Product Safety


Alcohol and Alcoholism

Although, chemically, there are many types of alcohol, drinks known as alcoholic beverages contain some percentage of ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, which is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches.  Common alcoholic beverages include wine, beer, and distilled spirits (e.g. whiskey, brandy, rum, vodka).  For this Tox Topic, we will adopt the generally used though imprecise term, alcohol, to refer to alcoholic beverages.  Despite overwhelming scientific evidence attesting to the deleterious and potentially devastating effects of alcohol, the bottom line ...

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Human Health Risk Assessment

The woman in this photo may not know she risks harming her unborn baby's health by smoking while pregnant. Or she understands that, but she is taking that risk because she is addicted to smoking cigarettes.  Risk assessments are applied to many things we encounter in our daily lives including life-saving drugs, food additives, cosmetics, household cleaning products, pesticide residues in foods, and countless other environmental agents.   This Tox Topic briefly explains some basics of human health risk assessment.   TEF’s “Is It Safe? Evaluating Chemical Risk” ...

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Pesticides: The Challenge of Controlling Pests When Balancing Safety with Effectiveness

First let's define pest.  A pest can be almost any living thing considered by us, humans, to be undesirable; for example, insects, rats, mice and other animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, and viruses.  Even deer, when they go after your shrubs or vegetable garden, can be considered nuisance animals or pests.  The challenge of pesticide use is to maximize their effectiveness against pests while minimizing their hazards to humans, other animals, and the environment. As with most complex issues, there are bound to be tradeoffs. OK, so what is a pesticide? A pesticide ...

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Nanotechnology

There is a lot of excitement about nanotechnology.  “Nano” has become a familiar term in the world today but there is often little understanding of what it is.  For example, a poll of 1,001 adults in 2009 found 90 percent of Americans think that the public should be better informed about the development of cutting-edge technologies like nanotechnology (Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies).  We will provide some basics that can help you understand more about nanotechnology and especially about how the safety of products made with nanotechnology is established. ...

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Cosmetics Safety

The number of different cosmetic products offered for sale in various parts of the world at any given time is staggering and limited only by the imagination of the talented scientists responsible for their design and development. Hundreds of millions of people use one or more cosmetic products one or more times a day. Use of cosmetics enhances well-being and can improve personal self-esteem.   While there are countless different individual products, most if not all can be conveniently grouped under five categories – skincare, fragrance, haircare, oral care and makeup...

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