The Truth about Tampons (and Pads)
*This article is in reference to non-organic products*
Disposable, single-use tampons and pads became available in much of the developed world in the first half of the 20th century. Today tampons are used by over 100 million women worldwide, while pads, which are much more widespread on a global scale due to a cultural aversion to tampons in many regions, comprise a multi-billion dollar industry. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB976238645760374015
The average woman uses an average of more than 11,000 tampons in her lifetime. It’s estimated that approximately 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators are filling (North American) landfills annually. These products require hundreds of years to biodegrade, particularly if wrapped in the plastic bag commonly provided for this purpose as part of their packaging. (In fact, every piece of plastic ever made, still exists to this day.) In addition to the environmental crisis these products produce, the actual process of manufacturing these products – turning wood pulp into soft, cotton-like fibers – is both resource- and chemical-intensive. http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/healthandscience/cumulative-exposure-and-feminine-care-products/ and http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/apr/27/disposable-tampons-arent-sustainable-but-do-women-want-to-talk-about-it
While the environmental issues are cause enough for concern, I am writing to share something far scarier about these products.
The purpose of feminine care products is to clean, moisturize, absorb discharge or otherwise treat the sensitive skin and tissues of the vaginal area. The vagina (vulva and labia, too) is comprised of soft tissue that is incredibly absorbent. Inserting a standard tampon or placing a pad against this area is the equivalent of inviting toxic chemicals into your most delicate and absorbent areas.
Tampons and pads are sold under the cosmetic product label, and are therefore tested and determined to be “safe” if used on ordinary skin. (Which is a joke in itself, as the chemicals found within them have been proven that they should be nowhere near our skin or bodies.) This means chemicals of concern such as carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, and allergens are being used on, or even in, the extremely permeable mucus membranes of the vaginal area. (Yes, these chemicals are all approved for use in our cosmetics too.)
Tampons and pads are made of cotton, right? They are actually made of cotton and rayon:
- Rayon is not a natural substance and is classified as a synthetic fiber due to the chemical process used to create it.
- A few of the toxic chemicals used in the process of manufacturing rayon include carbon hydroxide, sulfuric acid, and carbon disulfide.
- Rayon absorbent fibers added to the tampon can stick to your vaginal wall (causing irritation) and some loose fibers may even be left behind when you remove the tampon potentially raising your risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
- About 90% of the cotton grown in the U.S. is genetically modified (GMO) according to the USDA. http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us/recent-trends-in-ge-adoption.aspx
- Conventional cotton (non-organic) is considered by many to be the world’s “dirtiest” crop. It is one of the highest sprayed (if not the highest) crops in the U.S.
- 5 of the top 9 pesticides used on cotton in the U.S. are classified by the EPA as a Category 1 & 2, which are the most dangerous. These pesticides have also been linked to cancer.
- A recent discovery by a university has discovered that feminine hygiene products contain a chemical (glyphosate) found in Monsanto’s famous “Roundup” herbicide. This chemical has been classified as “probably carcinogenic.”
According to Revolution News:
“Glyphosate was found in 85% of the products containing cotton bought in pharmacies and supermarkets including feminine care products like tampons and sanitary pads, sterile gauze pads, cotton swabs and wipes.”
February (2016),The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it will begin testing food for glyphosate, the world’s most commonly used pesticide. This marks the first time that a U.S. agency will routinely test for glyphosate residue in food. It comes after the Government Accountability Office released a report condemning the FDA for failing even to disclose its failure to test for glyphosate in its annual pesticide residue report.
Did You Know?
Tampons and pads are bleached with chlorine. The bleaching process creates a by-product called dioxin, which has been labeled as a toxic carcinogen by the World Health Organization. (Learn more about the dangers of this toxic chemical here: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/)
Bleaching exposes women to low levels of dioxins every time they use these feminine hygiene products. Not to mention, these toxins get stored in fat cells over time making it more difficult to maintain a healthy body throughout life.
