It seems like people are becoming more self-aware of what they are putting on and into their bodies. Although the GMO bill didn’t pass here in California, more and more individuals are learning about the dangers of genetically modified food. Vitamins, which have been questioned again and again, may be proved as obsolete, and other labels indicating whether a product is gluten-free, organic or natural are important to be kept in place, as well as proved genuine.
In a country that labels Reese’s Puffs as a good source of “calcium and vitamin D” or deep-fried hot dogs with “fortified vitamins and minerals,” we also need to get our act together with products that actually might not be good for us. For about a decade now, the FDA has been trying to call out antibacterial soap for its harmful and ineffective ingredients. According to the National Geographic, the common chemical found in antibacterial soap (triclosan) may lead to antibiotic resistance as well as an interference with our hormones.
A Huffington Post article maintains: “Under a proposed rule issues Monday, Dec. 16th by the FDA, makers of antibacterial products…would have to demonstrate the products are safe and effective with clinical study data.” If they are proven to be dangerous or ineffective, they will have to re-label their products as well as reformulate their soaps to actually make them useful. It’s crazy that this wasn’t done ten years ago, so it makes me wonder what else is sketchy to use or eat.
After doing some research on the Internet, this is what I came up with:
1. GMO products not labeled as GMO.
Genetically modified organisms have virtually been banned from almost every single country. Of course they are super prevalent in the US because ‘MERIKA! The studies on GMOs have proven nothing but negative outcomes, and I won’t go on that rant today, but the problem isn’t just about GMOs. It’s about awareness. Right now, food that contains GMOs do not have to be labeled as such, and GMO kingpin Monsanto is trying to see to it that food labeled as “organic” can have GMOs in it, too. It’s important to label so that we don’t have to play guessing games when buying our food. Which leads me to…
2. Gluten-free foods may not be 100% gluten-free.
In August of 2013, the FDA said it would define “gluten-free” as containing “less than 20 parts per millions of gluten.” Manufacturers can label their products as “GF” as long as it has been processed to remove the gluten down to the 20ppm level. However, this labeling is voluntary. A company doesn’t have to label their product as “gluten-free” even if they sell alleged corn snacks that someone who is gluten intolerant may want to purchase. Furthermore, if you have Celiac’s disease, it’s still possible for your body to have a bad reaction to the minute amounts of gluten in food that may have been labeled as gluten-free. Why not just make sure all gluten-free food is 100% gluten-free? Why not label gluten-free food as gluten-free? This is why I should run for president, guys.
3.. A lot of skin care products contain horrible things.
Apparently, cosmetics don’t need any kind of approval before hitting Walgreens or Target. That’s right, anything goes. The FDA has been protecting us from mercury and chloroform, but there are other sketchy ingredients that are hiding out in cleansers and perfumes. Some chemicals that you should be weary of:
- Chemical sunscreens can contain oxybenzone and octylmethoxycinnamate and have been shown to disrupt endocrine activity.
- Nanos, which have been seen in sunscreens as well, can penetrate skin and cause cell damage.
- Sulfates, such as sodium lauryl and sodium laureth are in a lot of shampoos, conditioners, cleansers and soaps. They make it so that your shampoo lathers easily. Not only are these horrible for your hair, but that can cause eye irritation and skin rashes.
4. The butter in popcorn.
Some microwave popcorn contains an additive called “diacetyl” that causes bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious lung condition also called “popcorn workers’ lung.”
5. Nitrites in deli meat.
It’s true – hot dogs are bad for you. Really bad. The American Institute for Cancer Research and World Cancer Research Fund looked over thousands of studies and concluded that processed meats (hot dogs, bacon, deli meats) are definitely linked to increased colorectal cancer. Thank you, nitrites! Sodium nitrite is a preservative that is used during the curing process and it’s not completely evil; it stops the development of botulism (which can straight up kill you), and it helped develop that tasty cured meat flavor as well as the pink color. However, nitrites end up turning into cancer-causing compounds.
Some other ideas for labels if we lived in a perfect world:
- Labels that inform us what kind of water was used when growing a particular fruit or vegetable
- Were trees cut down in order to grow this plant?
- Were farmers and workers getting paid at LEAST minimum wage?
For most of the products that I listed above, it’s possible to find out exactly what went into them if you just study their ingredients or Google the name. However, I don’t see why we need to do that. If a bar of soap or bag of chips are made with unsavory ingredients, we need to be warned about them. Obviously manufacturers and big name companies won’t be doing so hot if poisonous ingredients will be identified more easily, but we can’t just be using things that are not good for us. Let’s just be straight forward with each other, okay?