Way back in April, we posted that the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) had released it's 2018 Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen food lists. In our homes, we do everything we can to eat REAL food. Food without added chemicals and fillers, food without weird ingredients. We JERF (just eat REAL food).
So tell me how surprised (and angry) I was to see the ABC news story this week that there is a lawsuit against LaCroix beverages saying that LaCroix adds insecticide to their "natural" sparkling water. LaCroix denies this, but we really can't know for sure (without doing the scientific testing ourselves) since the labeling on the beverage is legally allowed to list ingredients as "natural flavors." I hope they are an honest, transparent company, but there is no government mandate to make LaCroix divulge what encompasses the natural flavors in their beverages.
Another story in the news details that the FDA knew about a specific cancer causing weedkiller in common foods, but failed to alert consumers. It "probably" will release this information later this year or next year, since they only publish this residue report every other year.
I'm not trying to scare you - actually I am. (Did you see the post Patti wrote about that time she had cancer?) We really don't know how all these additives and chemicals are affecting our body systems over the long term. We do know that certain chemicals negatively impact our hormones. That means that our body systems are not working based on thousands of years of evolution - they are working based on some chemical added to our life. A chemical that is most likely not tested by the FDA for any long term side effects. A chemical added to the pool of toxic chemicals that each of us is swimming around in every day. These chemicals have a cumulative effect on us, and it's not a good one.
What can you do? Ditch the chemicals from your personal and body products. Eat REAL, organic foods whenever possible (look at ewg's lists for help). Read labels. Check the rating of your favorite products on the Think Dirty app. Choose better products, with ingredients that you feel good about using. Don't use plastic. Even BPA free plastic has other chemicals that we just don't know how safe they are yet. Glass and stainless steel are great to use. Don't freak out. Take baby steps toward a less toxic life. You can do it!
Below are some helpful tips from Dr. Mercola with easy ways to ditch and switch.
Tens of thousands of industrial chemicals are used daily in consumer products with grossly inadequate safety testing — if ANY safety testing was done at all. Even under the best circumstances, the current American system does not look at how chronically low doses of chemicals affect you, or how aggregate exposures affect you over time — and it's these combined effects that pose the greatest concern.
Within such a dysfunctional system, you are the best one to keep your family safe. Although no one can successfully steer clear of ALL chemicals and pollutants, you can minimize your exposure by keeping a number of key principles in mind.
Eat a diet focused on REAL food that is locally grown, fresh, and ideally organic whole foods. Processed and packaged foods are a common source of chemicals such as BPA and phthalates. Wash fresh produce well, especially if it's not organically grown.
Choose grass-pastured, sustainably raised meats and dairy to reduce your exposure to hormones, pesticides, and fertilizers. Avoid milk and other dairy products that contain the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST).
Rather than eating conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury, supplement with a high-quality krill oil, or eat fish that is wild-caught and lab tested for purity, such as wild caught Alaskan salmon.
Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans, as chemicals can leach out of plastics (and plastic can linings), into the contents; be aware that even "BPA-free" plastics typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad for you as BPA.
Store your food and beverages in glass, rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap.
Use glass baby bottles.
Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.
Filter your tap water for both drinking AND bathing. If you can only afford to do one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin absorbs contaminants. To remove the endocrine-disrupting herbicide Atrazine, make sure your filter is certified to remove it. According to the EWG, perchlorate can be filtered out using a reverse osmosis filter.
Look for products made by companies that are Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic, and GMO-free. This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, baby items, furniture, mattresses, and others.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove contaminated house dust. This is one of the major routes of exposure to flame retardant chemicals.
When buying new products such as furniture, mattresses, or carpet padding, consider buying flame retardant free varieties, containing naturally less flammable materials, such as leather, wool, cotton, silk, and Kevlar.
Avoid stain- and water-resistant clothing, furniture, and carpets to avoid perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).
Make sure your baby's toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings, and anything your child may be prone to suck or chew on — even books, which are often plasticized. It's advisable to avoid all plastic, especially flexible varieties.
Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Try Thieves Household Cleaner for all your tough jobs.
Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. EWG's Skin Deep database30 can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.
Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one.
Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives. See my post about the Diva Cup.
Look for fragrance-free products. One artificial fragrance can contain hundreds — even thousands — of potentially toxic chemicals. Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, which contain a mishmash of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.