The goal of this document is to explain, and bring awareness to the underlining causes of some of America’s greatest health problems. Probing and shedding light on nutrition facts, and other evidence. Facts brought forward within the pages of this paper document explain and define use of chemicals in foods. These chemicals are harmful to humans, as well as other life on this planet. It offers insight into GMOs, pesticide use and other factors that affect plants, animals and humans, maybe even the life of the Earth. This document expresses the improper prioritization of long term health considerations when defining a product safe, versus a company’s monetary gain.
Slowly, methodically, and quietly Americans are being killed every day, but what are they dying from? It is the food, and the literally hundreds of additives deemed safe by the FDA, along with harmful pesticides and GMO’s. In this country, there are a growing number of people with medical disorders that range from memory loss, metal disorders, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, obesity, cancer, and arthritis. Countless others suffer from a slew of un-known ailments that can all be traced back to these chemicals, and products. The intentional misleading safety of these products should not be allowed to continue; more regulations are needed today as tomorrow is already too late.
Four of the worst chemical additives are sweeteners. These additives go by names like, Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Sucralose, and Saccharin. Each is a cocktail of chemical composites, and each used daily by most Americans. Today people all across this country ingest these chemicals without even knowing it. Most cereals contain at least one of these sweet killers, if not more. Buying yogurt; buyer beware, all but three brands of yogurt on the market today contain at least one. Coffee creamers and sweeteners also contain many of them. Reading the label on food products is most crucial than ever, it might just mean the difference between a long life and death.
Aspartame is a chemically derived sweetener used by most of the food industry. Phenylasnine, aspartic, and methanol make up the chemical structure; this is the chemical element in formaldehyde. This history of artificial sweeteners begins with a product that was originally created by Orkin; a pest control company. The original use of the product was as an ant killing, neurotoxin. Later it was repurposed as an artificial sweetener that replaced saccharine. Saccharine was believed, and later, well documented to cause cancer in rats and other small mammals. How strange it is to think that this chemical concoction has been deemed safe by the FDA, and is now linked to the deaths of millions, as well as the long term health problems of millions more. The food additive aspartame is known to have 92 different disorders that range from simple allergies, blindness, hearing loss, mental disorders and death to name a few. Aspartame is added to foods already sweetened by sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other sweeteners; it is also being added to milk. Many unexpected places where it is being used are flavored waters, diet sodas, chewing gums, children’s medicines, cereals, yogurts, and powdered drinks ("Top 4 Most Dangerous Artificial Sweeteners," n.d.).
Acesulfame-K is the second most deadly of these artificial sweeteners, a derivative of potassium salt, and small amounts of methylene chloride. Known to be a cancer causing agent, use of this chemical has been known to cause stomach problems, headaches, behavioral problems, kidney and liver problems as well as cancer. Some evidence points to a link between diabetic disorders and this chemical. Acesulfame-k is found in low calorie food, diet sodas, juice drinks, and in some medicines ("Top 4 Most Dangerous Artificial Sweeteners," n.d.).
Sucralose is a synthetic that is created from chlorinating sugar and sugar by products. The process by which sucralose is made and the chemical mix is much the same as DDT. Some of the effects of this chemical on the human body are muscle pain, stomach pain, vertigo, and birth defects. Even though this causes so many problems, sucralose is available in almost every product you can think of from tooth paste to candy and gum. Most often it can be found in soft drinks, diet drinks and iced coffees ("Top 4 Most Dangerous Artificial Sweeteners," n.d.).
Saccharin has been is used longer than any of all the artificial sweeteners. Saccharin’s reputation for causing cancer in animals is well founded in scientific data. Many people do not know that saccharin is a product derived from sulfur. The chemical for saccharin is benzoic sulfimide. It is a fact that for people with sulfur allergies this product can be a death sentence; others may experience long term skin problems, stomach problems and cancer. The FDA is on the fence as to whether or not it should be labeled as a cancer causing food.
What can be done other than pushing for more regulations? As a nation, we need to beware of what dangers these chemicals pose, and what foods contain them. The best advice when dealing with artificial sweeteners is not to use them; avoid them altogether. Try to use honey or unbleached sugar to sweeten your food. Stay away from diet and fat free foods, encourage more truth in labeling, and read the label. Eat more fruit and less junk, healthy snacks are all the rage.
There are so many battles fronts happening at once, that deciding which one to fight first becomes the actual battle. Each day thousands of people quietly die from exposure to pesticide contamination. A plague of monumental proportions, but unlike natural plagues, this is one of man’s own creation.