* products labeled as ‘chlorine-free bleaching’ may still use methods containing chlorine dioxide.
Aside from pesticides, traces of dioxin, and GMOs, if you’re using scented tampons, be aware that such products may contain any of the nearly 3,000 fragrance chemicals in use. But, like the above mentioned chemicals, they probably won’t be listed on the label. An analysis by Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), which acquired public patent documents held by Proctor & Gamble (the maker of Tampax and Always), showed the following chemicals may also be in your tampons. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/04/21/boycott-gmos-roundup.aspx
Chemical Name Function Potential Health Effects Found in Benzethonium Chloride Preservative, spermicide Not for use on mucous membranes, maternal and embryotoxicity Deodorant powders and suppositories, feminine wash Benzocaine Mild anesthetic Allergic rash, dermatitis Anti-itch creams Butylparaben Preservative Endocrine disruption, increased risk of breast cancer, allergic rash Wipes D&C Red 33 Colorant (dye) Not for use on mucous membranes Feminine wash Diazolidinyl urea Preservative Releases formaldehyde, allergic rash, cancer Feminine wash, douche Dioxins and Furans Contaminant from bleaching process Cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity Tampons (not disclosed on label) DMDM Hydantoin Preservative Releases formaldehyde, allergic rash, cancer Wipes, feminine wash Ethylparaben Preservative Endocrine disruption, increased risk of breast cancer, allergic rash Wipes Ext. Violet 2 Colorant (dye) Not for use on mucous membranes Feminine Wash FD&C Yellow No. 5 Colorant (dye) Allergic reactions including bronchial asthma Feminine Wash “Fragrance” Fragrance Contains undisclosed chemicals of unknown toxicity, likely to contain allergens, allergic rash, endocrine disruption, cancer Wipes, feminine wash, tampons, pads, douche, deodorant, anti-itch creams Methylchloroisothiazolinone Preservative Allergic rash Feminine wash Methylisothiazolinone Preservative Allergic rash Wipes, feminine wash, anti-itch cream Methylparaben Preservative Endocrine disruption, increased risk of breast cancer, allergic rash Wipes, deodorant, anti-itch creams Octoxynol 9 Spermicide Genital irritation, increased vaginal discharge, potential reproductive toxicity Douche Pesticide residues Contaminant of traditionally grown cotton Cancer, endocrine disruption, acute toxicity Tampons (not disclosed on label) Polyoxymethylene Urea Preservative Releases formaldehyde, allergic rash, cancer Deodorant powder Propylparaben Preservative Endocrine disruption, increased risk of breast cancer, allergic rash Wipes, anti-itch creams Quaternium-15 Preservative Releases formaldehyde, allergic rash, cancer Wipes, feminine wash 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1, 3-Diol Preservative Releases formaldehyde, allergic rash, cancer Wipes
Tampons and Pads have also been linked to the following:
- Imbalances pH of the vagina- Normal pH is essential for maintaining good vaginal health. When the pH is imbalanced a woman is at risk for vaginal issues such as infections, pain and discomfort.
- Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)- which is not as rare as we are made to believe. TSS can include causing endometriosis, abnormal pap smears, genital warts, etc. TSS is caused by a bacterial toxin that can also result in high fever, confusion, a rash similar to a sunburn, low blood pressure and can be fatal.
- Interfering with the menstrual flow- Tampons disrupt the natural downward flow of energy during menstruation which causes excess cramping and abdominal discomfort.
- Depleting natural fluids causing dryness and irritation- In addition to absorbing blood tampons also absorb the natural vaginal fluids which causes the vaginal walls to become dry and damaged.
- Containing mold – http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/06/tampons-feminine-care.aspx
- Organic Tampons
- Organic Pads
- Reusable Fabric Pads
- Menstrual Cup
Pads and tampons are one of the most convenient inventions for feminine hygiene products in modern times; however, now more than ever it’s crucial for us to know what we’re putting into our body. Knowledge is power.
