As if we didn't have enough to worry about with lead, Bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides and mercury, now, a new investigation finds that many common products are radioactive -- even one cheese grater.
A must-read Scripps News investigation found that radioactive waste is being mixed with other metals in scrap yards and recycling facilities, often overseas, and then shipped into the U.S. in a range of consumer products. The Daily Green urges readers to check out the whole report, but below are the chief findings:
Imports aren't checked for radioactivity: The U.S. has no regulations specifying how much radioactivity is acceptable, and U.S. agents don't screen cargo containers entering the U.S.
Radioactive materials contaminate U.S. scrap: U.S. metal recyclers and scrap yards aren't required to test or report the presence of radioactive waste, and there is a strong financial incentive for facilities to dump them or mix them in with clean products, since the cost of proper disposal is steep. Facilities in 36 states currently have no option for properly disposing of radioactive waste. A U.S. program designed to collect the most radioactive waste has a "two-year waiting list and a 9,000-item backlog."
The scale of the problem or health risk isn't known: No federal agency is responsible for testing, tracking or reporting the presence of radioactivity in consumer goods or raw materials.
Worse, there's very little consumers can do to protect themselves, according to the report. While exposure to low-level radioactivity is a fact of life, there's a scientific debate about the medical implications for chronic low-level exposure, and there's no telling whether or not some common products are delivering doses high enough to cause acute health issues. This is a "tip of the iceberg" story we'll have to watch.
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