According to Sullivan;
After an exhaustive evaluation of the available Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data on contaminants in American food, three things were certain. Firstly, every person who eats a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein products potentially consumes approximately 32 different types of synthetic pesticides and industrial chemicals. Secondly, the actual number of different synthetic chemicals people consume depends largely on their diet, the city and region of the country where they live, and the amount of organic food they eat. Finally, even those food defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as "organic" may contain multiple pesticides and industrial chemicals, unless carefully screened and produced. The FDA looks for nine different chemical classes of synthetic compounds and a total of 257 chemically unique compounds in the food products. This means that some combination of these chemicals occurs in most food. It should be remembered that the FDA does not test for hundreds of other pesticide and industrial chemicals used in food production. This omission demonstrates that a true or total picture of one's exposure to chemical mixtures in food is still not available. (Sullvan, Clark, Gardey, & Rosenfield, 2007, p. 11)
What can be done to prevent, and maybe even heal the potential long term damage caused by these synthetic pesticides? To start with, more and longer in depth studies have to be done. Scientists need to be able to evaluate the magnitude of the damage done to the environment, as well as the food chain. Many water ways, such as rivers, marshes, and lakes must be monitored, and new, long lasting assessments made. Solutions for this problem cannot come from the people who created them. They must be found by objective members of the scientific community, who have nothing to gain by the results. Many of the chemicals pose a serious and dangerous threat to most if not all the food chain.
Pesticides are not only found in our foods, but in the food we feed animals, that later become our food. Animals that consume contaminated grain or hay, release the poison down to humans in the form of tainted milk, eggs and meat. This gives a double dose of poison for every food item consumed in America, with an extra helping of poor health on the side. This is a fast track to failure. There are many tracks laid out before us, and opportunities for positive change. People are not by chance destined to be a part of the disaster plaguing the food chain; it is rather a choice faced by everyone every day.
It is always a choice of how to feed and care for the animals we eat. America is the only country in the world to make provisions for animal byproducts to be fed back to animals such as chickens, and even herbivore animals such as cows. This is one of the main reasons that Countries like Japan often test every cow that is shipped from the United States, for mad cow disease, and diseases like hoof and mouth. Farms in America are often threated if they say they want to self-test their animals, and this causes even more problems. A farm that choices to go up against the FDA, can lose everything and be shut down almost overnight.
One might wonder how these things go unnoticed, and who is to blame. The answer is that they come from CAFOs. Concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, are where the lion’s share of these animals are produced.
In the documentary film, A River of Waste: The Hazardous Truth About Factory Farms, (Mc Markell, 2009), much information is given explaining these types of farms and the impact they have on America. Many of these operations have been hidden from not only our eyes, but from our conscious. These CAFOs are responsible for some of the most heinous of crimes against humanity and the animals themselves. Their crimes include dumping of toxic animal waste, as well as animal cruelty.
Looking first at the waste issue, there is an almost unfathomable amount of waste produced at these CAFO farms. According to Mr. Mc Markell’s documentary; Oklahoma alone raises over one billion chicken per year in these facilities. Each chicken house has twenty five thousand chickens and produces a whopping five tons of manure a year per animal (Mc Markell, 2009). In total that is over one hundred twenty five thousand tons per chicken house. When looking at this from the stand point of one billion or more chickens, times five tons of manure per bird, 10,000,000,000,000, which is 10 trillion pounds of chicken poop per year in just this one area.
Let us look into the way this manure used. It is sprayed on dry land areas; it is used as fertilizer in other places, but with 10 trillion tons there are not many safe ways to deal with the problem. There is no requirement for how many times companies can deposit the waste products on the same land. The over dumping of these waste products has caused serious environmental issues, health problems, and water district management problems. Adding to this problem is that much of this waste is tainted with chemicals that can kill plants, animals and humans.
In Arkansas, entire communities are decimated, due to the use of chicken manure on crop land. The dumping lots also have done similar damage; amounts of material deposited into these locations are unregulated. Even the air contains contaminated material, high levels of toxins such as arsenic can be found in the dust inside of the homes of these people. The water has also been affected; in well tests more than half of the tested wells showed high levels of arsenic. For some of these communities, there is no safe place. Daily, they and their children are being subjected to a constant and unsafe amount of these toxins on all sides (Mc Markell, 2009).
Such high levels of contamination are easily traced back to chicken production. Later the same contamination can be seen in rice, cotton production and other food crops such as corn. The land used for rice and cotton production has arsenic levels that are five times the legal limit that is deemed safe by the FDA. The reason there is arsenic in the chicken litter is because these high production farms give the chicken arsenic in their feed. These CAFO farms feed arsenic to the chicken to suppress their immune systems, which causes them to put weight on faster. It also means that chickens must consume unusually high amounts of antibiotics, just to keep them alive. All of these chemicals are found in the manure which is used to fertilize chops, like rice and cotton, and corn, in some cases tainting the earth with arsenic forever.
At one time, weekly announcements were made, on broadcast radio, over the risk the rice posed to public safety. The public was informed as to the safe amounts that could be consumed per person. The amount was no more than one bowl of rice per week. To reduce the amount of arsenic in the rice, they were informed to prepare a cup of rice in per four cups of water, instead of a cup of rice to two cups of water that would normally be used. The land will be toxic for generations; no one has come out with a procedure to eliminate the arsenic from the affected soil. To make matters worse, once this rice has been cooked, it has now forever tainted the water. Pour this water down the drain, or worse yet, on a garden the cycle is perpetuated (PBR 2013).
