This article is written for Evolving Wellness by guest author Morgan Statt of ConsumerSafety.org.
When we go shopping for our everyday products, it’s natural to think that the items on the shelves are safe for us to use. Countries like the United States and Canada have regulatory agencies in place to alert us to any possible toxins and to pull products from the market that could wreak havoc on our health.
But the sad truth is that this regulation of products for our own safety tends to fall on us, the consumer. Often hidden in plain sight are potentially harmful ingredients listed on product labels, ingredients that can be tough to spot if you’re not familiar with toxins that have made their way onto the shelves and into our shopping carts.
Before you do your weekly grocery or household shopping, educate yourself on these three toxins that may be lurking in the products you use every day.
1. There may be glyphosate in your garden care products.
Are you spending more time outside and tending to your lawn or garden? The fresh air is certainly good for you, but the products you may be using to beautify your outdoor space may be putting you at risk of serious health conditions. Still on the shelves today is RoundUp Weed Killer, a brand-name herbicide that contains the unsafe chemical compound glyphosate. Although the product is very effective at killing the weeds that compete with what we’ve planted in our gardens, exposure to the compound disrupts our endocrine system and can cause severe kidney and liver damage. Use of the product has also been linked to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, has been facing lawsuits from plaintiffs alleging that their cancers were caused by the weed killer. With legal pressures mounting and entities like the World Health Organization labeling glyphosate as a likely carcinogen, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun a new testing period for the herbicide. This is a step in the right direction for consumer health, especially since mass use of the weed killer has led to trace amounts of the chemical compound being found in common foods like Quaker Oats and Cheerios.
2. High levels of arsenic may be lurking in wine.
If you’ve been thinking about cutting back on your alcohol consumption for health reasons, this may make you want to give up drinking completely. A class-action lawsuit was brought against 83 popular wines for their inclusion of high levels of arsenic. The World Health Organization links the chemical element to cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity, diabetes, and even developmental defects.
Arsenic can also be found in drinking water, but the EPA has placed limits on how much can be present. The 83 wines contained four times the legal limit of arsenic set by the agency, and the FDA has very few regulations when it comes to properly labeling alcoholic beverages. Although the potential health risk of arsenic in wine is still being debated, this revelation may pave the way for conversations to be had about the lack of regulations in place for alcohol production in the United States and other countries.
3. Talcum powder may be in your hygiene products.
Do you regularly use baby powder on your infant, toddler, or even on yourself? You may want to check the label for talcum powder listed as an ingredient. The mineral-based powder has been linked to ovarian cancer, and studies dating back to the 1970s have shown this correlation. Despite decades worth of research, popular brand-name products like Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based Baby Powder remain on store shelves today. Thousands of women with ovarian cancer have also filed claims against the family brand, blaming the inclusion of talcum powder for their diagnosis.
Talcum powder can also be found in certain cosmetics products and may even be contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen. To err on the side of caution, check your blushes, foundations, eye shadows, and other makeup products for the ingredient and consider switching to talc-free options.
With the knowledge that toxins may be lurking in your everyday products, don’t hesitate to take a little extra time on your shopping trip to thoroughly read product labels. If the presence of these health risks has taught us anything, it’s that education is key to our overall wellness. Make it a priority to learn the product ingredients that can be harmful and decide today to make the switch to healthier options.
About the Author
Morgan Statt is a health and safety investigator who spends her time writing on a variety of topics including public health, product safety, and trending news. Her passion for health has also fueled her love of food. When she isn’t writing, she can be found checking out locally-sourced cafes and restaurants that support her focus on overall wellness. Follow her on Twitter @morganstatt.