Over the past several years something has come to my attention, time and again. It appears that instead of making the health and well-being of its citizens its top priority, the United States Government is bending to the will of big corporate lobbyists.
There are two examples that I would like to share with you.
1. The Vanishing Bees
In recent years, honeybees have been rapidly dying and literally vanishing from their hives. This phenomena has come to be known as Colony Collapse Disorder. A commonly used class of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, is likely to blame.
Neonicotinoids attack the nervous system of insects, killing them off. This makes them excellent pest control—so excellent that many seeds are sold treated with neonicotinoids. The plant grows with the pesticide inside it, allowing it to kill all the insects which attack it.
Two neonicotinoids produced by Bayer, one of the world’s leading pesticide manufacturers, have already been banned in European countries. In Germany, clothianidin was banned when tests on dead bees showed that 99% of those examined had a build-up of clothianidin.
Bayer’s best selling pesticide, imidacloprid, sold under the name Gaucho in France, has been banned as a seed dressing for sunflowers in that country since 1999, after a third of French honeybees died following its widespread use. Five years later it was also banned as a sweetcorn treatment in France. A few months ago, the company’s application for clothianidin was rejected by French authorities.
Meanwhile, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has knowingly and repeatedly approved this bee-killing pesticide. I highly recommend the documentary, The Vanishing Bees, for more on this topic.
While I have not found conclusive evidence that this pesticide is harmful to human beings, this is a pesticide that destroys the nervous system of living things. I do not want it in my body! Why does the United States government continue to approve the use of this poison? Political pressure, corruption, backwards politics.
2. The Debate Over Parabens
There is a roaring debate over food and cosmetic preservatives called parabens. According to livestrong.com, parabens are a fungicide, which can preserve the life of a product. The HSDB states that methylparaben is quickly absorbed through the skin and the intestinal tract (when used as a food preservative). There is a great deal of controversy surrounding its use, with many reports of dangerous side effects.
One type of paraben, methylparaben, in particular has been linked to breast cancer, skin damage, eye damage, and male fertility issues.
The EPA in their report “Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Agents of Subtle Change?” reported that the chemical preservatives called parabens—methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl (alkyl-p-hydroxybenzoates)—displayed estrogenic activity in several tests. This means that these chemicals mimic your body´s own hormones and can have endocrine-disrupting action when they are rubbed into your body or washed down the drain into your drinking water. These disruptors interfere with your body´s endocrine system: your hypothalamus, your ovaries, your thyroid—virtually every system in your body.
Parabens are estrogen mimickers. They can bind to the cellular estrogen receptor. They also increase the expression of many genes that are usually regulated by estradiol and cause human breast tumor cells to grow and proliferate in vitro.
Once again, there are conflicting opinions in the medical community about the potential risks associated with parabens; however there is research that shows that these things are potentially harmful and toxic. I do not want these things in my body! Why is the government doing little to inform the public about these dangers?
With all of this being said, this is not a political post. While I may strongly disagree with the actions of the government in these two instances, I can appreciate the fact that many people do not want the government to interfere in their lives or dictate what they can/can not eat, use, support, etc.
Rather than making a political argument, I am sharing this information to encourage you to educate yourself and make the right decisions for your own well-being. I grew up in a culture that told me that the government was protecting me; that government bodies like the EPA and the FDA are in place to protect me and look out for my well-being. However, I now know that this is simply not the truth. These government bodies bend to the wills of big corporations. Period.
The only way to ensure my well-being is to educate myself about every choice that I make—everything that I put into and onto my body.
I do not live a radically alternative lifestyle. I do not eat a 100% organic diet or use 100% organic products. However, I am slowly moving in that direction. Recently, I have been paying more careful attention to everything that I consume and apply to my body. I am more conscious of the companies that I support and more mindful of where things come from, how they are made, and so on.
I believe in supporting local, sustainable and environmentally-friendly production practices. These things are very important to me. I am not advocating for radical or instant change. I am not suggesting that you go into your bathroom/kitchen and throw out every non-organic product that you come across. However, I do encourage you to keep these things in mind the next time that you go to the store.
The examples that I have listed above are just two out of hundreds that I have learned about in recent years. There are always multiple sides to every story. I am presenting you with some facts and sharing my own opinions.
Sadly, we live in a time and a place where sometimes, the people who should have our health in mind, are more focused on turning a profit or being re-elected than keeping people healthy. However, this is not an excuse for us to suffer. It is our responsibility to educate, protect and nourish ourselves.
In love & light,