Thursday November 20, 2014

Confused view of chemicals


Somewhere along the way the idea of chemicals has been made to be a scary word, especially when it comes to food.

It’s not that consumers shouldn’t be concerned with what they consume, but somehow our view of food changed.

It has become very trendy to promote chemical free, or no added hormones, as selling points for food.

It suggests, without offering anything other than a provided perception, that the food they offer is better, or safer.

And consumers take notice.

We as a society have after all been conditioned to follow advertising.

But somehow in the change we have created a dichotomy in how we view foods.

We like the idea of chemical free, even organic, but still want the convenience of quick and ready food, from boil in the bag meals, to microwaveable bacon, to cream-filled cakes which appear capable of surviving a nuclear winter.

And then there is the rest of our world, where we seem oblivious to what we use in our lives.

A dandelion is blasted with chemicals if it shows on our lawns.

We spray the wasp nest in the eve, the flies around the garbage can in the back yard, and slather on bug spray to fend off mosquitoes.

We may not ingest the spray, yet we certainly inhale and skin contact is all but inevitable.

Then there are the morning rituals we all undertake in the bathroom.

The shower includes body wash, shampoo, and rinse.

We then lather on shaving cream, followed by aftershave, antiperspirant, and body spray.

The ladies can add hair sprays, eyeliner, eye shadow, make-up and goodness knows what else to the list.

Very few of us even consider what the chemical make-up of such products is. Personally I don’t read the labels as a general rule, but I’m pretty sure there are many compounds in such products I would not be able to pronounce, and certainly have no understanding of what they do in terms of possible health risks.

Now I am not suggesting the products are not safe. I maintain a level of trust in terms of government rules and regulations ensuring such products are well-tested, and found safe for human use.

The point is I trust the same system when it comes to bacon that can sit on a store shelf and taken home and tossed in the microwave to be served.

If the system is flawed in terms of ensuring food safety, then the concern should go to a host of other products we inhale, and come into skin contact with on a day-to-day basis in our worlds.

Diligence is never a terrible idea, but we should still recognize our food supply is as safe as it has ever been, starting with the efforts of our farmers.

Calvin Daniels is Assistant Editor with Yorkton This W#eek.



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