes into play, and not having good precautionary approach to any chemicals in the environment, the industries then take advantage of that and argues [the exposure] is not a big deal. And we don’t need to tell what’s in the products we use, and what we’re being exposed to is not a problem when it is.
DEBRA: It’s just amazing to me that there’s so much. When I started many years ago studying the regulations of how different products were labeled, it was amazing to me how inconsistent the labeling regulations are. For example, there’s a whole different law for how you need to put a warning label on a sheet of particle board because of the formaldehyde. But as soon as you cut it up and make furniture out of it, it’s a different labeling law, and you don’t have to put the warning label on it.
And you don’t even need to say that there’s formaldehyde.
There needs to be one labeling law that says everything that’s in the product needs to be disclosed. Period.
STEVEN GILBERT: It’s a huge issue. Personal care products, from fingernail polish or other products, we don’t know what it’s in there. Fragrances often use phthalates as carriers. And phthalates are well documented as endocrine disruptors. Do we really need these products? Do we really need all these chemical exposures? Having antibiotics in our soap doesn’t do any good, but industry likes to sell it as the safe thing to do. And it has no documented advantage.
The list just goes on and on, and I think that we need to be really aware of this, and we need to push our representatives to enact regulatory policy that helps protect and prevent disease and not wait until we have a disease, and then have to try to cure it.
We need to be conscious of what chemicals we’re exposed to, and we have a right to know about these chemicals and what it is.
This comes back to how scientists played on this issue because science does like to ask questions. The industry takes advantage of that by not focusing on the facts, by not building consensus, but rather just tearing consensus apart. So then we do another study, and nothing gets done.
DEBRA: It’s like there are two forces. We could call them good and evil, but I’m not trying to say that industry is evil. But there’s the force that wants life to survive, and then there’s this other force that’s saying, “Oh, no.” And there’s this fight between these two things. It would be just great if everybody can say, “We should all be doing the things that make us healthy and happy and protects the environment.”
That just makes sense to me.
We need to go to break, but we’ll be right back. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd, and my guest today is toxicologist, Steven Gilbert. He’s at Toxipedia.org. It’s a very interesting website with lots of data on it. And he’s also the author of A Small Dose of Toxicology: The Health Effects of Common Chemicals. You can get that book for free as a free download. Just go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com, and you’ll see the book cover. Just click on it, and it will take you right to the page.
We’ll be right back.
= COMMERCIAL BREAK =
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd, and my guest today is Dr. Steven Gilbert from Toxipedia.org. And we’re talking about what to believe with all these information on the internet and different points of view.
How do we know what’s true and what’s not when it comes to toxics?
Dr. Gilbert has sent me an article from the National Geographic, Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science, and I have to say that I’m looking at scientific articles all the time, and I’m assuming that so is National Geographic, but we have very different viewpoints. And this article from National Geographic is in favor of fluoride, GMO’s and saying that these are perfectly safe and fine. And anybody who is naysayer is, well, why are they doubting the science of it?
Dr. Gilbert, would you just comment on how there can be all this data and different points of view, such different points of view.
STEVEN GILBERT: Yes that’s a real struggle, and I think that the different points of view come from starting at different perspectives. I just want to come back to the saying that science is always incomplete. And I want to read a quote from Sir Austin Bradford Hill. This is from 1965. He did a lot of work on tobacco and the health effects of tobacco and smoking. He said, “All scientific work is incomplete whether the observational or experimental. All scientific work is liable to be upset or modified by advancing knowledge. That does not confer upon as freedom to ignore the knowledge we only have or postpone the action that appears [inaudible 00:20:22] at a given time.”
So he’s really saying we have to have a precautionary approach to take action even in the days of uncertainty. And what the industry does is play upon our uncertainty and delay action to this to their benefit.
So the one thing you have to ask is who’s benefitting.
