Failure to Protect

If you want to market a new drug, you need to convince the FDA — in multiple tests, over the course of years — that it won't cause serious harm. If you want to sell a new pesticide, you need to prove the same thing. The burden of proof is on manufacturers to make the grade, and government regulators are the final judge. 
But if you want to market a new chemical for use in a product — even one that will come into contact with children or pregnant women — it's up to the EPA to prove that it's unsafe, using whatever data are provided by the chemical company, with little power to ask for more. And if it's one of the 62,000 chemicals that were already in use when the TSCA went into effect in 1976 — a category that includes BPA — chances are it was never really tested by the government at all. "Chemicals are deemed safe until the EPA can prove that they are dangerous," says Richard Wiles, executive director of the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. "It's completely backward." 

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