Friday, February 3, 2012

Madness Institutionalized at the FDA

What happens when madness is institutionalized?

The arms race is a perfect example of the institutionalization of madness.

The arms race has been investigated in depth. I want to provide another example.

The institutionalization of madness in the FDA is my example.

The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for overseeing the safety of the US food and drug supplies.

However, the FDA uses a cost-benefit analysis when evaluating risks posed by food and drugs.

In contrast, the EPA uses the precautionary principle. The precautionary principle seeks to reduce risk to the lowest level possible. The precautionary principle is essentially precautionary.

The precautionary principle would tolerate very low levels of radionuclides in our food and water.

And the EPA does indeed set the standard for water quite low so that only very low levels of radionuclides are tolerated in US drinking water.

The FDA regulates milk and food. The FDA does not use the precautionary principle and consequently it tolerates high levels of radionuclides.

A good blog that has discussed the issue of milk safety is Jeff McMahon’s at Forbes. The article is “Why Does the FDA Tolerate More Radiation Than EPA” available at the link here:

McMahon notes: “FDA’s 4,700 picoCurie limit for one liter of milk is almost seven times higher than EPA’s exposure maximum for a year. FDA’s limit for Cesium-137 in a single liter of milk is 47 times higher than EPA’s annual maximum for human exposure." [end quote]

[There is some evidence that the EPA has actually raised or is in the process of raising its levels of acceptance, particularly in the context of an emergency. However, I have been unable to confirm or disconfirm this report[i]]

The FDA appears to have grossly prioritized the interests of industry over its own scientists when gauging safety.

New reports surfacing show exactly how corrupt the FDA is. FDA officials spied on the emails of employees suspected of whistleblowing over safety concerns. Whistleblowing scientists were harassed by the agency and some were fired:;

The revolving door at the FDA results in the institutionalization of madness as unsafe products are approved using a cost-benefit analysis that distorts benefits and understates costs (revolving door documented here and

I don’t think the FDA madness is restricted to medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
You can read the FDA’s guidelines on radionuclides in food here:

The specific Derived Intervention Levels are here:

The specific “FDA derived intervention level or criterion for each radionuclide group” are as follows “for all components of the diet” for Strontium 90, Iodine 131 and Plutonium 238 and 239
Sr-90 160 Bq/kg
I-131 170 Bq/kg
Cs-134 + 137 1200 Bq/kg
Pu-238 + Pus 239 + Am 241 is 2 Bq/kg

These guidelines state that the “alternate units for milk” in picocuries per liter are the following:
SR-90 4400
I-131 4700
Cs-134 + Cs-137 33,000

These are the levels tolerated in milk by the US FDA.

Now that we have examined the institutionalization of “safety” standards at the FDA let us look at a news report translated by blogger Ex-SKF from Mainichi:

[excerpted] "The Radiation Council of the Ministry of Education and Science has been deliberating on the new safety standards for radioactive cesium in food set by the Ministry of Health and Labor. On February 2, the council compiled its report that said it would be OK to loosen the standards for food and milk for infants from 50 becquerels/kg to 100 becquerels/kg. In the next meeting, the council will submit its final report to the Ministry of Health and Labor."

Majia here: According to the chart ( 100 becquerels is equal to 2700 picocuries, unless I’ve misunderstood the formulation.

Here is the equation from the site: the radioactivity conversion formulas
becquerel to curie (Bq to Ci): Ci = 2.7 × 10-11 × Bqcurie to becquerel (Ci to Bq): Bq = 37 000 000 000 × Ci

Unless I’ve made an error it appears that the Japanese government is raising the level of radionuclides in milk significantly, but to a level that is still very much under the 4700 picocuries a liter of Iodine-131 allowed by the USDA.

I hope someone will correct me if I’ve made an error but from this analysis it appears that the FDA has institutionalized madness.

Further evidence can be provided of the unacceptably high levels of radionuclides tolerated by the FDA in our food and milk.

On October 19 Greenpeace issued a press release criticizing the Japanese government for setting radiation level exposure at 500 becquerels per kilogram, which Greenpeace compared to the Ukraine’s limit of 150 becquerels per kilogram:

Greenpeace: "While the samples are well below the 500 becquerel per kilogram limit set by the authorities, the contaminated seafood still represents a health risk, especially to pregnant women and children, and it is being distributed over a wide area," said Wakao Hanaoka, Greenpeace Japan oceans campaigner. The Japanese standard compares with a 150 becquerel per kilogram limit in Ukraine after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the group said."

The US FDA Derived Intervention levels are far higher. The FDA tolerates 1200 becquerels per kilogram for Cesium 134 and 137!

Is this level safe?

A headline ran by Enenews suggest not: “Top Radiation Expert: 50 Bq/kg in humans leads to irreversible lesions in vital organs — Then top UN official refutes effects of internal radiation (VIDEO)

Nuclear Controversies by Vladimir Tchertkoff; Released in 2003, 51 minutes
30:20 – According to Professor Yury Bandazhevsky (former director of the Medical Institute in Gomel), "Over 50 Bq/kg of body weight lead to irreversible lesions in vital organs"

My conclusion is the FDA has institutionalized madness.

[i]  The report was based on a news release by PEER that examined proposed guidelines would permit the current lifetime limit of radiation exposure to occur in a single glass of water while significantly reducing EPA radiological clean-up standards, essentially permitting a 25 percent cancer per exposure (PEER, 2010 It appears the EPA may be following the model of the FDA by (perhaps) ejecting the precautionary principle.

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