Poor gut health affects much more than the picture displays. Your digestive health affects every physiological system in your body. The digestive system is the second largest part of the neurological system. Called the enteric nervous system, it is located in the gut. This is why the gut is known as the second brain. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19149514/
80% of the immune system is located in the digestive track.
“According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), upward of 60 to 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases.” Inflammation is believed to be the root cause of most diseases. Guess where inflammation typically begins? The gut. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11157355 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17024003
What researchers believe is that an overactive immune system results in the body being flooded with defense cells and hormones that damage tissues. Dietary and environmental toxins may build up in the body, turning the immune system on and keeping it highly reactive. As these toxins build, they throw the balance of good to bad bacteria off, causing the gut to become inflamed.
The gut contains both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Digestive experts agree that the balance of gut flora should be approximately 85 percent good bacteria and 15 percent bad bacteria. If this ratio gets out of balance, the condition is known as dysbiosis, which means there is an imbalance of too much of a certain type of fungus, yeast or bacteria that is affecting the body in a negative way. By consuming certain types of probiotic foods and supplements you can help bring these ratios back into balance and eliminate the inflammation. http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2012/4/overlooked-role-probiotics-human-health/page-01
Some common warning signs of a bacteria imbalance: http://www.steadyhealth.com/topics/signs-of-bacterial-imbalance
• Bad breath, gum disease & dental problems
• Sleeping poorly, possible night sweats
• Frequent colds, flu or infections
• Faulty digestion, acid reflux and other gut disorders
• Chronic yeast problems, candida
• Frequent constipation or diarrhea
• Acne, eczema, skin & foot fungus
• Frequent fatigue, poor concentration
• Extreme menstrual or menopausal symptoms
• Difficulty losing weight, sugar/carbohydrate cravings
• Allergies and food sensitivities
• Painful joint inflammations/stiffness
Two additional signs that your gut flora may be adversely impacted are depression and lowered immunity. Both of these are actually common-sense side effects of poor gut health, but they’re usually completely overlooked. Most people, including many physicians, do not link the immune system to the gut, when they should be making a healthy gut a major focal point if they want to help the root issues.
The gut originates from the same type of tissue as the brain. During fetal development, one part turns into the central nervous system, while the other develops into the enteric nervous system. These two systems are connected via the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen. Hence the gut and your brain work in tandem, each are influencing the other. And this is why your intestinal health can have such a profound influence on your mental health, and vice versa. This also helps explain the link between neurological disorders (including ADHD and autism) and gastrointestinal dysfunction. For example, gluten intolerance is frequently a feature of autism, and many autistic children will improve when following a strict gluten-free diet. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/05/microbes-manipulate-your-mind.aspx
Foods that promote inflammation are:
• Corn and Soybean oils
• Pasteurized dairy
• Refined carbohydrates
• Conventional meat
• Trans fats
The secret to restoring your digestive health is all about balancing out the good and bad bacteria in your gut. If you are going to be healthy you MUST consider consuming probiotic rich foods and supplements daily.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are beneficial forms of gut bacteria that help stimulate the natural digestive juices and enzymes that keep our digestive organs functioning properly. They are found in many foods and can be taken in supplement form. (Review our guide to choosing a quality supplement because they are not created equal.)
How do you benefit from probiotics?
The website Green Med Info has assembled an amazing list of more than 200 studies, which together explore more than 170 diseases which can be helped or treated with probiotics. https://www.healthambition.com/probiotics/
Digestive Health: http://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics We have more than 1,000 types of bacteria that live in our digestive tracks. They help us break down food and absorb nutrients. Environmental and chemical toxins can throw off the bacterial balance of the gut. For example, when antibiotics are introduced, the drugs can kill-off the good bacteria, the healthy intestinal flora that helps us digest, as well as the bad. Probiotic intake should increase if antibiotics are being taken. The probiotics can keep the bacteria balanced throughout the antibiotic treatment so the body does not experience extreme side effects. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22071814
Probiotics can help with many, if not all types of digestive issues. Research has shown that probiotics can be helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Probiotics can help with overall digestive health, even if you are not suffering from any urgent problems.
