We assume that the products we use, whether electronic or cosmetic, foods or appliances, are safe for use, simply because they are on the mass market. We assume that these products have been thoroughly tested for health risks and that they hold no major threat by using them. These assumptions would be very incorrect. If you have any doubt that our own government would mislead us concerning the negative health effects of officially approved products, foods and practices, just speak (if they have not already died from preventable illness) with the countless American military men and women who were told being near nuclear test sites was safe, or that depleted uranium weaponry is safe to use (gulf-war syndrome, etc). Or the recent news that the Chicago City Council voted to make Chicago the first U.S. City to ban biphenol A in baby bottles and sippy cups. Biphenol A has been linked to cancer, diabetes and other ailments.
The list of harmful everyday products that Americans use is large, but there are alternatives for each of them available that have no, or very little, harmful effects. This is in a way “eating the apple” (see Adam & Eve essay), by discovering the truth of something’s harmful effects, we are discovering its good or bad nature, its ability to cause harm or not. And as should be no surprise, some individuals have a vested financial interest in keeping this information from the public, so they can continue profiting from the sale of their products.
As I’ve explained in my previous essays on distorted religion, and debt-encouraging economics, the meal most often being served by the status-quo is disempowerment, through various dishes of injustice, violence and lies. With this essay disempowerment will remain the backdrop; for what is more disempowering than ill health? A sick and tired populace is ideal for a fascist government that wants to feed the People propaganda and move tyranny in on them year by year. Here I’ll discuss many “officially approved” products, devices, etc. that fill the typical American life, that are actually causing more harm than most ever thought.
Let’s go through a typical day for the average American and see what they may encounter. Let’s call this American “Sarah” for the purposes of this fictional tale, based on real-life conditions. There are endnote explanations next to products and other phenomena that are scientifically proven to be harmful to Sarah.
Sarah begins her day by going to the bathroom, where she brushes her teeth with a major-brand toothpastei. She then uses a facial cleanserii and takes a shower using major brand shampoo & conditioneriii. While showering she notices the plastic scentiv of her newly installed shower curtain liner is quite strong, but then thinks nothing more of it. After drying off, she then applies a major brand moisturizing lotionv to most of her skin, perfumevi, and anti-perspirint deodorantvii. After putting on her various coloredviii articles of syntheticix fabric clothing, Sarah heads to the kitchen for breakfast. There she has some major-brand cerealx with milkxi, sausagexii, baconxiii, and regular orange juicexiv.
Getting in her car, she notices the “New Car Smell”xv still hasn’t gone away from her newly purchased Civic Hybrid. On the way to work Sarah get stuck in trafficxvi, worse yet behind a slow moving construction truck, which leaves big black plumes of diesel exhaustxvii around her car. She notices in the distance the smoke stacks of a coal power plant, and she wonders which is worse to breathe, this trucks exhaust or what’s coming out of those smokestacksxviii.
At work she has some regular coffeexix with sugarless sweetenerxx and microwavesxxi a lunchxxii in a disposable plastic containerxxiii. Her office, for laptop use convenience, has wireless internet transmittersxxiv in the workplace, and often Sarah takes calls on her cell phonexxv throughout the day. The water cooler is empty so she drinks some tap waterxxvi instead, noticing the taste isn’t as good, so she has some mintsxxvii to cover it up.
Sarah leaves work early for a dentist appointment, where she’s given two mercuryxxviii fillings and a quick doctor visit where she’s given a vaccinexxix she’s required to take prior to her upcoming international trip. Hungry and tired after the appointments she picks up some fast foodxxx on the way home. She notices a strange grouping of perpendicular and parallel lines of cloudsxxxi, apparently from planes, but different from normal contrails that usually fade away rather than spread out into a large haze. In an observational mode, she also notices how many power linesxxxii and antenna towers of various sortsxxxiii there are, just in her part of town alone. She wonders what they are all for, she figures some are probably for cell phones or radio stations, but what about the restxxxiv?
Finally home, she cleans off some dishes with her major brand dish soapxxxv and puts the fast food and soda in her own dishware, for a seemingly civilized dinner. She notices a strange smell in the apartment that wasn’t there in the morning, and then remembers that today is the day all the apartments in her complex are sprayed with pesticidesxxxvi every month. Sarah is feeling unusually fatigued, and slightly dizzy, so she lays down on her living room carpetxxxvii to collect herself for a couple of minutes. After dinnerxxxviii, she lights a scented candlexxxix and decides to have a glass of winexl, a cigarettexli, and go to bedxlii early.
