Living in another country helped me see the differences in product safety when I compared them to each other. I noticed in Germany, there weren’t so many plastics on every single product, I would have to buy a bag if I wanted one, and even the products themselves weren’t in heavy plastics. There were even grocery stores that featured zero waste where everything was in a sustainable container. Not only that, I noticed the differences in foods. The beef in the United States cannot be sold in Europe. This was crazy to me that in the States were happily eating and consuming products that would cause us harm. Regulations are certainly different across countries, so you have to be aware of the dangers of under-regulation and how that relates to the products you use.
Recently, I have found out from Consumersafety.org that three products I use almost daily were potentially unsafe and this made me really think about the dangers of under-regulation of product safety in the States and how that can affect my life.
Three Products That Highlight The Importance of Consumer Safety
Talc in Baby Powder- This might be a surprise given some news coverage lately, but talcum powder has been “linked to a higher risk of ovarian cancer & lung disease. ” Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $417 million to plaintiff, Eva Echerria after she developed ovarian cancer due to her prolonged use. I have since learned that the while the Federal Drug Administration does have rules for the product in food, cosmetic products remain largely unregulated. Talc products in cosmetics have been outlawed in the EU.
Arsenic in Wine- This one floored me because I do love a nice glass of wine. Fortunately, there seems to be a debate on whether or not this is true across the industry, however, a class action lawsuit was filed “against 83 popular wines, pursuant to his issue. Preliminary findings showed an inverse correlation between price per bottle and arsenic levels.” Again, the FDA does not regulate wine labeling, so it seems we won’t know until a case is won in court. (Source)
Teflon on Non-Stick Pans- I have noticed lately since I have been learning to cook more, that there seems to be a stress to use non-toxic cookware. This makes sense because I am sure the chemicals that may be harmful can be easily transferred to your food. According to ConsumerSafety.org there are “Increased risk of kidney and testicular cancers, as well as thyroid disease,” as well as a link between “miscarriage and fertility issues or birth defects” if you use pans coated with the chemicals used to make these products. The culprit seems to be a chemical called poly- and perflouroalkyl (PFAs) that are carcinogenic. You can find a study here that goes into detail about this issue.
It is important to read and research the products you put on your skin and use in your daily lives. My goals have been to make everything I can on my own using “whole” products and to thoroughly research the rest. We cannot rely on governmental agencies to legislate if large companies are willing to spend money to hide this information. For more information, please visit ConsumerSafety.org.