Urinary Health: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics
Probiotics taken regularly can help prevent bad bacteria from invading the urinary tract by maintaining a population of healthy bacteria on the tract’s adherence sites. Infections in this area of the body are extremely common, especially in women, and taking probiotics daily can help prevent reoccurring infections.
One of the most important characteristics of probiotics is their safety for human health. Thanks to their ability to adhere to intestinal epithelial cells and to modulate and stabilize the composition of gut microflora, probiotics bacteria may play an important role in the regulation of intestinal and systemic immunity. They actually seem capable of restoring the intestinal microbic equilibrium and modulating the activation of immune cells.
Several studies have been recently conducted on the role of probiotics in preventing and/or treating allergic disorders.
Probiotics have also been shown to reduce childhood eczema (a sign of allergies) when mothers take them while pregnant. Researchers found that pregnant women with a history of seasonal allergies who took probiotics throughout their pregnancies passed on a 50% higher level of tissue inflammation in utero, which is believed to trigger the immune system and reduce allergy incidence.
Women’s Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26052924
Just like the digestive tract, the vagina relies on a balance of good and bad bacteria. When the balance is off, it can result in bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Studies have found that probiotics can help prevent infection, manage an already active one, or support antibiotics as a treatment. Utilizing the probiotics as a vaginal suppository rather than orally may be even more helpful if there is a current problem.Probiotics have an important role in maternal health, as pregnant women are susceptible to vaginal infections.
As you have read, in detail, the gut holds 80% of our immune system. By eating probiotic-rich foods and maintaining good intestinal flora, you can maintain a healthy immune system.
A study revealed that obese people have different gut bacteria than those maintaining a healthy weight. This shows that gut flora plays a role in obesity.
There are several strains of probiotics, and each one is being shown to affect the body in different ways. Some of these strains include: http://probiotics.org/strains/
- Bifidobacterium bifidum — The most dominant probiotic in infants and in the large intestine. Supports production of vitamins in gut, inhibits harmful bacteria, supports immune system response and prevent diarrhea.
- Bifidobacterium longum — Supports liver function, reduces inflammation, removes lead and heavy metals.
- Bifidobacterium breve — Helps colonize healthy gut community and crowd out bad bacteria.
- Bifidobacterium infantis — Alleviates IBS symptoms, diarrhea and constipation.
- Lactobacillus casei — Supports immunity, inhibits h. pylori and helps fight infections.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus — Relieves gas, bloating, improves lactose intolerance.
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus — A powerful probiotic strain that has been shown to fight harmful bacteria that invades your digestive system and is stable enough to withstand the acidic digestive juices of the stomach. It also neutralizes toxins and naturally produces its own antibiotics.
- Lactobacillus brevis — Shown to survive the GI tract, boost cellular immunity, enhanced natural T-killer cells and kill h. pylori bacteria.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus — Supports bacterial balance and supports healthy skin. Helps fight urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, and reduce anxiety by reducing stress hormones and GABA neurotransmitter receptors.
- Bacillus subtilis — An endospore probiotic that is heat-resistant. Elicits a potent immune response and supports GALT. Suppresses growth of bad bacteria like salmonella and other pathogens.
- Bacillus coagulans — An endospore probiotic that is heat-resistant and improves nutrient absorption. Also has been shown to reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis.
- Saccharomyces boulardii — A yeast probiotic strain that restores natural flora in the large and small intestine and improves intestinal cell growth. It has proved effective in treating inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease. It’s also been shown to have anti-toxin effects, be antimicrobial, and reduce inflammation.
