April 25, 2013
April 25, 2013
Toxins at Home
Imagine every item you come in contact with daily: from food, clothing, shampoo and conditioner, or even your computer. These items are part of everyone’s everyday life. Yet, everyday people ingest, absorb, or inhale chemicals or toxins found in these items. Many precautions and groups have been formed to protect the environment and human health such as the FDA, NCI, CDC, EPA, WEEEE, etc. So, most blindly believe everything we eat, use, or surround ourselves with daily has to be safe. Many assume that everything consumers purchase has been tested to prove that it is not harmful, and that if it was the government would interfere to prevent its sale; but that is not the case. The Environmental Protection Agency has only been able to make boundaries on only a few chemicals; they lack the power to outlaw many dangerous carcinogens. Even the tiniest exposure to these contaminants can have an awful outcome on our wellbeing. While the U.S. generates or imports an estimated 42 billion pounds of industrial chemicals per day (AAWRE), it is practically impossible to avoid these substances and thedevastating effects they have on our health.
Our world appears completely safe looking upon the precautions and companies made to protect our health. Yet a quick hunt on any search engine shows that not only is our environment suffering, but also its citizens. An even more extensive search explains the good intentions behind these harmful chemicals, but it is now understood that they have been wearing on our health all this time. Many unanswered health issues of the day (obesity, diabetes, autism, and attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder) could potentially have chemical associations (ATSDR). Dr. Bruce Lanphear, director of the Cincinnati Children's Environmental Health Center, stated, "It's not the environment that's contaminated so much. It's us," (Walsh).
Walking through the local grocery store, it is amazing how many items a shopper can discover with extra chemicals added into the packaged product. What is even more amazing is trying to find a product without them. In the beginning they were used to preserve food, prevent diseases in the food, and enhance the taste. But now companies take advantage of their misleading chemicals. They cheaply process food and manipulate buyers into buying, though the products are not as healthy as they seem. Preservatives such as nitrates, sulfites, sulfur dioxides, and sodium benzoates can seriously affect the health of some. Nitrates, used to preserve meat, can cause asthma, nausea, vomiting, and headaches; they also can increase cancer rates (Danna). Sulfites and sulfur dioxides can prevent browning in fruit and veggies. They also bleach out the rot, while destroying vitamin B in the produce (Danna). These misleading ‘healthy’ colors of the produce may lead customers to buy no-good or rotting food. In addition, antioxidants prevent spoilage when food is exposed to oxygen. Two common antioxidants represent BHA (butylatedhydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene). These elements have been outlawed in many countries because of astonishing animal testing outcomes. The body has a hard time metabolizing these substances which can result in hyperactivity, allergic reactions, nervous system and liver failure,andeven the development of tumors and cancer (Danna). Furthermore, not only are chemicals used to preserve the food, but also to enhance the flavor and make it more appealing to the eye. With America using 3,000 tons each year (Bernstein), artificial colorings can be found everywhere- from butter, orange skins, pop, popcorn, and even canned peas. Used to color and liven up the processed material, this is linked to allergies, asthmas, and hyperactivity (Danna). With this and artificial flavorings, these can replace the taste and look of real food...