Sarah was exposed to a plethora of toxins and harmful radiation during her day (explanations given in endnotes), yet we need not be overly paranoid about every product we use or everything we eat and drink, the human body is amazingly resilient, and one could argue that individually each source of possible harm is not necessarily dangerous by itself. But collectively all of these sources together pose a real danger, so how can we protect “Sarah”? Part of the answer is simple, don’t use toxic products and don’t eat toxic food! Buy organic/all natural foods and body care products which are readily available in the marketplace today. There are without any doubt less harmful choices available to us, and it is important that we know these choices exist.
Dr. Dick Irwin, a toxicologist at Texas A&M University, stated that “Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to health. The diseases we are beginning to see as the major causes of death in the later part of (the 1900’s) and into the 21st century are diseases of chemical origin.” The chemical toxic overload growing around us is taking many forms including increases in cancer, asthma, and a condition called Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.” In the PBS movie “Trade Secrets”, Bill Moyers states that "over 80,000 chemicals have been synthesized in the last 100 years, 15,000 are used in consumer products and only 43% have been tested for safety!!".
The documentary about world-famous consumer advocate Ralph Nader, “An Unreasonable Man”, describes his many successes in improving the safety of automobiles and many other consumer products. The film also tells us how in 1978, Congress defeated his proposal for a “Consumer Protection Agency”. The rise of almost complete corporate control of our federal government has resulted in common-sense proposals such as this being shot down, in favor of the opposite: further corporate deregulation and unaccountability to the American citizen.
So what government agency do we have to protect American citizens? The mighty Food and Drug Administration (www.fda.gov), which claims to be “The Nation's Premier Consumer Protection and Health Agency" The FDA is charged with regulating the following:
Food (Food-borne Illness, Nutrition, Dietary Supplements...)
Drugs (Prescription, Over-the-Counter, Generic...),
Medical Devices (Pacemakers, Contact Lenses, Hearing Aids...),
Biologics (Vaccines, Blood Products...),
Animal Feed and Drugs (Livestock, Pets...),
Cosmetics (Safety, Labeling...),
(Cell Phones, Lasers, Microwaves... )
Combination Products (Combinations of the above)
As you can see most of the health hazards listed in the story of Sarah’s day are things that the FDA is supposed to be regulating and protecting Americans from. So why are there such huge gaps in their regulation and enforcement? That’s a question I recommend you ask the FDA yourself, perhaps focusing on a particular health-hazard that you find most troubling, and see what response you get. If it is unsatisfactory, report it to the media and spread the information as best you can until action is taken. Another government body that is there to protect us is The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) which “is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children.” Contact them if your concern falls under their jurisdiction. This is what tax dollars are supposed to be used for, the public safety and well-being, not corporate welfare and pay-outs to the richest and most unscrupulous in our nation.
The movement for real public safety and truthful product labeling is growing world-wide. There have been proposals set forth to combat the daily onslaught our bodies undergo from unnecessary toxins, radiation, etc. An example of this is the "Food Agenda 2000 - 2010" petition, which I list in its entirety here, feel free to sign it online and/or present it to your representatives.
By signing the petition below (click here to be directed to actual petition at OCA), I call on U.S. elected officials, political candidates, and regulatory agencies to pursue the following three public policies:
(1) Moratorium on all genetically engineered foods & crops unless adequate safety-testing proves they are safe for human health & the environment. The FDA should require all GE foods to be labeled and safety-tested.
(2) Begin the phase-out of industrial agriculture's damaging practices by banning the most dangerous pesticides as well as hormone implants, antibiotics and rendered animal protein in animal feed. Ban corporate feedlots and intensive confinement of farm animals.
(3) Implement a long-term "transition to organic" program to shift agricultural production in the US from chemical-intensive, industrial farming to at least 30% organic by the year 2010.
