I am quite sure that many people are bothered by the presence of chemicals in their lives. On an average, we all are exposed to so many harmful chemicals. Our world has been using a number of chemicals in food, drinks & beverages, clothes, cosmetics, cleaning products and in many other forms.Even if we are aware; it is impossible to eliminate it 100% from our life. For EXAMPLE, The antibacterial soaps found in almost every household HAD 19 chemicals which are recently banned.
The recently published Fact About Commonly used Soaps and presence of chemicals around us.
Sep 2, 2016 – FDA Bans 19 Chemicals Used In Antibacterial Soaps … and some of them may even be dangerous, the Food and Drug Administration says.
Surprisingly the Laws around using chemicals, in general, isn’t stern enough. So rules and regulations are not helping us anyways. Most guideline of chemical use in products doesn’t help a consumer in any way. Most shocking news as a consumer is that companies are not required to list each and every ingredient used in their products. The leads to half-baked knowledge served to the consumers.
Some relevant points about our Food. The food we eat is highly processed and has artificial coloring (to make it attractive), flavoring (additional agents to give a kick to our taste buds) and is loaded with addictive (like sugar). Our food also has pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and is genetically modified.Unless it is approved of free from all these by FDA.
Products hide behind the fancy word Natural. the question is how well do we understand these terms like “low sodium”; “fat-Free”; “sugar-free”; “All natural”… The answers are hidden in “How these words are defined ?” We have no clue what is hidden in food. The laws aren’t tight enough. Even the definitions and use of words like “natural” are HiGHLY misleading. Most of us don’t know what does natural means when it comes to the label on a product, for example :
The word “Natural” is used so often by companies. Let’s see What FDA ( food & drug administration) defines it on its website.
Jan 5, 2017 – That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.
What does natural mean?
Natural: Food labeled “natural,” according to the USDA definition, does not contain artificial ingredients or preservatives and the ingredients are only minimally processed. However, they may contain antibiotics, growth hormones, and other similar chemicals. Regulations are fairly lenient for foods labeled “natural.” A very interesting article from my favorite website EWG.org is attached below.
Secret Flavor Ingredients
The term “natural flavor” finds its way into more than a quarter of EWG’s roster of 80,000 foods in the Food Scores database, with only salt, water and sugar mentioned more frequently on food labels. “Artificial flavors” are also very common food additives, appearing on one of every seven labels.
What do these terms really mean? Good question.
The truth is that when you see the word “flavor” on a food label, you have almost no clue what chemicals may have been added to the food under the umbrella of this vague term. For people who have uncommon food allergies or are on restricted diets, this can be a serious concern.
In addition to the flavor-adding chemicals themselves, flavor mixtures often contain natural or artificial emulsifiers, solvents and preservatives that are called “incidental additives,” which means the manufacturer does not have to disclose their presence on food labels. Flavoring mixtures added to food are complex and can contain more than 100 distinct substances. The non-flavor chemicals that have other functional properties often make up 80 to 90 percent of the mixture.
Consumers may be surprised to learn that so-called “natural flavors” can actually contain synthetic chemicals such as the solvent propylene glycol or the preservative BHA. Flavor extracts and ingredients derived from genetically engineered crops may also be labeled “natural,” because the FDA has not fully defined what that term means. (Certified organic “natural flavors” must meet more stringent guidelines and cannot include synthetic or genetically engineered ingredients.)
The companies that make flavoring mixtures are often the same ones that make the fragrance chemicals in perfumes and cosmetics. EWG advocates full disclosure of fragrance ingredients and believes flavoring mixtures should be treated the same way.
EWG considers it troubling that food companies do not fully disclose their ingredients and use vague terms like “flavors.” Consumers have a right to know what’s in their food. We are also concerned that processed food makers manipulate flavors to whet people’s appetite for unhealthy foods and encourage overeating.
The presence of harmful chemicals in our cosmetic is scary. Companies are using LEAD, PARABEN, SULPHATE, MICA etc … in cosmetics. Stuff that can cause Cancer and another disease.
The relevant question here is how do we make sure what is hidden in products. Most people would try and read the listed ingredients printed on it. They would research each and every name used on the list as well. They would further investigate how our body reacts when it comes in contact with each listed item. These research are time-consuming and often not well supported because of the absence of substantial data available. People are making a collective effort for better understanding in this regard. http://www.ewg.org is a website that helps whoever is curious to know whats in any product.
I will update this post with the everyday ideas of how we can take baby steps towards clean and healthy living.