Agent Orange for Breakfast?

The editors of Sioux Falls’ Argus-Leader show how much they don’t know about dioxin.

The Argus-Leader editorializes,

No one would sit down and willingly have a bowl of Agent Orange for breakfast.

The defoliant used in the Vietnam War is one example of a product containing dioxins, chemicals that can cause cancer and are found in meat, seafood and dairy products.

We know they’re terrible for us. And now the Environmental Protection Agency is recommending setting a safety standard for daily exposure limits for dioxins. The proposed standard has no regulatory power, but agencies could use the guidelines to push for change.

It’s difficult to argue against eating fewer cancer-causing chemicals.

Yet that is what farmers and those in the food industry are saying, as they push back against the EPA, saying the standard could hurt business.

We should be sympathetic to business owners who might struggle if they can’t process cheap, unhealthy food?

What’s important here? The bottom line or the health of a nation?

Change is challenging for anyone. But people are doing it when the nation’s health is at stake. Recently, fast-food chains decided to take out the meats treated with “pink slime” ammonia product, making their foods healthier. If that industry, which has made a living on producing inexpensive food, can do it, so can others. And no doubt ranchers, farmers, dairies and more will have to make significant changes if the EPA standard is made into a regulation. But we shouldn’t reject knowledge and scientific study because it’s easy to just keep doing what we’re doing.

Would you willingly serve your family poison? That’s what some in the industry are suggesting we do.

We say: No. We want healthy food, healthy families and healthy business.

And we’re confident that our ranchers, farmers and others can make better food in better ways. This could be an opportunity to innovate and develop better products.

And we must protect people who aren’t buying local, organic food. For those of us relying on convenience foods and less-expensive options, we must make sure those choices are as healthy as possible.

Sometimes, we all need a push to do what’s right. [Emphasis added]

But there is no scientific evidence that dioxins (or Agent Orange or even chemicals at typical exposure levels) increase cancer risk — even in highly-exposed workers.

If dioxins did cause cancer, Ben & Jerry’s would have no more customers.

And just what could ranchers do about the trace levels of dioxin in the environment, anyway? Are they supposed to “detox” their cattle?

One thought on “Agent Orange for Breakfast?”

  1. Dr. Michael Gough, former Director of Biological Programs, Congressional Office of Technology Assessment chaired the review committee which, in the words of Science, “kicked the EPA in the guts” because of its attempt to skew the results of a $5 million study of dioxin. Following his retirement, Gough. a world leading authority on dioxin, was hired by the Vietnamese government to help negate the false claims being made about dioxin, because the claims were hindering its attempt to establish a peanut growing industry.

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