Taking probiotics is extremely beneficial, but making sure that you don’t prevent them from working is also important. Be sure to eliminate the following, or increase your probiotic intake if any of the following is necessary: http://www.shanti.com.au/body/probiotics.htm
• Prescription Antibiotics
• Tap Water
• GMO Foods
• Emotional Stress
• Chemicals and medications
• Birth Control/Steroids/Hormonal Drugs
• Chlorine (Use a good filter for your drinking water)
• Coffee (I know. I know. Just add a little extra probiotics if you are a coffee drinker.)
• Carbonated Beverages
• Ascorbic Acid (In low-quality supplements, bottled drinks and juices.)
• Radiation (chemotherapy, x-rays, microwaves)
• Additives/Preservatives (Avoid processed foods)
In order to improve your gut flora balance, make sure to avoid these probiotic killers the best that you can. We are exposed to many of these foods, toxins and stressors on a daily basis, and if you’re going to restore your digestive health, they must be addressed. If they’re not addressed, your gut micro-organisms become imbalanced and your system can become a breeding ground for bad bacteria, yeast, viruses, fungi and parasites.
How Halloween Candy Affects Kids
It’s time to purchase ALL.THE.CANDY. I mean, it’s for the trick-or-treaters, right? Of course it is.
Whether your children dress in costumes and fill buckets with candy or you choose not to celebrate the holiday, inevitably, the candy somehow still ends up in your home. Before you allow your children “a few harmless pieces,” take the time to learn the consequences of your actions. I am not totally ruining candy for you. There are plenty of great premade, purchasable candies out there, and a plethora of healthier homemade recipes to meet every candy craving.
From Kit Kats and Reeses to Candy Corn and Candy Bars, I took the top purchased candies and broke down their ingredient lists. This is what I found. The most common ingredients are:
High Fructose Corn Syrup: Also labeled as corn syrup, maize syrup, glucose syrup, fructose syrup, tapioca syrup, dahlia syrup, fruit syrup, and crystalline fructose. Corn syrup is derived from genetically modified corn. It “is heavily processed, using enzymes to turn cornstarch into glucose and then fructose.” Even though glucose and fructose occur in nature, HFCS does not occur in nature. Cornstarch is converted to glucose, some of which is then converted to fructose. If a substance’s molecular structure has been changed in a factory, it can’t be considered natural.
A few documented reasons to stay away from HFCS include its links to obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, high cholesterol and increased risk of heart attack and heart disease. Additionally, regular consumption of corn syrup may lead to anemia, weakened immune system, fatigue, mood swing and suppressed metabolism. Particularly sensitive individuals may also experience light-headedness or headaches and bowel issues. (A safe, healthy option: look for honey as an ingredient. It is also known that consuming raw milk combates the side effects of HFCS. http://www.earthclinic.com/cures/corn-syrup-side-effects.html ) http://www.thebetterhealthstore.com/Newsletter/100110_High-Fructose_04.html
Natural or Artificial Flavors: “natural flavor” is the fourth most common ingredient listed on labels – not just in your candy. This is a BIG umbrella folks. Companies can label absolutely any ingredient, whether it is synthetic, chemical, etc as a “flavor” as long as it is generally regarded as safe by the FDA. The most common ingredients labeled as “Flavors” are as follows, and you may see some of these listed on their own on a label, but if you don’t, do not be surprised if they are in the product. http://www.livescience.com/ http://www.foodadditivesworld.com/
- MSG: Monosodium-glutamate is a brain neurotoxin. It is a slow poison. Known as flavor-enhancer 621, MSG is now labeled as a “Natural flavor.” Children are more vulnerable to MSG dangers than adults. In fact, MSG and other flavor enhancers are not permitted in foods produced specifically for infants and young children who are 12 months old or less. MSG can cause or exacerbate brain lesions, neuroendocrine disorders, learning disabilities, adverse reactions, neurodegenerative disease and more. The short of it: MSG kills brain cells. http://www.truthinlabeling.org/
- Aluminum Silicate
Insoluble and used as a refractory in glassmaking. It is used as coagulation in food.