There are so many ways that food has become dangerous and in some cases deadly.
Some of these dangers come from chemicals, and some from what the animals that humans use as food, and lastly because of the medicines that these animals have ingested. Looking as things like the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in chickens, pigs and cows gives a broader scope of the dangers involved with the modern practices of large corporate farms. Overuse of these antibiotics, used as a growth hormone is a common practice in the industry. Over seventy, percent of all antibiotics used in this country are used by the animals industry (Mc Markell, 2009).
Growth hormones are nothing new; they have been used in the milk production for many years. Bovine growth hormone, better known as sBST has dangerous side effects in humans. Side effects include breast cancer, prostate cancer, early puberty and obesity. The use of these hormones is so widespread that is it is likely that up to ninety percent of the population have consumed the residue from this hormone, either from store bought cow milk, or residue in the drinking water of a city municipal water system. No one should have to worry if the cow milk someone else is drinking is leeching into the water they are drinking (Mc Markell, 2009).
A remarkable Endocrine disruptor, rBST was the first genetically modified product ever created, and has been shown to be remarkable useful and dangerous. When used in cows it can triple milk production. This of course shortens the life of the cow to only a quarter of an untreated cow’s life span. Cows from family farms tend to live into their late twenties; they produce anywhere from four to six gallons of milk per day. Compared to a CAFO farm with an average life span of only eight years; milk production is an unhealthy eighteen to twenty gallons a day. Cows treated with bovine growth factor suffer from mastitis, weak bones, chronic infections and death in extreme cases (Mc Markell, 2009).
Many companies in America are moving away from the use of antibiotics and hormones like rBST in favor of more natural processes. They may not get as much milk, but the quality is much better. The cows live longer and better lives. The people who buy and drink the milk lead longer and heather lives. In response to so much bad press, many people are reading the labels more, and choosing to buy Organic products that do not contain rBST. A milk goat might also be a good answer; one young female goat can produce a gallon or more of healthy milk for family use. Goats are easy to care for, cheap to feed and fun to own. One goat can provide butter, cream cheese, yogurt, ice cream, had cheese and milk, making your family more independent. Cannot have a goat, buying milk from a local family farm might just the answer (Mc Markell, 2009).
Sometimes, even local farms can be disappointing. In writing this article I was able to interview a local farm laborer from a “family farm”, he told me many intriguing facts about how bigger farms work. Stories that he shared with me was about the tanks going down on the farm he worked at, compelled me to add it to this paper. To protect him and myself from future litigation, I will not be using the name of the dairy or the farm hand. The event that transpired is a shortened version of the event that took place nearly three years ago at a local dairy farm. The interview, which took place on April twenty sixth twenty thirteen, at 2:30 pm in Glencoe, Arkansas is as follows:
Once when the refrigeration unit went down, the man I work for went to the store. He had purchased 28 gallons of regular strength Clorox bleach. He took the bleach and poured it in to the tank with the spoiled milk. He then turned on the blender in the tank, it ran for three hours. At the end of three hours the milk was read by the computer as safe for human consumption. My boss said that it fixed the milk. The milk was later picked up by the tanker and sent to the plant to be processed and put into containers (Unnamed person, personal communication, April 26, 2013).
The above story was one of many that I had been told by this gentleman, all were very gruesome and true, but not uncommon. It is hard to take in all the facts, to admit to the fact that so much of the food we eat is unsafe. It is harder yet to except that events like this are not the exception to the rule as far as food is concerned, but rather the norm of a society that has lost its way. The very process of producing the food in some cases is dangerous and life threating.
These practices are not being used because America is without food, it is to the contrary. Every day in America one third of the food produced is wasted. The reason for the over production of this food is greed and money. To solve this people must not just read labels, not just buy organic food. The only fix for all this is for more families to become more self-reliant, for more community farms and city farms to be created and for people in general to learn more about where there food comes from (Mc Markell, 2009).
Only after the last tree is cut down, the last animal destroyed…Only then will you realize that you cannot eat money. Cree sayings 0:0 (Cree saying).
. (2013, March 3, 2013). NPR News [Radio Broadcast]. Jonesboro, Arkanas: Pubilc Broadcasting Service.
Mc Markell, D. (Film maker and producer). (2009). A river of waste: The hazardous truth about factory farms [Free Speech TV]. America: A Don Mc Carkell Film.
Sullvan, P. J., Clark, J. J., Gardey, F. J., & Rosenfield, P. (2007). . In (Ed.), ( ed., (p. pp. -). : . . http://dx.doi.org/ Retrieved from
Top 4 most dangerous artificial sweetners. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/top-number-most-dangerous-artificial-sweeteners.html
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