In 2009 I wrote a book review for one of the books about this subject, Doubt is Their Product: Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health by David Michaels. This was published from an environment health perspective. It’s a great book. It goes right along with Merchants of Doubt that creates and, again, manufactures uncertainty.
So I encourage your listeners to at least read the review of that book. But pick one of these books and look at how industry has worked very hard, hired experts at communication to advance confusion about the subject.
There’s example after example. They just create uncertainty and that delays action because then people say, “Well, we need to study it more. We don’t know enough to make decisions.”
When I’d done a lot of my work on Toxipedia and other works, just trying to document and put our scientific information, the context, the history, society and culture, and say, “We have enough information to take action. We need to take a precautionary approach and take action even if we’re not 100% certain.”
So then science is very difficult to be 100% certain. There’s always advancing knowledge and advancing information.
DEBRA: One of the things that I’ve had to figure out as a consumer advocate, for those of you listen who don’t know, the reason I do this work is because I got very sick in my early 20’s to the point of being disabled. And I was able to discover a cause and effect between my symptoms and exposures to toxic chemicals and consumer products.
And so I didn’t start by saying, “Gee, I think I’ll go look up the science about toxic chemicals.”
I started with not being able to get out of bed in the morning, having symptoms all day long, being so sick that I was disabled and couldn’t work. I couldn’t function in my life.
And it was through my detective work and discovery of the toxic chemicals that I was being exposed to that I got my health back, and I got my life back.
And nobody was talking about it then, and I’ve decided that I needed to tell the people about this because there’s no reason for people to be sick. If you know where the toxic chemicals are, if you know how to replace them with safe things, then you can take that action for yourself regardless of what the government does or doesn’t do, and you can have a healthier life.
It was only after the fact, after I made this connection that I started looking for studies. I started studying chemistry, I started studying toxicology, I started studying health, and what I found out is that it’s very difficult to say that something is toxic to every single person in the world at every single time because there’s the inherent toxicity of a chemical, and there is what happens in your body as a result of the exposure.
And there are many things that affect that, how much you’re being exposed to, how sick or well your body is, what your age is, how many chemicals you already have in your body, burden in your body, et cetera, et cetera.
And so you can line up a hundred people and have them all have the same exposure, and they would all respond differently.
Did you want to say something?
STEVEN GILBERT: Go ahead.
DEBRA: But the thing is that there are toxicology studies which established the toxicity, the inherent toxicity of a chemical.
And to me, if you’ve got organizations around the world that are saying, “We’re studying these chemicals, and we’ve decided that they’re toxic, and they shouldn’t be in products.”
Why do we need to wait another 10 years for legislation? Why do we need to study them more?
The data is there. The data is there. Why not just be prudent about it?
STEVEN GILBERT: Because somebody is making a lot of money and keep that product in play. You can guess what that whole list of these things like, Atrazine, a herbicide. It’s widely used around corn. It’s banned in Europe but it’s used in the United States because the manufacturer is very good at creating doubt about the effects of that product, and some people say, “It’s a really great product, so I keep using it,” and the industry keeps promoting it.
So it’s just different perspective on the benefits and using it is making money from the product.
DEBRA: But why does the world run on that many gets to win? Why are we not running the world on how do we keep life going?
STEVEN GILBERT: Well, I think that’s the one thing that our society really needs to struggle with. Our industry is set up that their focus and their perspective, and tobacco industry is a great example of this, is they want to increase their profits and externalize their costs. And using the increase of profits by selling more products, reducing its cost, externalize the cost in one industry. The tobacco industry gave us an example, externalized the health cost of tobacco onto the public, onto the public health care system, but reaping all the benefits and the profits.
But it creates a strategy for many companies.
DEBRA: We’ll talk about that one when we come back. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd, and my guest today is Dr. Steven Gilbert. He’s at Toxipedia.org, and we’ll be right back.
= COMMERCIAL BREAK =
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd, and my guest today is Dr. Steven Gilbert from Toxipedia.org, a fabulous site that, as he said earlier, puts toxics in the context of history and social, what’s the other component?
