I don't know about you, but these days I take it for granted that there's mercury in tuna and hormones in milk. In Fast Food Nation I learned that a lot of what comes down the pike to be let out at McDonald's, Jack in the Box and Burger King all comes from just about the same spot next to a highway in New Jersey or maybe from Dayton. Not long ago I learned that teflon, when heated to a certain temperature that its manufacturer says it will never reach in our kitchen, emits a poisonous gas. I can live with all of that because I'm an environmentally calloused postmodern denizen of Carbon Central (a.k.a. Los Angeles) and I can afford to toss out a frying pan. I can limit the amount of tuna I eat to something like an acceptable level. If I were a female who was pregnant, I could avoid it all together. I don't drink milk. I'm not much of a meat eater, at least not any more. And it's a rare day when I'd set foot inside a fast food establishment.
But up until yesterday, when I read the report of scientists at Consumer Reports, I was a believer in Progresso and Campbell's. What could possibly lurk inside the cans of these symbols of Americana that would threaten harm to me and my family?
CR scientists have recently discovered levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in a lot of places you just don't think of as dangerous: canned soup, tuna, juice and green beans. They've found the manmade preservative in the canned version of Similac Advance infant formula, in Campbell's and Progresso soup cans, and in canned Del Monte green beans. Why worry for even a second about a preservative? Because the CR scientists say they've found enough of the stuff in the cans of food they inspected that the levels are comparable to those used in animal studies which induced liver disorders, breast cancer and abnormal reproductive organ development.
I feel like Norman Rockwell learning that a family he just painted has been secretly playing the slots and importing heroin. When Campbell's and Progresso can no longer be trusted, you have to begin to wonder.
"Consumers eating just one serving of the canned vegetable soup we tested would get about double what theFDA now considers typical average dietary daily exposure," stated CR reporters.
My thought: Stick to fresh foods, wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly, and eat only low cholesterol, high protein items that you can boil. Then, pray that someday soon Washington wakes up and puts some muscle into the job of making our food and water supplies safe again.
For more on any of the above:
Tuna and mercury: http://toxics.usgs.gov/investigations/mercury.htmlHormones: http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2006/12.07/11-dairy.htmlFast Food Nation: http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/schlosser-fast.htmlAdditional Fast Food Nation: http://www.rense.com/general7/whyy.htmTeflon: http://www.apfn.org/apfn/teflon.htmBPA and Consumer Reports: http://www.consumerreports.org/health/healthy-living/health-safety/bpa/overview/bisphenol-a-ov.htm