There are many other petitions and organizations specific to individual health hazards mentioned in this essay, please do not consider what I’ve mentioned here to be complete, we must each do our own research and investigation, especially in a time when we can not rely on our government to do so. We need to be actively investigating the effects of the products we use while demanding our government does what they're supposed to do, rather than spending tax dollars for banker bail-outs and unjust military operations, we need to be activists and advocates, anything less just gives us more of the same insanity coming from the top down! More on this necessity in my next essay...
i Contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Fluoride, both toxins.
ii Commercial cleansers rely on alcohol and petroleum products to dislodge dirt and dead skin. But these ingredients also remove natural oils and cause drying. To counteract this, manufacturers may add mineral oil (a petroleum product) to make the skin feel soft. Cleansing creams and lotions may also contain TEA, MEA, FD&C colors (carcinogenic), hormone disrupting parabens, carcinogens, antibacterials, irritants and sensitizers.
iii SLS, PABA, Isopropyl
iv The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency put vinyl shower curtains to the test and found some alarming results: one new shower curtain can lead to elevated levels of indoor air toxics for over one month. Why is it that the problematic additives in PVC products have been banned in Europe, but they're still sold in our country?
v Contains Petrolatum and dimethicone, both possibly carcogenic.
vi Perfume contains many chemicals that are toxic to the liver and kidneys and cause cancer.
“The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has reported that the fragrance industry uses up to 3000 ingredients, predominantly synthetic, some 900 of which were identified as toxic. However, the industry is not required to disclose ingredients of fragrances and perfumes on their labels due to trade secrecy considerations. The FDA supports this non-disclosure on the grounds that "consumers are not adversely affected -- and should not be deprived of the enjoyment" of these products.”
viiContains Aluminum, a powerful neurotoxicant (i.e., toxic to the nervous system), even if its link with Alzheimer's disease is not clear. That alone should raise a warning flag for users of aluminum-containing antiperspirants (as well as aluminum cookware).
viii Color dyes can containing heavy metal impurities, chrome mordant, formaldehyde-fixing agents and aryl amines
ix Consisting of polyester, nylon, acrylics, and rayon, all created using toxic chemicals.
x Sarah’s cereal contained artificial colors. “The great bulk of artificial colorings used in food are synthetic dyes. For decades synthetic food dyes have been suspected of being toxic or carcinogenic and many have been banned. Whenever possible, choose foods without dyes. They're mostly used in foods of questionable nutritional worth anyway. Natural ingredients should provide all the color your food needs.” (www.sweetpoison.com)
xi Non-organic milk can contain hormones, chemicals, pharmaceuticals… (http://www.notmilk.com/)
xii Meat can contain hormones, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and possibly bad karma.
xiv Non-organic juice may contain pesticides.
xv The Los Angeles Times reports, “A wide range of environmental groups contend that new car interiors contain a mix of unhealthy substances that come from vinyl, flame retardants on seats, lubricants and hidden sealants that collectively make up the new car smell.”
xvi Smog: cariginogenic
xvii Diesel exhaust can cause cancer and is a major source of fine particles that can lodge in the lungs and worsen asthma, the report said. Diesels also emit smog-forming oxides of nitrogen that have been linked to decreased lung function growth in children, whose faster breathing rate, less developed lungs and immature immune systems leave them more susceptible to air pollution, the report added.
From http://www.envtox.ucdavis.edu/CEHS/TOXINS/diesel.htm :
When diesel fuel burns in an engine, the resulting exhaust is made up of soot and gases that may contain thousands of different chemical substances. The soot consists of very small particles that can be inhaled and deposited in the lungs. Diesel exhaust contains 20-100 times more particles than gasoline exhaust. These particles carry cancer-causing substances known as polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Gases in diesel exhaust, such as nitrous oxide, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, benzene, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide can also create health problems.
Several studies over the past ten years have linked occupational exposure to diesel particulate matter to increased risk of lung cancer. Air pollution studies also show that exposure to smaller particles is associated with increased rates of death and disease. These findings have prompted additional research, as well as new regulations and guidelines for occupational exposure to diesel particulate matter.
Workers exposed to diesel exhaust face the risk of adverse health effects ranging from headaches to nausea to cancer and respiratory disease. Mine workers, bridge and tunnel workers, railroad workers, loading dock workers, truck drivers, material handling machine operators, farm workers, auto-, truck- and bus-maintenance garage workers, and longshoring employees are some of the people at high risk.
xviii The nation's 400-plus coal-fired power plants emit more toxins into the air than any other single source, some 42 percent of the US total, according to the 2002 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), the EPA's most recent comparative data. Unlike, say, greenhouse gases, which escape from smokestacks and float into the atmosphere, these toxins often settle on the surrounding land in any direction for 30 miles and more, deposition experts say. Half of all Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-burning power plant, a recent study based on US census data shows.