- Amino Acid Compounds
- Amyl Acetate
A pear and banana oil. Many artificial flavors are made using amyl acetate. It may cause nervous system depression, indigestion, chest pain, headaches, fatigue, and irritate the mucus membranes.
- Amyl Alcohol
Closely related to Amyl Acetate and also known to be toxic.
- Annatto bixine (yellow orange): My sensitive child reacts to this! It is also called roucou, and is a natural plant extract used to dye an assortment of foods, textiles, and body care products. Primarily, it is used as red / orange in a wide assortment of foods. The food additive number for it is E160b, allowing consumers to identify it on a label even when it is not listed by name. Some children react to this just as they do other food colorings.
- Benzoates (including sodium benzoate)
Can trigger allergies such as skin rashes and asthma, and are believed to be linked brain damage.
Almond flavor, and when derived from nature, traces of hydrogen cyanide – a deadly poison – can be found in it. When made by mixing oil of clove and amyl acetate, no cyanide is produced. Nonetheless, both natural and artificial benzaldehyde can cause central nervous system depression and convulsions.
- Benzyl Acetate
Also related to Amyl Acetate and may cause gastrointestinal, bronchial, skin, and eye irritation.
Artificial flavoring that may cause gastrointestinal irritation, seizures, confusion, and dizziness.
Destroy the nutrients in the foods. It can give rise to nausea and diarrhea.
- Butryic Acid
Caused cancer in lab test with animals.
- Butyl Acetate
Related to Butryic Acid can be toxic in high quantities.
Responsible for high blood cholesterol levels as well as impaired liver and kidney function. Ex) Butylated Hydrozyttoluene (BHT), Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
Colorant and flavorant that has diuretic, stimulant properties. It can cause nervousness, heart palpitations and occasionally heart defects.
- Canthaxanthin: Other names – Canthaxanthine, Carophyll Red, CI Food Orange 8, Colour Index No. 40850, E161, Roxanthin Red 10.
Very common flavoring and coloring agent that can cause vitamin B6 deficiencies. It can cause certain genetic defects and even cancer.
Artificial flavoring that can lead to respiratory and circulatory depression as well as cardiac failure.
- Cinnamyl Formate
Also simply known as formic acid, (artificial cinnamon – it may simply say “cinnamon flavor” in the label) has caused cancer in mice and may affect our kidneys.
- Erythrosine (red)
See Red Dye below.
- Red Dye 40
Red dye is known to cause attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Also suspected to cause certain birth defects and possibly cancer.
- Mono and di-glycerides
Can cause birth defects, genetic changes and cancer.
- Potassium Bromate: banned from China, European Union, Canada, Brazil and elsewhere because it causes cancer in rats and mice.
- Potassium Sorbate: A synthetic preservative linked to allergies, nausea, eye irriation, and diarrhea
Causes toxic reactions and allergic response, affecting skin, gastrointestinal tract and heart. It may also cause tumors and bladder cancer.
- Sodium Benzoate
Also known as E211. Sodium benzonate is a common preservative. The FDA classifies it as safe. However, sodium benzoate forms a chemical known as benzene when in the presence of vitamin C.Also heat converts sodium benzoate to benzene. Fruit jellies, jams, and fruit juices which are made with high vitamin C fruits with heat applied in the manufacturing process can be particularly dangerous due to the conversion to benzene from sodium benzoate. Benzene damage DNA and seems to play a role in a variety of diseases due to DNA damaging capabilities. It’s also a known carcinogen.Some studies have shown that sodium benzoate in processed food along with artificial food colorings can cause children with ADHD to be more hyperactive.
- Sodium Chloride
Can lead to high blood pressure, kidney failure, stroke and heart attack.
- Sodium Nitrite
Can be carcinogenic and have other adverse effects on health.
