International Health Regulation Statistics

Color Coding Key
GREEN Ranked 1st for statistic
RED Ranked last for statistic

An essential reason for the United States' poor health status is their reluctance to regulate their chemical production with the precautionary principle.

  Precautionary principle and chemical policy
  GMO labelling Major GMO labelling exceptions Neocotinoids Altrazine BPA ban PCB rBST Methyl bromide use
Australia Mandatory Processed products In review Allowed Absolute ban Allowed in closed systems Absolute ban 19.6
Canada Optional No GMO policy In review Allowed To review in 2020 Allowed in closed systems Absolute ban 7.3
Denmark Mandatory Meat, animal products EU temporary ban Banned All baby food contact products Allowed in closed systems Absolute ban -1,614.8
France Mandatory Meat, animal products EU temporary ban Banned All BPA food products Allowed in closed systems Absolute ban -1,614.8
Germany Mandatory Meat, animal products Eu temporary ban Banned BPA bottles Allowed in closed systems Absolute ban -1,614.8
Italy Mandatory Meat, animal products EU temporary ban Banned BPA bottles Allowed in closed systems Absolute ban -1,614.8
Japan Mandatory Processed products In review   Absolute ban Allowed in closed systems Absolute ban 93.8
Netherlands Mandatory Meat, animal products EU temporary ban Banned BPA bottles Allowed in closed systems Absolute ban -1,614.8
Norway Mandatory   Temporary ban Absolute ban Allowed in closed systems Absolute ban 0.0  
Sweden Mandatory Meat, animal products EU temporary ban Banned BPA bottles Allowed in closed systems Absolute ban -1,614.8
United Kingdom Mandatory Meat, animal products Disputing EU temporary ban Banned BPA bottles Absolute ban Absolute ban 2.2
United States Optional No GMO policy In review Allowed All baby food contact products Allowed in closed systems Unrestricted, unlabelled 20.3

Precautionary principle defined:

Concerning chemicals, the precautionary principle can be defined as policy making that assumes chemicals as hazardous until they're proven to be harmless. The policy assumes new chemicals and their potential risk to be too dangerous to introduce to the public.

Sources:

GMO labelling: International Food Policy Research Institute

See also: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Whether GMO products are required to be labelled. The European Union introduced the policy in 1997. The United States still have no such policy.

Neonicotinoids

Neonicotinoids are widely held as the responsible agent for the mass bee deaths. Prominent local and international NGOs, farmers, and environmentalists are pursuing to have the chemical banned. Sources per country/country groups are as follows:

Australia: Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Authority

Canada: Health Canada

European Union: Europa.eu

Japan: Japan Endocrine-disruptor Preventive Action

Norway: The Nordic Page

United Kingdom: The Independent

United Sates: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Altrazine

Altrazine, a widely used herbicide, has been implicated to contaminate groundwater by the European Union as well as to disrupt development in frogs.

Australia: National Registration Authority

Canada: David Suzuki Foundation

European Union and United States: National Center for Heatlhy Housing

Norway: Internation Agency for Research on Cancer

BPA ban: Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A is a product commonly found in plastic materials and a common chemical formerly (for most advanced democracies) found on baby feeding bottles.

Australia: Food Standards Australia New Zealand

Canada: Environment Canada -One of thousands of chemicals on Canada's review list. Deadline for review of all chemicals on list is 2020.

France: Senat.fr -Translated from French in Google Chrome.

European Union and Denmark's modification: European Information Centre on Bisphenol A. -French modification from this source is outdated. For France, see above.

United States: New York Times -Nothing is mentioned on U.S. Food and Drug Administration page for BPA of a ban.

PCBs: Polychlorinated biphenyls

Extensively used synthesized chemical from 1930s-80s; highly carcinogenic and cause reproductive toxicity, teratogenicity and immunotoxicity; as a persistent organic pollutant, has long shelf life and highly transferable; used in two types of systems:

  • Open system uses include: pesticide extenders, sealant, carbonless copy paper, industrial oils, paints, adhesives, plastics, flame retardants and dust control on roads
  • Closed system uses (see U.S.) include: dielectric fluids in electrical equipment such as transformers, capacitors (big industrial capacitors, but also small capacitors in household electrical appliances), heat transfer and hydraulic systems.

For more, see European Union source, below.

Australia: EPA Victoria

Canada: Health Canada

European Union: European Commission

Japan: Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs): Uses and Environmental Releases Heidelore Fiedler

Norway: Et Nettsted Mot Spredning Av Miljøgifften PCB

United States: The History of PCBs: When Were Health Problems Detected? Toxic Substances Control Act bans PCBs except in closed systems. PCBs remain only chemical to be banned by U.S. Congress.

rBST: Bovine somatotropin

rBST is a hormone used to increase milk production from cows. Cow health risks include increased risk of clinical mastitis, 40% fertility reduction, and 55% increased risk of developing lameness. Human health risks are still debated since early tests indicated a link between the hormone with tumors, prostate, breast, colerectal cancers, and others.

