Why do we allow our fast food wrappers to contain toxic chemicals?
A summary for food, chemical and electro sensitivities
According to a new study out of George Washington University, fast-food containers (such as wrappers used for burgers and burritos) contain toxic chemicals known to interfere with our reproductive systems and contribute to attention and learning disorders.
Many convenience foods come with an ingredient list showing consumers what went into the product they’re eating or drinking. Of course, this list doesn’t include the chemicals used to make the box, bag or wrapper encasing the food, or other materials that come into contact with our meal – like the plastic gloves used to handle the sandwich toppings. But these compounds make their way into our food and we ingest them.
The George Washington study found ortho-phthalates in burritos and burgers, while another study determined that PFAS chemicals (the non-stick chemicals made famous by the recent film Dark Waters) are in more than half of the contact paper used to wrap desserts and baked goods and line your pizza box.
PFAS exposure is associated with testicular cancer, thyroid disease and immune dysfunction, among many other alarming conditions. According to population studies, all Americans now have traces of ortho-phthalates and PFAS in their bodies, along with dozens of other compounds.
To make the food system safer for everyone we need to direct some of our disgust and anger toward the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the companies that make food packaging.
The FDA is responsible for making sure that convenience foods and food packaging are safe but it has utterly failed to do so. Time and time again, the FDA has ignored calls to reform how it evaluates the safety of food and food packaging materials, or has relied on manufacturers’ goodwill to voluntarily change the packaging materials they use.
Fast-food chains bear the lion’s share of responsibility for this problem. Campaigns demonstrating the toxicity of food packaging materials have made this industry aware that its packaging is full toxic substances. A few companies, like McDonald’s, have promised to phase out some of these harmful compounds, like PFAS, but many have not.
In fact, chains continue to actively push their products on Black and Hispanic youth through targeted marketing. That companies actively promote products they know to be harmful is disturbing. It’s especially alarming because adolescence is a time of rapid growth and development that is sensitive to the harmful effects of toxic chemicals.
To protect the public from chemicals in all food packaging, the FDA must radically revise its standards for food packaging and force food companies to find safer and greener options.
Pine pollen is a major allergy trigger for some people. Fir, spruce, or cypress may be a better bet. The Leyland Cyprus is a sterile hybrid tree, which means it does not produce any pollen. Although it will still release terpenes (the pine smell) which is unlikely to be tolerated by people with MCS.
Wash your tree: spray off your tree with water and allow to dry overnight in the garage before putting it up. This will remove some of the loose mould and pollen that is on the tree. Allow it to dry before bringing indoors.
Artificial Trees: These may harbour dust and mould from storage. Wipe them down with a dust cloth, or take them outside and hose them off if they are not pre-lit. Choose a tree with less off-gassing: Some new artificial trees are made of moulded polyethylene (PE) instead of PVC, which may have lower levels of out-gassing. These trees are very realistic, but tend to be more expensive than PVC trees. Try an eco-friendly alternative tree: Some of the creative alternative trees have a modernist design, others are more basic. All are a fun solution to the Christmas tree dilemma, or why not find a suitable branch to bring in and decorate?
Dust your ornaments: Christmas ornaments will have been sitting in a box all year, and may be coated in dust or mould. If possible, unwrap them outside to avoid spreading dust inside your home. Wipe them off with a soft cloth before hanging. At the end of the season, wrap your ornaments in new paper, rather than re-using old, dusty paper.
Clean your wreaths: Artificial wreaths can be vacuumed or dusted with a soft cloth. Avoid scented candles: Scented candles can cause stuffy noses and irritated lungs. If you crave a little atmosphere with your holiday meals, try unscented beeswax, vegetable wax, or LED candles and tea-lights.
Dairy, egg, gluten, lactose, nightshade, nut, soy and wheat free
50g dried apricots
50g coconut oil (we used Lucy Bee's) or dairy-free spread
50g agave syrup or dark muscovado sugar
1/2 large Bramley cooking apple or 1 sharp eating apple, peeled and cored
2 pieces stem ginger, chopped (optional)
125g Doves Farm (or other brand) self-raising gluten-free flour
1 heaped tsp each ground cinnamon and nutmeg
2 heaped tsp gluten and wheat-free baking powder
50g gluten-free rolled oats
100ml apple juice, orange juice or brandy
Soak the apricots in boiling water for 5–10 minutes depending on how 'dried' they are.
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
Meanwhile, beat the coconut oil or dairy-free spread with the agave syrup or muscovado sugar until creamy.
Drain the apricots and then purée them with the apple in a food processor. Add the sugar and spread and whizz again briefly. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the raisins, sultanas, currants and ginger if you are using it and mix well. Sieve together the flour, spices and baking powder then fold into the mixture along with the oats and the liquid. Make sure all is well mixed.
Line a 150cm/6inch cake tin with oiled greaseproof paper, spoon in the mixture, bang flat then bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool for 15 minutes in the tin then turn out onto a rack, peel off the greaseproof paper and allow to cool completely before icing, if you are going to do so.
Thanks to Foods Matter.com for kindly letting us reproduce this dish.
ME community to get this message out to GPs across the country.
The updated NICE guideline on ME/CFS contains substantial changes that alter the treatment and management of people with ME in England and Wales*. MEAction.net need your help to tell doctors and other medical staff that the recommended treatments for people with ME have changed. They want to get the message out that there are new recommendations on the way people with ME can be supported, but they should not offer harmful treatments like Graded Exercise Therapy (GET). They are asking us to join together so that we can reach GPs and medical professionals all across the country, and share the new guideline with them by sending their template letter to our GP's. Find out more.
*The #MEAction Scotland team are campaigning to get an urgent meeting with the Scottish Minister for Health to discuss how soon a new guideline for Scotland can be developed, based on the NICE guideline. We’ll update you as soon as we have more information.
There will be more from us about the new NICE ME/CFS Guidelines in the Christmas edition of our magazine.
Response from MP on opposing bill to force 100% of England and Wales to drink fluoridated water.
Overcoming Chronic Illness Masterclass: Infections, Toxins and Mindset FREE from Dec 6-12, 2021.
Join this extensive, expert-led masterclass to learn how underlying infections, environmental toxins and chronic stress set the stage for long-term illness, and explore solutions for getting well and staying healthy.
1 in 3 adults worldwide live with multiple chronic conditions. Millions of people are either living with chronic illness or know someone close to them who is.
We’re overloaded and stressed out, our world is getting more toxic and our resilience to overcome this toxicity, trauma and stress is diminishing, making us weaker and more likely to get sick or chronically ill.
What’s more, chronic illness often comes with mental health challenges, changes our identity, and we forget who we once were before getting sick.
Can you imagine what it would be like to reinvent a new you?
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