Enough is enough. For decades corporate greed has driven the decisions to pollute our once-nutritional food strains with GMO’s, allowed cancer-causing chemicals in our mattresses, clothing, cookware, furniture, food, and well… just about everything, replaced stainless steel with deadly nonstick, and glass with estrogen-disrupting plastic, and promoted a diet that is making America sick en masse. And what’s even scarier, is that consumers are the last to know and historically seem to be content with following the ignorance-is-bliss model.
But what about the art of the informed choice as critical thinkers and savvy consumers—which is a challenging practice when we don’t know what we are dealing with. But when we do know, why isn’t everyone boycotting harmful products once the company’s dirty (not so little) secret is out?
Remember the nonstick Teflon era, that we even named a president after, that contained deadly PFOA until only recently? What is most alarming is that upon the EPA learning that PFOA was a serious health risk to consumers, it did not put out a cease production order, it did not put out a recall of all contaminated products order, nor did it warn the public with “throw it out” advice. No. Instead, the EPA put together a global stewardship program to work towards the elimination of the emissions of these chemicals over the course of a decade from 2006 – 2015. This means that the beautiful Breville nonstick coated slow cooker I received at Christmas in 2012 was potentially hurting my family, seven years after the EPA internally deemed this as a deadly product.
Why didn’t I take the nonstick scare more seriously you may ask? I guess that I, like so many Americans put too much faith in the EPA and FDA to pull products if they were truly “unsafe.” I was wrong.
Excerpt from Mother Jones 2007 Report: [In 2005 the EPA] fined Dupont $16.5 million—the largest administrative fine in the agency’s history—for covering up decades’ worth of studies indicating that PFOA could cause health problems such as cancer, birth defects, and liver damage. The company has faced a barrage of lawsuits and embarrassing studies as well as an ongoing criminal probe from the Department of Justice over its failure to report health problems among Teflon workers. One lawsuit accuses DuPont of fouling drinking water systems and contaminating its employees with PFOA. Yet it is still manufacturing and using PFOA, and unless the EPA chooses to ban the chemical, DuPont will keep making it, unhindered, until 2015.
Well, Mother Jones, you were right. According to the EPA reduction of emissions project report, DuPont didn’t meet standards until 2014.
This quote from the same article brings me to my point…
“Amazingly enough, all the publicity has had no impact on sales,” says Hugh Rushing, executive vice president of the Cookware Manufacturers’ Association. “People read so much about the supposed dangers in the environment that they get a tin ear about it.”
…Seriously, take a moment to think about that for a second. Teflon was responsible for 70% of DuPont sales and the public’s knowledge of nonstick harmful effects had no impact on sales. Why is that? Have we become so numb and desensitized by all the “this is bad for you” chatter that health risk warnings have become white noise? When did we stop caring as a Nation about what we consume? If the EPA and FDA are slow to react and lenient when they do, our line of defense must be to look out for ourselves.
My daughter and I started Hope and Hope as a consumer refuge of sorts. A place to feel safe to shop. A place to get informed. A community of like-minds that WANT to make conscious well-informed decisions about what they consume whether for belly, body or home. For years I have been sickened by corrupt manufacturers and the FDA and EPA’s blatant lack of protection for the well being of consumers. It’s time we said enough is enough and stop taking unnecessary risks by putting blind trust into the chemicals used in manufacturing and food production.
Don’t let the warnings become white noise. Here are some reminders on how to live toxin-free:
- Stay informed, ask questions, join the conversation
- Read labels — avoid foods with ingredients you don’t recognize. If you are unsure, look it up. For example, did you know Gluten and MSG are hiding under many other names?
- Minimize plastics from your home and food.
- Use biodegradable garbage bags
- Transfer grains and leftovers into natural containers such as glass jars, wood, steel, ceramic
- Purchase the alternative made with raw materials when possible
- Throw out all non-stick cookware and replace with cast iron, ceramic, stainless steel and/or glass
- Shop organic
- Get fresh produce from your local farmers’ markets. If they are not organic, ask them what chemicals they use to treat their plants
- Use natural alternatives to cleaning products such as distilled vinegar, baking soda, or borax. Be sure to read up on how these react with other chemicals.
Think of it as going back to a simpler time when materials were sourced directly from nature. The more we stray from the material’s natural state the higher the potential risk. Now, more than ever in our history is time to start taking what we consume seriously by empowering ourselves to make informed choices.
What steps have you taken to live toxic-free and what are some of the ingredients you watch for?