A danger to public health and welfare
In what could be a historic moment in the struggle against climate change, the environmental protection agency on Friday confirmed what most people have long suspected but had never been declared as a matter of federal law’s carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases constitute a danger to public health and welfare.
The formal “endangerment finding” names carbon dioxide and five other heat trapping gases as pollutants subject to regulation under the federal clean air act. This in turn sets the stage – after a 60-day comment period – for broad new rules touching major sectors of the American economy and profoundly influencing how Americans use and generate energy.
Labels lift how the FDA could make nutrition facts more palatable. “I’ll have one serving size with a couple of grams of sugar, please.” Chances are you’ve never spoken a sentence like that out loud, because to most people, it doesn’t make sense. Yet that’s the kind of lingo food makers have used for years to tell Americans about what they’re eating, via the nutrition facts panel. Now, for the first time in a decade the food and drug administration is ready for a chance.
After many rounds of internal debate – and hefty criticism from health groups – the FDA recently submitted a list of proposed improvements for approval by the white house. Since the nutrition facts label was introduced in 1990, “the science and recommendations under – lying it have changed,” says Juli Putnam, an FDA spokesman. Whereas studies show that there are good and bad fats, for example, the label lumps

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All the fats together. And daily values for sodium are based one a 2,400 mg diet even though new research says those figures should be lower. Although the FDA won’t say when the changes will take effect – it could be years – or what they will be, many nutrition experts have already chimed in with suggestions. But Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of clinical pediatrics at the university of California, Sand Francisco, warns that helath advocates should temper their expectations. After all, food processing companies spent over $28 million last year on lobbying efforts, some of which were aimed at the FDA. None the less, even a small tweak could pay big dividends. Now that 42% of working base Americans are reading nutrition fact labels (up from 34% in 2008), they could play a key part in combatting the obesity epidemic. “None of these are block-buster changes,” says Michael Jacobson, executive director of the center for science in the public Internet. “They’re steps.”