Australia: Australia Nature Daily

Canada: Publications.gc.ca

European Union: Agbio Forum

Japan and United States: The Organic and Non-GMO Report

Norway: Natural Society

Methyl bromide use

As a substance harmful to the ozone, the Montreal Protocol called for its gradual phase out in 1987. Here, methyl bromide use is "... the amount of controlled substances produced, minus the amount destroyed by technologies to be approved by the Parties and minus the amount entirely used as feedstock in the manufacture of other chemicals." This explains the negative values. For this indicator, the European reports as an entirety, not by individual countries. 93% of methyl bromide uses can now be supplemented by other resources. Still the United States persists on using it as a pesticide. See "The Chemical That Must Not Be Named" below in notes. United States finally reduced their methyl bromide use dramatically from 1,633.4 in 2010 to 20.3 in 2012. Measured in ODP tonnes. For most recent year (2010-2012).

United Kingdom: OECD

All other countries: UNEP Ozone Secretariat

Notes:

"The Regulation of GMOs in Europe and the United States: A Case-Study of Contemporary European Regulatory Politics," Diahanna Lynch and David Vogel, April 5, 2001.

"... [T]he US regulation of GMOs resembles the European regulatory style of the 1970s: regulators have worked cooperatively with industry and been supportive of technological innovation, while non-governmental organizations have enjoyed little access to the policy process."

"Monsanto's Harvest of Fear," Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, May 2008.

Monsanto attempts to charge a private business owner (non-farmer) of sewing seeds outside of contract. Monsanto made such accusations unfairly. Article exposes the lengths to which Monsanto pursues such cases, the basic civil liberties violated, and the lack of accountability to which the legal system holds Monsanto. For more on Monsanto and its impact on international comparisons and the precautionary principle, visit our blog.

Monsanto's Government ties: Organicconsumer.org

(Scroll down and click title for dropdown table.) Explores revolving door relation between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, United States Department of Agriculture, among others and Monsanto by which FDA officials serve in top positions of the very prominent chemical corporations the governmental bodies are designed to regulate. Same could be said for the U.S.

"Margaret Miller is just one example. While working as a Monsanto researcher, she contributed to a scientific report for the FDA on Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone. Shortly before the report was submitted, Miller left Monsanto to work at the FDA, where her first job was to review the same report! Assisting Miller was another former Monsanto researcher, Susan Sechen. Needless to say, the FDA accepted Monsanto's findings, which became the basis for its approval of Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone and its decision not to require labels on milk produced through the use of the artificial hormone. The FDA official who made the decision not to label Monsanto's milk was Michael Taylor, who had worked as a lawyer for Monsanto. Today, Michael Taylor is in the Obama Administration, in charge of food safety."

Toxic Loopholes: Craig Collins

Book underscores reforms needed in U.S. in order to regulate environmental concerns with more efficacy. Emphasizes the need for the application of the precautionary principle as twenty new chemicals are created every week by U.S. chemical industries. As the Toxic Substance Control Act allows the industries to regulate themselves, many harmful chemicals do not receive the discretion they're due.

UNEP on Persistent Organic Pollutants

"Regardless of a country's decision to ban, or severely restrict the use of some, or all, persistent organic pesticides, there is hardly any country not facing the problem of disposal of some remaining stocks. ... The decision on whether a chemical should be banned, or its use restricted, should be based on its proven harmful effect on humans, non-target organisms and the integrity of the environment, and not solely on its persistence in the human body or in the environment." POPs often cause harm decades later and far from where they were originally used. See PCBs.

"Plastic bag revolt spreads across Britain," Mark Rice-Oxley, June 20, 2007

The plastic bag example is another simple way health regulations could have a positive impact on the environment.

"The Chemical That Must Not Be Named," Stephen Leahy, September 21, 2007

Countries urge the hastening of the phasing out of methyl bromide, yet U.S., Japan, and others persist on using it as a pesticide.

"European Parliament OKs world's toughest law on toxic chemicals," Marla Cone, December 14, 2006

"Europe's rules forcing U.S. firms to clean up," Marla Cone, May 16, 2005

"Children as Consumers," Anup Shah, November 21, 2010

Connects the link between child advertising and child obesity in reviewing the market for and reasons behind the ethical controversy. See also Child Welfare 1.

"Study: Countries that Use More High Frutcose Corn Syrup Have More Diabetes," Lindsay Abrams, Novermber 27, 2012

In addition to the risks of consuming sugar, in general, and the adverse impacts on BMI, HFCS consumption is linked to type two diabetes.