Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why Eat Organic and Strive to Live Green?

There are so many answers to this question. I cannot help but remember the passage in THE HUNDRED YEAR LIE which profoundly placed the images in my brain that changed my mind about my eating habits. I will quote this passage as an answer to this question, and I encourage you to buy the book and devour it. Visit Randall Fitzgerald's website and blog for more information and a way to order the book. Fitzgerald says:

Photo courtesy: The HUNDRED YEAR LIE

"Let's examine the reality of what we confront on a daily basis. If you are a typical person, on any normal morning of your life the following routine should be similar to your experience. You awaken from sleeping on a mattress that was coated with flame-retardant chemicals during its manufacture--as .most mattresses are--and which emits minuscule amounts of formaldehyde gas and a brominated substance known to be carcinogenic, which your body readily absorbs. You pad on your bare feet toward the bathroom, across a synthetic carpet treated--as most carpets are during manufacture--with benzene and styrene and several other cancer-causing chemicals.

Once in the bathroom, you turn on the faucet and splash your face with tap water laced with fluoride and chlorine, both carcinogens (most tap water also contains
traces of herbicides and pharmaceutical drugs). You open a plastic bottle of Listerine mouthwash (or a similar brand) and gargle, not realizing that the plastic bottle has leached its own chemicals into a mouthwash mixture that already includes four active ingredients along with a half dozen flavoring and coloring chemicals. If you read the mouthwash label you will find the following: WARNINGS: Do not administer to children under twelve years of age. Do not swallow. In case of accidental ingestion, seek professional assistance or contact a Poison Control Center immediately." You pick up your Crest toothpaste and find it also has a warning label: "If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help...." Though sodium fluoride is the only "active" ingredient listed on this toothpaste container, there are other chemicals in this concoction that don't have to be revealed to you, because they are classified as "inert" and are thus protected under trade secrecy laws.

You raise your arms and apply Speed Stick deodorant, which contains seven chemicals, including aluminum, parabens (a preservative), propylene glycol (a lubricant and suspected cancer agent), and other chemicals disguised under fragrance," which is another trade secrecy term. On average, according to the FDA, we each use nine personal-care products daily, containing about 126 chemical ingredients. If you use body lotions, they contain penetration-enhancing chemicals that can drive toxins from other toiletries deeper into your flesh. Before leaving the bathroom you pull a prescription drug (with a warning label attached) out of the medicine cabinet and swallow this mixture of synthetic chemicals. All the while you have been breathing benzene fumes (capable of causing leukemia) from the deodorizer you installed under the commode seat lid.

Back in your bedroom you pull on clothes fresh from the dry cleaner and expose yourself to fumes and residues of trichloroethylene and n-hexane, chemicals known to cause nerve cell damage, memory loss, and cardiac abnormalities. If you have mothballs in your closet, you are exposing yourself to the carcinogenic pesticide dichlorobenzene, which is also found in toilet deodorizers. If your clothing contains synthetic fibers, you are being exposed to a form of plastic, and the newer the clothing, the more it off-gases molecules of plasticizer fumes. Your clothes may also contain flame-retardant chemicals that are notorious releasers of toxic fumes. The more tightly insulated your bedroom and the other rooms of your dwelling, the greater the outgas collection effect of the chemicals from your furniture, wall paint, rugs, and carpeting, and the greater the impact on your brain, with symptoms like mood swings, feelings of spaciness, headaches, and an
inability to concentrate.

You walk into your kitchen and pour yourself a bowl of cereal containing nearly a dozen synthetic chemical food additives, including the sweetener aspartame, which has been linked to a wide range of allergies and illnesses. Meanwhile, while eating you turn on the dishwasher and expose yourself to a cloud of chlorine fumes. You fix yourself a sandwich you will eat for lunch later at work. You use meat that contains nitrates, synthetic hormones, and antibiotics that were injected into the animals when they were alive. You place lettuce and sliced tomato on top, each of which contains the residues of a half dozen different pesticides. Then you wrap the sandwich in Saran Wrap (or a similar brand of plastic), which contains vinyl chloride, a carcinogen known to cause liver, brain and lung cancers. As you are preparing this meal, fumes from the toxic bug spray and the cleaning solvents beneath your sink (all with warning labels attached) are further contaminating the air you breathe.

Here we are barely into the first hour of your day, you haven't even left your home yet, and already you've been absorbing molecules from hundreds of synthetic chemicals."


I hope this compelling excerpt has sparked an interest in learning more about a healthier lifestyle. If it has, please join me as I blog about my journey. I look forward to your comments and questions. Thanks for reading!


3 comments:

iamaworkinprogress said...

Well... that's terrifying!
I don't do many of those things on my average morning, but I do some of them. Yikes.
I'm definitely going to look into getting my hands on that book!

OchemgurL. said...

Wooaah.. that sure is an eye opener. Definitely scares me out of ever wanting to step foot back in the chemistry lab. I need to read that book!

CarrieLeajohnson@gmail.com said...

You're right, OchemgurL. I'll be happy to loan you mine to read. It's not a long book, but most certainly educational.

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