Today, I received an article from a friend written by Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times op-ed columnist, titled “New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer.” Having lost my father from cigarette smoking related lung cancer (They’ve identified4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke and at least 69 of those chemicals are known to cause cancer), the headline really didn’t surprise me very much. After all, we have gone from eating cupcakes made with flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, shortening, milk, vanilla and eggs to eating faux cupcakes made with niacin, iron reduced, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, palm oil interesterified, palm kernel oil, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil partially hydrogenated with TBHQ, emulsifiers, sorbitan monostearate, mono and diglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate, propylene glycol monostearate polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, sorbic acid and a little bit of flour, sugar, eggs et al. You get the point.
Some of the low-lights of the article included facts like, 300 contaminants have been detected in umbilical cord blood of newborn babies which means that these babies were already polluted when they were born! The other very disturbing detail that came out was a quote from the report which says, “Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety.” Just think of it. Only about 79,800 other chemicals MIGHT BE DANGEROUS. Heck, the food industry is already screaming because there is a bill before the Senate to ban bisphenol-A, commonly found in plastics from food and beverage containers. Right or wrong, BPA has been on the endangered drug list for years.
Okay, unless you make your living from treating these folks, here’s the really bad news. About 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, both Republicans and Democrats. So, the issue shouldn’t be a political issue, but, because it is also an economic issue it is not being addressed equally.
As a healthcare professional, it is tough to see the new statistics involving the cancers that are becoming more and more common with children. Could these cancers be happening because of chemicals in our food, water, air and household products, or is it just Mother Nature trying like heck to keep the seven billion of us from destroying her planet? You know kind of a guaranteed thinning of the herd?
The good news about the report was that it was filled with suggestions for us common folks relative to self-preservation from these chemicals. For example, filter your drinking water. That would seem simple enough, especially if you didn’t store it in heated plastic containers after filtration. Then there were suggestions like remove your shoes when you enter your house. Truthfully, I grew up in a house that was not unlike any respectable Japanese home, EVERYONE was expected to leave their shoes at the door upon entry. I always hated that. (Primarily because my socks were darned or had holes in them, but it was the law.)
They suggested storing your water in stainless steel instead of plastic and to microwave in ceramic or glass containers. They also embraced organic foods and suggested that you not eat meats that are too well done. (They must have seen me bar-b-que.) Oh, and finally they said, “Check radon levels in your home.” They probably should have gone on to say, and do something about them, too.
Well, today, I met an 89 year old man who had been on the ground in Hiroshima seven days after the bomb was dropped, and he told me that his secret to longevity was never to think about any of this stuff, to hang out with young people, and to drink a lot of high quality alcohol. He was particularly fond of moonshine? We all have to die from something. I guess CEO’s of the manufacturing companies who use known carcinogens figure they just wanna die rich!