STEVEN GILBERT: History, society and culture.
DEBRA: History, society and culture. It’s a very interesting site to read. I really appreciate it a lot.
So before the break, we were talking about how toxic products stay on the market because businesses are making money, and making money, having profits, and minimizing costs, that’s what runs the world today. And so things like health and sustaining the environment are less of a concern.
But to me, what makes sense is that if you want to have good health, then you have to take the actions that create good health. If you want to have an environment which we all need to have in order for any of us to be alive, including all the corporations and manufacturers, without the environment there, then none of us would have life.
And yet, these two things are not generally at the top of the list of what needs to occur. And I’m not saying that that’s true for every business, but what I see particularly in more recent years because I’ve been watching this for 30 years and more, is that these issues are, or at least concerns I should say, are becoming more part of business in recent years.
And that I do see businesses thriving who are making non-toxic products.
I’d like to see everybody follow suit.
STEVEN GILBERT: Yes, I think it’s really critical that we have some regulatory changes. And I encourage all your listeners to engage in the legislative effort to modify the Toxic Substance Control Act, the Toxic Reform, Chemical Policy Reform. It’s really important. There’s build-up for congress right now about that. It was greatly weakened by industry.
The environmental community is now opposing the chemical policy reform bill as it currently stands. But that’s our only avenue to try to work through the legislative process, and we’re confronted by really well-paid lobbyists and communication experts that cloud these issues and create doubt.
There’s a great example, Merchants of Doubt, the book. It’s not a new book. It’s 50 years old, but the documentary is really new, and it just came out. And I urge you to take a look at that and get fired up about this issue to protect our health, to protect our children’s health because we are exposed to a [inaudible 00:29:32] of chemicals and it can disrupt. There’s a great example of that where they have a common mechanism of action. We’re exposed to many chemicals that affect our endocrine system. And you add all those things up. They might be very small exposures, but it can lead to a big effect.
But I think the other thing we’ve learned about toxicology in the last few decades is that small amounts of a chemical really matter. Lead is that way, Bisphenol A, other products that have chemicals that are in the products, do matter. The small amounts really do matter. It’s important to protect yourselves from being exposed to these things.
DEBRA: I read something about there’s a new bill that’s being introduced, but one of the things about a lot of these bills is they say that the EPA needs to regulate more chemicals, 10 over the next 20 years or something like that. And it’s just 10 out of 80,000.
You need to have some kind of action that happens faster.
STEVEN GILBERT: I think we have models for that. I mentioned that the drug industry takes a very precautionary approach putting new drugs in the market where we require industry to document the potential negative effects of drugs, as well as the beneficial effects.
We don’t have a similar policy when it comes to putting industrial chemicals out. Flame retardants is a great example of that.
We didn’t always use flame retardants. These flame retardants are bioaccumulative chemicals that are all over the environment, and showing up on women’s breast milk, and we’re now trying to move from one flame retardant to the next, when they’re actually showing that most of these things do not any good in the products.
But industry likes producing chemicals. That’s how they make their money. And they want to put flame retardants in products. It’s just not good for the long-term health of our society. And you just see this again and again. And industry would document that they do not support regulation, and we do see exposure of chemicals, do not support transparency, what chemicals and what products at what levels. And there’s book after book that goes through the industry’s work on this issue.
Another good one to look at is Lead Wars by Markowitz and Rosner. There’s a book by Deborah called The Secret History of the War on Cancer. And if you’re interested in endocrine disruptors and Bisphenol A, there’s a book called Is It Safe? by Susan Sarah Vogel.
There’s a lot of information out there, but what we really need is to force the legislative to make changes that will protect the human health, that put more emphasis on people’s health and not on the profitability of these corporations.
