The list of things that were killing you without alerting you to this fact has just gotten a little longer with the release of an investigative report by the Scripps News Service. Their study found that metals are routinely mixed in with radioactive materials at scrap yards and recycling plants, most often outside the United States, and shipped into the country in a variety of consumer products.
The entire report is available above, but the most striking findings include:
- Radioactivity of Imports Not Checked – Only around 5% of all cargo brought into the United States by boat is checked at all by government regulators and homeland security, so it is not surprising to learn that the United States does not have regulations regarding how radioactive something may be when entering the country, which isn’t a problem because they don’t check the cargo anyhow.
- Disposing of Toxic Waste is Tough – Due to the steep cost of properly disposing of radioactive waste and byproducts, many companies are opting instead to mix in some of this waste with their scrap metal, as there is no mechanism to check for the radioactive material there. There are currently facilities in 36 different states that simply do not provide a means for disposing of the waste, while the federal program to get rid of the waste safely has an extensive waiting list and a backlog that runs around the corner.
- Health Risks Largely Unknown – There is not one single government agency tasked with locating the presence or regulating the amount of radioactivity in consumer products.
Americans are at risk from toxic chemicals on a daily basis, and there is not a lot of information about the toll of all these small exposures over the course of a life. Scientists do see an increase in cancer related illnesses especially with radioactivity. The report is clear that there is not very much consumers can do to protect themselves from this problem, however if you stick with all natural and organic products, chances are you may stay a little safer.