Let’s talk about clean food, shall we? Specifically, let’s talk about selecting the cleanest of clean foods. The Environmental Working Group is a research and advocacy organization whose mission is dear to our hearts. The EWG provides public information on the health issues associated with toxic chemicals in consumer products. You may know them best for their invaluable cosmetics database, Skin Deep, which indexes and scores products based on their ingredients. (If we had a dime for every time one of us looked up a product or ingredient using Skin Deep…) But did you know that the EWG has been instrumental in bringing awareness to food safety issues as well?
While the EWG believes that the health benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risk of pesticide exposure, they are doing what they can to help consumers make the best, most informed choices. Maybe you’ve heard of the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, which highlights the foods with the highest pesticide residue. Did you know that they also publish a Clean Fifteen list? Yep, this is the list of produce with the least pesticide residue.
You know we’re obsessed with clean beauty products, but the real secret to radiant skin is what goes into your belly. Try drinking green smoothies for a week and tell us you don’t see a difference when you look in the mirror. To that end, we are happy to have resources we trust to guide us. Life is busy, and simple tools like the EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen help us make smart decisions quickly. So if you’re not already familiar with the EWG, take a look around, bookmark their site, and print out their lists for your shopping trips. Oh and by the way, we heard that a Skin Deep mobile app will be released this fall. Amazing!
Are you familiar with the Dirty Dozen or Clean Fifteen? What resources or tools do you love that we might not know about?
This one’s already gotten a lot of air time, but we’re going to weigh in nonetheless. A study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found a multitude of chemicals in the urine and blood samples of pregnant women.
While this in itself is not surprising, some of the findings are. From this San Francisco Chronicle article:
Of the 163 chemicals studied, 43 of them were found in virtually all 268 pregnant women in the study. They included polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, a prohibited chemical linked to cancer and other health problems; organochlorine pesticides; polybrominated diphenyl ethers, banned compounds used as flame retardants; and phthalates, which are shown to cause hormone disruption.
Some of these chemicals were banned before many of the women were even born.
Nobody knows for sure if these chemicals have ill effects on fetuses and, as Andrew Revkin at the New York Times points out, there are inherent problems when writing about this kind of research. As a rule we try not to incite panic, but we also think that it’s important to spread this type of information even when studies aren’t conclusive (which they never are), or only explore one part of an issue (which they often do). There are also worse things to panic about, especially when our exposure to certain questionable chemicals—like the ones in your body lotion—can be significantly reduced by making better choices as consumers. But I digress…
What’s most disturbing about this study is how some of these chemicals have been passed on mother-to-child generations after they’ve been discontinued from use. That’s creepy, even if it isn’t “proven” to be dangerous.
Are you freaked out by this research? And do you think journalists need to be more careful when they’re reporting on science?