The dangerous toxins the U.S. permits us to consume

Christina Judy, Staff writer

The most important form of self-care is to ensure that all the foods we consume and products we use on our bodies are healthy and safe. I was alarmed when I read the amount of skin care and food products that were banned in Europe because of the potential for dangerous effects in humans, but were allowed to be use in the United States.

There has been a recent buzz about the presence of these toxic compounds in our U.S. products. The concern that stood out to me most was how many of these chemicals have the potential to be carcinogenic.

Potassium Bromate is an additive used in white flour and bread which adds to the volume of the bread and enhances its structure. The human body does a good job of breaking down bromate to a harmless form. However, there has been evidence in animal testing that shows the development of cancer in the specimens. If undigested, the remaining trace amounts of bromate could pose a cancer risk to consumers.

The dangers do not stop at carcinogens, some additives have been found to be genotoxic in studies. When a chemical is able to damage DNA within cells it is said to be a genotoxic chemical.

The dangers borne from damaged DNA are serious and can lead to cancerous effects. The U.S. has a chemical like this as an additive used for
food coloring for candies such as Skittles and Starbursts and in lieu of other food products. Titanium dioxide cannot pass through the body easily and therefore can build up and put consumers at a dangerous risk. Europe has deemed this additive as unsafe and is looking to remove it from the market.

These are just a taste of the long list of dangerous additives and chemicals the United States still enables markets to use that Europe has made efforts to move away from.

Our bodies are precious because they allow us to do so many things from physical activity to just allowing us to be present in a space with friends. The time will be well taken if we become more curious about the ingredients within the foods we consume. For the health benefits and the overall feeling of well-being, it is imperative that we nourish our bodies with healthy foods that are free from harmful chemicals.

The products that are used to revitalize our bodies are just as deserving of our attention. There is yet again a list of ingredients banned in other countries for use but allowed in the U.S., only this time referring to beauty care.

Among them is Phthalates, which is a known endocrine disrupter, is present in perfume, deodorant, and nail polish. Lead is a neurotoxin that is harmful in small doses but is still allowed for use in cosmetics- most commonly lipsticks- in the U.S.

You have probably heard of formaldehyde in criminal shows or even in school. Its practical use is in preserving dead bodies, however, the U.S. still approves it to be used in nail polishes, nail hardeners, and Brazilian blowouts. The EU has banned its use because it is a known carcinogen and has been found to create respiratory problems.

This information is critical to be aware of because of the detrimental effects that they could have on our health. We only get one body and one chance at life, it is so important to be cautious of what we are consuming.

It may be time consuming but the pay off for reading through the ingredient lists of our products is a healthier body for which there is nothing more valuable.