Information Compiled by Emily Farish L.Ac. Dipl OM
Today it’s not what you eat, but what it is stored in that can leach toxic chemicals. The following are some of the harmful chemicals commonly found in our food and food containers.
Here is why—
- Phthalates-can be found in some plastic food containers and are considered endocrine disruptors. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, PMS and gynecological diseases in women, enlarged breast tissue in men, and breast cancer.
- Pesticides-some pesticides and herbicides used on the food that we eat has been labeled as animal or human carcinogens. Many pesticides are also found in the water that you drink and or shower with. Studies have shown that some herbicides and pesticides stimulate growth of breast cancer cells or cancer in rats.
- Zearalenone-is a naturally occurring chemical that is produced by a fungus that grows on grains such as corn. The synthetic form of zearalenone is zeranol, which is given to cattle to promote growth. Both compounds mimic estrogen, and in vitro studies show that they stimulate growth of cancer cells.
- Zeranol-The U.S. and Canadian beef, veal, and lamb industries have used synthetic growth hormones since the 1950s to hasten the fattening of animals. It mimics the hormone estradiol. Economic and health concerns have lead the European Union to ban use of these hormones in their meat production systems and to ban imports of hormone treated beef, including meat from the states in 1989.
- rBGH/rBST-Bovine growth hormones has proven controversial because of its potential carcinogenic effects. Several studies have shown association between dairy consumption and breast cancer in pre-menopausal women. rBGH has also been shown to raise insulin like growth factor levels in the body.
- Styrene-styrene can leach from polystyrene-a component of Styrofoam food trays, egg cartons, disposable cups, and carry out containers—when heated our put under pressure, styrene has shown to in scientific studies cause carcinogenic growth in animals.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-is used to produce food packaging. When PVC is made, vinyl chloride may be released into the air or wastewater. It was one of the first chemicals designated as known as human carcinogen and has been linked mortality to breast cancer and liver cancer among workers involved in its manufacture.
- What to do? –Buy containers made of glass and take them with you to grocery store when you load up on salad bar. Get coffee in your own cup or purchase a ceramic cup for your favorite beverage. Shop on the periphery of the grocery store (where the whole foods are located)—away from packaged food isles. Purchase foods that are labeled GMO free, Organic, and or rBGH certified free. Go to your farmers market and buy from a farmer that does not use pesticides to grow their produce. Purchase eggs from a farmer who raises chickens and feeds them real food (not pesticide/GMO food/GMOcorn). Buy organic, free-range meat/protein whenever possible.
- Check out the book by Ruth Winters: A Consumer’s Dictionary to Food Additives 7th ed.
- Check out the blog by Ruth Winters: http://www.whatsinthisstuff.com/blog/Ruth-Winter