But why are there more regulations regarding the safety of such products?
I really do not know the answer to this question. If you are a reader who does know the answer or can shed some light on information (websites, books, journals, etc.) on the subject, please leave a comment. At this point you might be asking yourself the following question:
Why is he concerned with the regulation of consumer products?
The reason is due to an article I read today about the efficacy of 'supplements' in 'The New York Times' article titled "Studies Show Little Benefit in Supplements". Specifically, the excerpt that produced the thought was the following regarding regulation stated below:
The passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 opened the floodgates to an industry that can bring these products to market without submitting any evidence to the Food and Drug Administration that they are safe and effective in people. The law allows the products to be promoted as “supporting” the health of various parts of the body if no claim is made that they can prevent, treat or cure any ailment. The wording appears not to stop many people from assuming that “support” translates to a proven benefit.After 1994, sales of a very wide range of supplements skyrocketed, and because the law allowed it, many continued to be sold even after high-quality research showed they were no better than a placebo at supporting health. The government can halt sales of an individual product only after it is on the market and shown to be mislabeled or dangerous.
The law seems to open up the door to the 'wild west' of supplements to which the world is exposed to. A few years ago, I remember listening to a radio show where the regulator said of this law that the consumer is exposed to literally "whatever the manufacturer decides to put into the product. The consumer could be buying dirt in a gel coating." I was appalled to say the least.
This puts the safety and efficacy of a consumer product on the consumer. Which, if the last sentence of each paragraph in the excerpt are picked out for the stand alone inspection below translates to:
The wording appears not to stop many people from assuming that “support” translates to a proven benefit.
The government can halt sales of an individual product only after it is on the market and shown to be mislabeled or dangerous.
I don't know about you, but I get a tingly feeling running down my spine when I read either sentence. I can say that I as a consumer have confidence in the manufacturer that they would operate on 'good faith' to make a reliable product.
As I study more, I become more aware of how gullible I have been. Although, the solution to such a matter involves the following question:
What alternative is there?
Education to start with. In the case of supplements or vitamins, many consumers do not realize that the important active compounds (vitamins) in a supplement (some of which) are not digestible in the human body. Therefore, you take a pill or drink a drink and pee the minerals and vitamins right out the other end.
Understanding that you can get the same nutrition from different fruits and vegetables along with with other food is crucial to the safety and health of yourself and your family. Many manufacturers play on the inability of the consumer not to pay attention or ask questions about the efficacy of their product.
I will leave you with this thought. Education can take you only so far. At some point, you do have to live with the understanding that toxicity is a spectrum. Every compound is a degree (a data point) on the spectrum of toxicity. Although, the more education that you put forward toward understanding the consumer products and their effectiveness versus adverse effects, the better off you will be!
So, go educate thyself!
Have a great day!