DEBRA: I totally agree. Another model that I thought of while you were talking is the whole organic model of organic food, where they have to go through this whole process in order to get certified and write a plan that says every single thing that they’re using, and it all gets reviewed to see if there’s anything toxic.
Now, why couldn’t we have the National Organic Product Program, and why limit it to food? Why not have this kind of scrutiny, and this review, and this intent to make a safe product be part of every kind of product that’s on the market.
STEVEN GILBERT: That’s a really good question. We should have more of that. We should have more transparency. We should not have to bend over backwards and have environmental groups trying to figure out what new flame retardants they’ve added to as product and what chemicals are in our products.
We should know if there’s phthalates in our products or if there’s fragnances or those other chemicals and not have to be forced to guess or do the research, to figure this out. We need to have the industry working with us and health to be a priority for them.
It’s really a difficult issue, and the only way it’s going to change is a legislative action that will shift in more of a precautionary approach taken and expected of the chemical industries and the product manufacturers.
DEBRA: Yes, I think that that needs to occur. Since I’ve been in this field for 30 years, I can see that consumer demand has played a large part in the past 30 years of people saying, “I want less toxic products.” And so whatever product isn’t toxic one day start showing more sales, then the larger corporations want to jump in and have something like.
Here’s an example. You can now buy Heinz organic ketchup. I don’t think Heinz decided that they were going to be the leader in organic ketchup. It was only after years of smaller companies saying, “We’re going to offer this organic ketchup, having enough sales,” and then Heinz saying, “Well, we better get into the organic ketchup market.”
And I see that in different companies deciding in a Wal-Mart selling organic produce, things like that.
STEVEN GILBERT: Yes, but how much more expensive those organic produce and the other products [inaudible 00:35:00].
DEBRA: Very much more.
STEVEN GILBERT: It’s an environmental justice issue. Who can afford these products that have fewer chemicals. Organic food is an example of that. Why can’t everybody have organic food? And that would be the norm and not the exception.
DEBRA: Exactly. In a society that values life that would be the case. Our legislature should be going to Washington and saying, “Okay, we want to make sure that everybody in our state can have organic food available to them at a reasonable price.” And that we shouldn’t even have non-organic food on the market at all. People shouldn’t even have that choice. Let’s just make all the food organic. What a different that would be?
STEVEN GILBERT: Well, it’s just the same struggle that occurs over labeling a product that use genetically-modified organisms. In food that’s GMO, the industry has fought labeling of that very effectively. They fought in California and they fought in Washington State. They poured huge amounts of money to make sure that we don’t label our products to know whether they have GMO or not. And that’s another example of industry saying, “Well, it’s just going to confuse the public.”
My view is we have the right to know what we’re eating, and what we’re putting in our body, and what chemicals we’re exposed to. The industry thinks that’s just going to confuse the public, and it’s not helpful for their bottom line.
DEBRA: Well, we’ve only got about a minute left. So any final words you’d like to say on this subject?
STEVEN GILBERT: I think that the most important thing to do is get involved and take a precautionary approach. We need to have the precautionary approach taken seriously in our products, and exposure to chemicals. And read more about these issues, get involved, write your legislative folks. I think the consumers have a super important role to play. And we need to be thinking about our children because our children have a right to reach and maintain their full potential, so that means they’re not being exposed to a [inaudible 00:36:56] of chemicals that they are now.
DEBRA: I totally agree. Well, thank you so much for being on the show today.
STEVEN GILBERT: Thank you for doing this, Debra.
DEBRA: You’re welcome. I just want to let everybody know that I’ve been doing some work on my website, and if you go ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com, there’s a bar with a sub-menu, and if you have your mouse hover “listen to archive shows,” you can listen to all of the archived shows, but also my regular guests, like Dr. Gilbert have their own pages now, so you can just click on Steven Gilbert and it will take you to a page where all his past shows are linked on one page.
It’s worth listening to these past shows, and it’s worth educating yourself about toxic chemicals.
And we have to go. You’ve been listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. Be well.