Last week I rented a car in California — home of Prop. 65, which requires warning labels on just about anything that may expose you to “chemicals … which are known to the state to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.”
It didn’t take long for me to notice the rather large warning label pasted on the driver’s side door of my car. I was shocked — shocked! — to learn that driving a car could be so hazardous to my health. I found it odd that more dangerous aspects of driving, such as drinking or texting, did not merit a warning label. After a few hours behind the wheel, the biggest safety hazard appeared to be the label’s obstruction of my peripheral vision.
Suffice to say, the warning label did not change my behavior in the least. What was I going to do, leave the car in the parking lot and walk 100 miles to visit my family? I can only guess the hazards that would expose me to.
And I suspect most Californians feel the same way. Like villagers in the fable of the boy who cried wolf, consumers begin to ignore warnings when they are placed on just about everything you can think of — including signs at the entrance to Disneyland alerting visitors that everything they eat, drink, or ride on during the day might expose them to carcinogens.
When the government declares everything is a hazard, nothing is.
Read all about it…
Dr. Richard Williams’ new book, Fixing Food: An FDA Insider Unravels the Myths and Solutions arrived last week. He is the board chair of the Center for Truth in Science and a 27-year veteran of the FDA.
In the book, Dr. Williams recounts actual events during his time at the FDA, from a requirement that pear halves be the same size so that dinner parties run smoothly, to years of deciding if almond milk should be referred to as “milk.”
Dr. Williams does an expert job busting myths about food labeling, pesticides, and natural foods, among other hot button issues. Most importantly, he offers realistic guidance on how the FDA — and individual consumers — can embrace technologies that would make food safer and people healthier. We recently spoke with Dr. Williams about his new book here.