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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

Why dodgy "synthetics" are classified as safe "natural health products" by Medsa

Updated: Feb 15

Dear Friends

Thank you for helping so much with the campaign against the NHP Bill. Due to everyone's efforts the Bill is at the bottom of the order paper and MPs are beginning to entertain doubts. Well began is halfway done. At this time we need to keep up the pressure and the feeding of information to MPs. You may find the attached information to be useful.

I am attaching a short list of approved substances that are flagged in other countries as potentially carcinogenic or toxic in other ways.

I compiled this list through a very cursory examination of the list of 5500 approved substances in the Natural Health Products Bill and therefore I am sure there are many other approved compounds which are toxic. When you put this against the 3000 or so chemical compounds which have been approved, most of which are synthetics, it shows that there has been no credible attempt to address safety issues and no real concern on the part of Medsafe to improve public health outcomes. There has obviously been a process of including anything that is already used in food and cosmetics without much thought, while medicinal herbs are subject to an almost irrational scrutiny based on the principle of doubt—if Medsafe either aren’t familiar with it or they believe it to be therapeutic then they hold it up as suspect and consult other regulatory authorities overseas who will no doubt offer an equally ill-informed opinion.

Regarding the thousands of fragrances and flavours that have been approved, it seems to me that these have been approved under a mix of pseudo-scientific principles that don’t hold up to any sort of scrutiny and are in fact not part of main stream science, but more a cannon of regulatory double-speak that agencies like FDA and Medsafe have evolved as part of their cosy corrupt relationship with industry. These include:

Principle of substantial equivalence—if its chemical signature is roughly similar to some known natural compound approve it.

Principle of safety of external application—you don’t need to be very careful if a compound is only applied externally.

Principle of low dose—anything is safe if taken in a low dose

Principle of accepting customary use of a compound as evidence of safety even when there is no credible history of safety feedback—such as in the Cosmetic industry

None of the above principles are even close to having any scientific basis. Their use by regulators over a long period of time has led to the current situation where there is little assurance of safety in the processed food and cosmetic industries. This is accompanied by the rapidly growing incidence of cancers and chronic illness. The sensible and serious side of the Natural Health Products movement is trying to avoid past mistakes, whereas the process adopted by Medsafe to approve Natural Health Product ingredients seems to show flagrant disregard for health. Their policies are ignoring the needs of those relying upon genuine NHPs and traditional remedies to maintain their health. They are also allowing a plethora of suspect synthetic compounds including additives, colourings, flavourings, and fragrances to be used. The net effect of this policy is

To debase the meaning of the term ‘natural’,

To recklessly endanger public health and the life of individuals

To pander to commercial interests unconcerned with public health

To facilitate the introduction of cheap synthetic ingredients in natural health products

I believe the NHP Bill, if enacted, would be in violation of the provisions of the Bill of Rights as they pertain to health. You are welcome to use and circulate this information including the attached.

With best wishes

Dr Guy Hatchard

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