The sheer quantity of such toxic emissions is staggering. While much has been made of the 48 tons of mercury annually emitted by power plants, these same plants released in 2002 more than 361,000 tons of other toxins including vanadium, barium, zinc, nickel, hydrogen fluoride, hydrochloric acid, ammonia, and selenium, according to a recent report by the National Environmental Trust, an environmental advocacy group. (http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0331/p13s01-sten.html)
xix Negative health effects of coffee: http://www.newstarget.com/012352.html, http://pda.physorg.com/lofi-news-coffee-heart-risk_74973050.html
xxi The microwave oven generates electromagnetic waves (called microwaves because they’re short) at a frequency of 2450 megahertz (FM radio waves are generated at around 100 MHz and cell phones transmit 800 MHz). The microwaves bombard the molecules of water in the food. These molecules each have a positive and negative end, or “polarity”. The polarized molecules try to line themselves up with the electrical field, like compass needles trying to point North. But because the electrical field is reversing polarity at a rate of 2,450 million cycles a second, the water molecules end up rotating at the same speed. That activity generates heat, which cooks the food, literally from inside out, as opposed to other types of cooking, which transfer heat conventionally from the outside in. Unfortunately, this violent movement of molecules causes substantial damage to some molecules, often tearing them apart or deforming them.
There are very few studies on the health effects of microwave cooking, but the studies that do exist suggest you made the right move by tossing out your microwave oven. Some of the earliest research into the effects of microwaved food was conducted in the 1950s in Russia. That research indicated bigger dangers than destruction of nutrients. Russian researchers found that people who ate microwaved foods had a statistically higher incidence of stomach and intestinal cancers, a general degeneration of peripheral cellular tissues, and a gradual breakdown of the digestive and excretory systems. Due to chemical alterations within the food, they had lymphatic malfunctions, causing a degeneration of the body’s immune system. For instance, microwaving milk and cereal grains converted some of their amino acids into carcinogens, thawing frozen fruits converted their glucoside and galactoside containing fractions into carcinogenic substances, and carcinogenic free radicals were formed in microwaved plants, especially root vegetables. They also reported structural degradation leading to decreased availability of Vitamins B, C, E and essential minerals at a rate of 60 to 90 percent in all foods tested. As a result of that research, the Soviets banned the use of microwave ovens in 1976 and issued an international warning on the health hazards, both biological and environmental, of microwave ovens and similar frequency electronic devices. The ban has since been over-turned and the rest of the world appears not to have headed the warning. (http://www.life.ca/nl/103/microwave.html)
xxii Contains MSG (msgmyth.com) and GMO food (http://www.organicconsumers.org/gelink.cfm)
xxiii Contains Phthalates, which are EDC's (Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.) They are chemicals found in recycle codes #1 through #6 plastics. Another EDC (Bisphenol A) is in recycle code #7 plastics. All of these types of plastic EDC's interfere with the function of sex hormones receptors… phthalates in plastics dissolved in various solutions. They used a variety of plastic items, including plastic food containers.” (http://ezinearticles.com/?Are-Plastic-Food-and-Beverage-Containers-Safe?&id=57347)
xxiv Wireless technology may impact child development and central nervous system functioning. See the documentary Public Exposure: DNA, Democracy, and the Wireless Revolution (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6518153738782954894&hl=en) & this article: http://www.latitudes.org/articles/electrical_sensitivity_articles.html
xxv Cell phone radiation may cause brain damage and/or cancer. See documentary above and http://www.rense.com/general26/2yrs.htm
xxvi Depending on where you live, tap water can vary in its harmful contents, however all tap water contains fluoride which is known to be toxic to the body, and the myth that it protects our teeth is non-sensical since we ingest the fluoride, we do not rub it on our teeth as is done with toothpaste or at a dentist visit.
xxvii Phenylalanine, aspartame: Phenylalanine is a neurotoxin and excites the neurons in the brain to the point of cellular death. ADD/ADHD, emotional and behavioral disorders can all be triggered by too much Phenylalanine in the daily diet. If you are one in ten thousand people who are PKU or carry the PKU gene, Phenylalanine can cause irreversible brain damage and death, especially when used in high quantities or during pregnancy. Phenylalanine is 50% of aspartame, and to the degree humans consume diet products, Phenylalanine levels are reaching a dangerous peak.
