Chemicals, Chemicals Everywhere

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Something you will learn about me very quickly is that I am passionate about environmental justice. An area of EJ that always strikes a cord with me is toxins in our food and personal hygiene products.

Thanks to a good friend, M, who posted an article/slideshow entitled "The 15 Grossest Things You're Eating" via Facebook, I have learned quite a few new things about the food industry, and I have been reminded of some of the things I already knew.

Some of the fun facts already floatin' around in my noggin' include:
  • Canned goods are packaged using BPA-coated cans, which is a plastic chemical that has been linked to many major medical conditions, including cardiovascular and endocrine problems. 
  • Many bread doughs contains human hair and/or feathers.
  • Red dye (think ketchup and red vines; two of my favorite food products) contains crushed bugs. 
Some new appalling facts to add to the mix include:
  • Fish, beef, and other animal products are often cleansed (meaning coated) in heavy duty cleaners, like ammonia. 
  • Some sodas contain fire retardants
  • My vanilla-flavored cookies might actually contain beaver urine...

Wow, I am appalled! In the modern world, many of our personal hygiene and food products are positively loaded with chemicals that have been linked to serious medical conditions, behavioral problems, bioaccumulation, and biomagnification.

What I liked best about this article is not the wealth of knowledge it added to my already factoid-inundated brain, but the ethical implications noted in many of the snippets. For example, some of these production practices impact vegetarians, vegans, and Muslims. In reality, the food production industry is rife with ethical issues that impact every single consumer. No one is untouched by these practices, because even individuals and families who practice sustainability in their homes and backyards are impacted by biomagnification and bioaccumulation in the environment.

It is 100% up to each consumer to choose what to eliminate from their diet based on this type of information. While I don't foresee myself giving up red vines (by the way, the new grape flavor is gross) or ketchup because of quite a few a sizable amount of insects, others may choose to do so. I don't plan on eliminating tomato soup or the vanilla extract from my diet either, but I am more inclined to research the companies that produce these products. I believe in making educated choices in the time we have on Earth, so I hope this will empower some of you to do the same.


P.S. For an easy to read print-out version of the slideshow mentioned above, click here.

(Images: Parenting Miracles, which features a great article on yummy ingredients to add to canned tomato soup; goldfish crackers have been my favorite since childhood.)

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