I recently read an article potentially linking chemicals and cancer. I enjoyed the article, but I will admit that I have been one of those people who have suspected chemicals of cancer and other medical problems for a long time. When I was growing up, my family used to joke about how small I was and how much bigger my younger siblings were. In the end, no matter what the causes, I am truly the shortest person in my family- all of my younger siblings are around 6’ tall... or over. When I left my parents home, I was free to become one of those scary crunchy granola environmentalists that you hear about and in many ways I have stayed that way. Lack of funds has caused me to change some of my priorities and I sometimes eat things now or shop at places that I refused to before- haven’t changed all my standards…. Wal-Mart is still once a year or less! I still use very little electricity, eat mostly veggies (even if they are canned) and live as cleanly as possible. I haven’t used a microwave since I moved out of my parent's home and until recently nothing I owned was stored in plastic. I haven’t had a working refrigerator for about a decade so food has to be purchased more often and eaten fairly quickly- any waste goes to the chickens which is very expensive so I try not to have extra.
There were a few tidbits in the article that I didn’t know. For instance, I had never heard the statistics on lower rates of breast cancer depending on onset of menstruation/puberty. That caused me to smile because I was definitely a ‘late bloomer’ – I loved the idea that in that regard, I have less risk. (I did know that menstruation was beginning later… I just had no idea that came with some benefits that many of our girls now lack.) However, there are so many studies out there that suggest that our water and our environment is awash in estrogen because it is given to animals in their food, etc... so I suspect that we are all at high risk for cancer if estrogen is a cause because-male or female- we are all surrounded by it in our water, food, etc.... I also didn't know that there were any safe plastics so for the most part I don't have any in my house- especially in the kitchen. That said I am not sure that silicon and wood are the most healthful either... has silicon ever been tested for chemical leaching? And what is actually in it?
I was happy to see that one of our elected representative introduced a bill to try and work towards dealing with this problem, but then I noticed that this article is almost 3 years old... so I suspect that not only did it not pass, but hasn't been brought up again. I find that a bit sad- I am assuming and didn't look it up but I cant imagine that it passed and it wasn't really big news. I haven't heard about it so again I have assumed. :) I really feel that the regulation in this country tends towards protecting companies, not constituents. And I think that goes for all areas of the market- not just the food market. (An example is cash for clunkers... most cars that were turned in were good cars by individuals who could have afforded to buy a new car anyway... whereas the really bad cars are driven by people who can't think of affording a car with better gas mileage and so they are still driving them. It might have helped with gas consumption a little bit, but it really just seemed to be another bailout for auto companies.) This can be traced a little bit by looking at the organic certification. A few times regulators have tried to water it down for larger conventional business and now I know many organic farmers who do not certify themselves because they are not 'big enough' for it to be worth it. The cost to be allowed to say 'organic' plus the regulation takes all of their profit. I would love for food safety to be taken more seriously in this country and for slaughterhouses to be run at a less breakneck speed- I think it would be better for the animals, the workers and the food. I think that emphasis on local and paying the farmers a living wage (and the people around the farmers a living wage so that they can afford the food) would be one of the best ways to promote food safety and health. I do not suspect that I will be lucky enough to see that in my lifetime however. :)