It is important to learn about the ingredients within your foods, especially isolated amino acids like Phenylalanine. They are in combination within nature for a reason - they don't belong in isolated form for the healthy human diet.
Nutrition fact about Phenylalanine in aspartame:
The 1976 Groliers encyclopedia states cancer cannot live without phenylalanine. Phenylalanine makes up 50% of aspartame.
Phenylalanine is one of the essential amino acids found in proteins, but I am one of the believers that amino acids should be eaten in combination, not in isolated form. Nature provides amino acids in combination; only man isolates them for processing purposes.
Phenylalanine is found naturally in foods such as eggs, milk, bananas, and meat. If you are PKU (Phenylketonuric) or sensitive to phenylalanine, you will react to the phenylalanine in aspartame. You may want to get a blood test to check for this condition. Over the past 20 years, humans have become more aware of PKU reactions because human beings began using isolated phenylalanine to the degree it is harmful to some individuals, many as aspartame side effects. My suggestion would be to research PKU and phenylalanine extensively. Phenylalanine can be very harmful to diabetics.
BHT: possibly carinogenic
xxviii Mercury is extremely toxic, fillings can and do break up and/or dissolve entering the blood stream.
xxix Vaccines can contain a host of unsafe ingredients including mercury that has been directly linked to autism in children, see (http://www.nexusmagazine.com/articles/VaccineResearcher.html)
xxx Contains hydrogentated oils, which directly cause cardiovascular heart disease, destroys normal cardiovascular health, destroys the healthy functioning of the nervous system, causes brain disorders and heart attacks, causes birth defects and essential fatty acid deficiencies in both the mother and her fetus.
xxxi Chemtrails may contain many harmful organic and inorganic compounds: (http://educate-yourself.org/ct/)
xxxii Long nearby exposure to power lines may increase cancer risk: (http://www.mcw.edu/gcrc/cop/powerlines-cancer-FAQ/toc.html)
xxxv Chemical residue is ingested, possibly toxic.
xxxvi Common household pesticides increase risk of lymphoma 3-7 times: (http://archives.cnn.com/2000/HEALTH/cancer/11/30/pesticide.lymphoma/index.html)
“The environmental damage due to toxic herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, and synthetic chemical fertilizers is significant and sometimes deadly to farm workers and wildlife near the cotton farms. Irrigation and rainwater runoff contain high levels of chemical pollutants which poison streams, rivers, lakes and seep into wells and reservoirs used for community drink water. Many municipal water treatment centers lack equipment to eliminate these toxic chemicals before they enter city water lines. Residues of pesticides have been measured in human amniotic fluid and they accumulate in fatty tissues and have been found in human breast milk.
xxxvii Carpets can contain many chemicals that are designated s “Extremely Hazardous Substances” that out-gas into one’s living space: (http://www.aircleaners.com/carpets.phtml)
xxxviii See endnote 12.
xxxix Watch out for metal wicks. Lead emitted by this type of candle is a serious health hazard. "Candles are fast becoming one of the most common unrecognized causes of poor indoor air quality," says Diane Walsh Astry, executive director of the Health House Project, an American Lung Association education project in St. Paul, Minnesota. Watch out for slow-burning candles with additives. (These candles often feel greasy to the touch.) Instead, look for pure beeswax candles, which emit less pollution.
xl Sulfites are a class of chemicals that can keep cut fruits and vegetables looking fresh. They also prevent discoloration in apricots, raisins, and other dried fruits; control "black spot" in freshly caught shrimp; and prevent discoloration, bacterial growth, and fermentation in wine. Until the early 80's they were considered safe, but CSPI found six scientific studies proving that sulfites could provoke sometimes severe allergic reactions. CSPI and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified at least a dozen fatalities linked to sulfites. All of the deaths occurred among asthmatics. In 1985 Congress finally forced FDA to ban sulfites from most fruits and vegetables. Especially if you have asthma, be sure to consider whether your attacks might be related to sulfites. The ban does not cover fresh-cut potatoes, dried fruits, and wine.
xli Cigarettes contain many extremely toxic ingredients: (http://curezone.com/art/read.asp?ID=4&db=12&C0=1)
xlii “A typical mattress is made primarily from crude oil and natural-gas derivatives like polyurethane, Styrofoam, polyester, dyes, fire retardants, and many other chemicals that are recognized carcinogens.”