Why should we be concerned about chemical creep?
The Huffington Post recently (May 2013) published an article called;
Chemical Creep: How Chemicals Are Creeping into Your Food, And Your Body?
This article talks mostly about BPA’s, phthalates as well as PBDE and PCBs invading our foods and our bodies. Even if you gave up using plastic products it will or eating food not processed with or stored in plastics, the level of these chemicals will not dissipate quickly from your body…
Phthalates as defined by Wiki is this;
Phthalates (pronounced /ˈθæˌleɪts/, THA-layts ), or phthalate esters, are esters of phthalic acid and are mainly used as plasticizers (substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity). They are used primarily to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Phthalates are being phased out of many products in the United States, Canada, and European Union over health concerns.
“Overall, some 80,000 chemicals are currently on the market, with only a small portion tested for safety. Even fewer have been evaluated for specific effects, such as the scrambling of hormone signals.”
Another study followed the eating habits of a Mennonite community…
“While much is out of a consumer’s control, Swan did note that there are some communities that seem to naturally steer clear of the hormone hazard. She recently studied a Mennonite community that ate mostly fresh, unprocessed foods that were farmed without pesticides, and generally avoided personal care products. She found their bodies carried very little BPA or phthalates.”
For the full story, read the the following article…
Plastics Are Not the Only Pollutant in Our Foods.
Processed Foods – Basically, remember the old adage “You Are What You Eat!”. These days most all processed foods have a list of the various ingredients in that particular product. Whats important to know is what are the chemical additives that are included and which ones you don’t want to ingest! Chems like BHA, BHT, MSG etc are sometimes necessary to preserve goods for years, but those with chemical sensitivities probably want to stay away from them. High amounts of salts and sugars are also included in most processed foods. Too much of these ingredients may make the foods you choose taste good but, will certainly affect your health over time. Buyer Beware!
Fresh Meat and Produce – When you are purchasing fruits and vegetables and meat products, you really don’t know what you are getting. About.com published a blog about “What You Need to Know About Avoiding Food Chemicals”. This post has some very good basic information. Wash all your fruits and veges, and even peel them if you suspect contamination. Pesticides and fertilizer residues will often build up on the skins of these foods. Unless they have been certifiied Organic, you can usually expect some chemical to either be on the skin or systemically within the skin. Meat will need to be properly trimmed. Fats will often contain residue of chemicals used in the food animals are fed or medications they receive.
Remember even fresh Organic products can contain bacteria!
Livestrong has a blog about Health Effects Caused by Preserved Foods
They note that preserving foods with salt has been around for 5,000 years! However our systems can stand around 500 mgs of salt a day, yet the average American diet consumes closer to 7 times that amount! Talk about high blood pressure and the need to take medicine to reduce it…well there you go. Eat less salt!
They also note that sodium nitrate is the best chemical to reduce bacterial growth in processed meats. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that there are more than 200 food borne diseases. Preservatives may help to eliminate some bacteria, parasites or viruses responsible for these diseases.”
So, I guess it comes down to managing how much of what you eat. Eat wisely!
How do we avoid Chemicals in our food? Takepart.com breaks it down into “10 Harmful Food Additives to Avoid”!
The problem is, most everything we buy commercially has these chemicals in them.
1) Monosodium Glutamate (Chincse Foods, processed and frozen foods!)
2) Artificial Sweeteners (Most anything Dietetic)
3) BHA and BHT (Dry goods, Cereals)
4) Trans Fats (My Favorite Cookies!)
5) Sodium Nitrate/Nitrates (Processed Meats)
6) Artifical Food Coloring (Everything!)
7) Sodium Sulfite (Most Wines use Sulfites)
8) Sulfur Dioxide (Used in Dried Fruits)
9) High Fructose Corn Syrup (Used in Everything)
and 10) Potassium Bromate (Used in Breads!)
So I guess the problem is, most all of our foods have some sort of chemical that can build up in our systems, if you are concerned about them, the only way to control intake is to know where your food comes from!
We do know as a society that our average lifetime is lengthening. Is this because of the lack of bacterias and viruses because we have been able to preserve foods? Probably!
Rich or Poor? Different Toxins!
Here is one more interesting factoid that has recently been published. The University of Exeter and the Center for Disease Control have recently come out with information concerning the different types of toxins that are found in different socio-economic members of our society. Surprisingly, it doesn’t mean Rich people have fewer toxins, just different ones!
Here’s a brief synopsis, Lower Income members of our Society “tended to have higher levels of lead in their systems than their richer counterparts, which could come from a wide variety of factors, including the air and water, as well as low-income jobs, which are more likely to be industrial and expose workers to lead. Lower-income Americans were also likely to have higher levels of cadmium, potentially a result of smoking, diet, or working in industries like construction and manufacturing. Other toxins more likely to show up among this population were antimony, a metal that people might pick up via smoking or at work, and several toxins found in plastics.”
While on the other hand, …”Wealthier Americans are more likely to have mercury and arsenic in their systems, which the authors said may be attributable to fish and shellfish consumption, though dental fillings may also have led to higher mercury levels. They also found that richer people tend to have higher levels of caesium and thallium, which are associated with home-grown produce. They also have higher levels of PFCs, compounds people might pick up via waterproof fabrics, as well as fresh meat, fish, and other fresh vegetables. Higher-income people, the researchers noted, are more likely to both grow produce and eat those foods. In addition, wealthier people had higher levels of a toxin called BP3 that is found in sunscreens.”
Read the Article published by the US News and World Report for more information;
You are what you eat.