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Do chemical flavorings place workers at risk?

Over the past several years, American consumers have become increasingly savvy about the foods that they eat, the beverages they drink and the drugs they ingest. Instead of embracing the kinds of prepackaged foods that once wowed the American public, more individuals are shying away from processed foods. One of the main reasons why processed and prepackaged foods are being increasingly shunned is that many contain artificial flavorings and colorings. It is thought that many artificial and chemically manufactured ingredients are unsafe for consumption.

It should be of little surprise then that workers exposed to these artificial and generally manufactured chemical scents, flavors and colors are placing themselves at risk. It seems that workers may become ill or injured if improperly exposed to the very scents and flavors that are used to enhance food for general consumption.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the federal toxic exposure limits for most of these particular chemical additives have not been updated since the 1970s. Obviously, safety standards have evolved dramatically over the past 40 years. And yet, workers are not being protected in industries like the food additive industry because relevant regulations have not caught up with the times.

It is critically important that federal regulators address this issue with urgency. Workers who aim to ensure that Americans are fed deserve a safe work environment and to be educated on what kinds of risks they may be exposing themselves to on a regular basis. Failure to address this issue is simply unacceptable now that this regulatory gap has been exposed and explored.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Worker Risks From Chemical Flavorings Get Manufacturers’ Attention," Ben Dipietro, Feb. 3, 2015

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