- Salt (common table salt is refined salt)
Refined salt has depleted mineral and higher concentration of sodium then unrefined sundried sea salt.
- Sugar (common white sugar is refined sugar)
Most commonly used additive.
- Tartrazine (Azoic yellow): on ingredient labels as FD&C yellow 5, E102 or C.I. 19140. It is an artificial coloring that is used to make foods and other products more visually appealing or appetizing. It is also used in the printing, textile and paper-manufacturing industries as pH indicators or biological stains. Tartrazine is tied to anxiety, migraines, asthma attacks, blurred vision, eczema, other skin rashes, thyroid cancer, Eosinophilia (increase in specific forms of white blood cells), clinical depression, ADHD or hyperactivity, hives, permanent DNA damage, heart palpitations, rhinitis, sleep disturbances/insomnia, general all-over weakness, hot flushes and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). In severe cases, anaphylactic-like reactions. When fed to chickens it makes their egg yolks yellower – because, in our society, that is so important. (Sarcasm.) Tartrazine interferes with the metabolism of Vitamin B6 in the body.
(A great substitute: Tumeric!)
Artificial vanilla, can cause allergic reactions. It can limit the liver enzyme dopamine sulphotransferase by 50%. Its sources are the waste product of paper mills and petroleum.
Artificial Colors: (See above for specifics)
Emulsifiers: linked to irritable bowel syndrome, disruption of the gut, and obesity.
Nitrites (and nitrates): Synthetic and highly toxic. In fact, these ingredients have been highly linked with a number of deadly cancers.
Trans Fat: Trans fat is also synonymous with the common ingredient “hydrogenated oil.”
Hydrogenated palm kernel oil: Besides being linked to deforestation through the plantations creating this oil, palm oil was found to impair the digestive systems of mice during studies. http://humanfoodproject.com/
Soy Lechithin: Derived from genetically modified soy, lechithin is linked to increase risk of breast cancer, infertility, and impeded brain development in children.
Preservatives: There is no shortage to the amount or types of chemicals put in our food today, and one of the top things added to our food are preservatives. These chemical ingredients, such as TBHQ and/or BHT and BHA are man-made chemicals that do preserve food for longer, but at a great expense to our health. Preservatives have been linked with a number of problems such as allergies and sensitivities, digestion problems, mental problems such as ADHD and depression, as well as cancer.
TBHQ: The most common food preservative. Tertiary Butylhydroquinone is a petroleum-derived form of butane. It is commonly found in lighter fluid (Oh and Butterfingers… and other of your Halloween goodies.) 5 grams of TBHQ is lethal and the FDA ruled that quantities larger than 0.02% could not be used. (RUN AWAY FROM THIS!)
Alternative Sweeteners: For those who are diabetic or otherwise trying to cut down on their sugar intake, food manufacturers have created “sugar free” options that have no sugar. Instead of using sugar, they have replaced it with a non-nutritive, synthetic sweetener. These sugar replacements, such as aspartame, splenda, sucralose, and/or Ace-K act similarly to flavor enhancers in the body, in that they stimulate cells and cause cellular death. These artificial sweeteners wreak havoc in the body and can actually still lead to weight gain and cravings.
Shellac: The shiny coating on your candy labeled “confectioner’s glaze.”
Castoreum: An extract from beaver perineal glands and beaver urine typically considered a “natural flavoring.” You’ll find this in anything berry or vanilla flavored.
Gelatin: a thickening agent made from the protein collagen, which is extracted from animal skin and bones. You will find this in your gummies.
We need to shift our focus from specific harmful ingredients to the food itself: where is this food coming from, how is it being processed, and most importantly, is it even food?
The good news: There are companies providing high-quality candy. My personal favorite place to shop:
(I am not affiliated with the above site, I just have a child with gut issues, speech delay, sensory processing disorder, food allergies, and food sensitivities.)
Just for a chuckle: This is how we feel on Halloween