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Dangerous Chemicals Lurking in Your Cupboards

Thousands of untested chemicals — an estimated 2,000 — were found in packaged foods found in U.S. supermarkets, according to Truthout.

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The report details how legal additives and known or suspected carcinogens, such as synthetic sodium nitrate, are found in processed meats, while the cancer-causing butylated hydroxyanisole, also known as BHA, is found in other foods like frozen pepperoni pizza. Other chemicals added to food that are known to be dangerous to human health and the environment include polypropylene, sulfuric acid and bisphenol.

Chemicals are not the only thing that can cause health problems and have a pronounced effect on your mental health. Additives and contaminants are also routinely added to packaged and processed food items, and fast food can contribute to depression and/or other mental health problems. Those additives and contaminants include: 

  • Genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, which can significantly alter your gut flora. 
  • Glyphosate, which has been shown to cause nutritional deficiencies when consumed, especially minerals that are critical for brain function and mood control. Declared a probable human carcinogen, glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide on food crops in the world.
  • Artificial food additives, especially the artificial sweetener aspartame, can wreak havoc with your brain function and can cause depression and panic attacks. Artificial colorings can impact your mood.
  • Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley, may negatively impact mood and brain health. Most nonorganic wheat is also treated with the herbicide glyphosate in a preharvest process, which adds to its problematic effects.

You can steer clear of these dangerous chemicals and additives, lower your risk of illness and improve your health by simply shifting to locally grown foods, which benefits you, the environment and your local economy.

The food you eat is not the only source of exposure to dangerous chemicals and preservatives. The average American woman uses 12 personal care products each day, containing nearly 168 different chemicals, the majority of which have not undergone adequate safety testing. Many of the chemicals used have been linked to breast and other types of cancer, infertility and liver and kidney diseases.

A study with 100 young women using cosmetics marked paraben and phthalate free found that the women’s exposure to the hormone-disrupting chemicals was significantly reduced.

Cosmetic and personal care products may contain heavy metals and usually have a list of chemicals protected by the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act as “trade secrets.” Many chemicals are also hidden under the label of “fragrance.”

These toxic chemicals are also added to conventional cleaning products.

Dish soaps often contain phthalates, and triclosan is found in many detergents and over-the-counter antibacterial products.

Perchlorethylen, a neurotoxin known to cause kidney and liver diseases, is found in spot removers, carpet cleaners and dry cleaning solutions. Another group of chemicals known as quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats” are standard ingredients in many antibacterial solutions and are commonly found in fabric softeners.

Quaternium-15, the most well-known of the quats, is a formaldehyde-releasing chemical found in hair conditioners, hair styling products, shaving products and household cleaning products.

To avoid these dangerous chemicals, find cosmetics that do not include parabens and phthalates. You can also make your own cleaning supplies using natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. To further protect yourself, maintain a healthy gut microbiome, which goes a long way in reducing your health risks.