Safe Living in a Toxic World

Over the years, I have from time to time had a bad habit of reading labels on products such as food and cosmetics. I say bad because reading the ingredients lists rarely makes you feel good. On the contrary, it makes you think of your body as a hazardous waste dump. I found reading labels to be exhausting quit. I felt helpless.

The recent news of toxic products from China got me worried. The fact that I am no longer responsible for only my own health but also that of an almost 2-year old son made me guilty. Just assuming someone else was making sure things were okay wasn’t enough. To put it bluntly I have lost faith in the notion: “They wouldn’t put it in there if it were poison.” The sad truth, I think, is that they would. I have come to believe, and call me naive for doing so only now, that with few exceptions American companies and their Chinese factories will do anything that will save them a nickel. If you could demonstrate that adding something bad like mercury to their favorite cereal would save them $$$ somewhere, someone would try it. And someone else in Washington would probably attempt to legislate that we can handle much more mercury than previously thought. Okay, maybe I am being cynical now. But it’s mind boggling what kind of weird sounding chemicals you find reading labels… The other day, I was studying a Hershey bar of chocolate. Yes, I love chocolate, and I used to like eating Hershey’s. On the list of ingredients is lists, dang if I remember…. PGNP, PRPN, PEPN… something I’d never noticed before. When I looked it up, I found that Hershey’s only recently begun to use this stuff instead of some “natural” more expensive ingredient. I’m sorry to report that I have since not been able to swallow a piece of that chocolate.

I started looking for a website with helpful information on what to look for and what to avoid especially with regards to children, and I found this one. I especially liked the list of fruit and veggies with pesticide levels. This is definitely a subkect I will spend more time investigating. I hate the thought of our youngster eating toxic crap when – with a little research – much of it may be avoidable.

The Environmental Working Group –


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