How much product chemical testing is necessary?
“The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy.” (Paracelsus 1493 – 1554).
A Stanford research project has come to the conclusion that organic food has pretty much the same nutritional value as conventionally grown food. But before you go racing out to Safeway, take a look at the study.
This is not original research, it’s an analysis of existing research. Do we know how rigorous those original studies were? Do we know if they are actually comparable? No, we don’t. This kind of meta-research is often used when publish or perish is lurking in the wings. Much quicker to take a look at what’s already out there than to design a rigorous study that would actually provide some real results.
In my mind, the issue is not so much the nutritional value as the presence of pesticides. If organically grown food is even 30% lower in poisonous chemicals, isn’t that a pretty good reason to choose it? I think organic food tends to taste better, too.
Concern about living better through chemistry has been growing. There are some 800,000 commercially available chemicals out there with about 700 being added each year. Less than 4% of these chemicals are tested for safety. Every aspect of our lives has been permeated with chemicals. Dry cleaning, baby bottles, building products, personal care products (I especially worry about all the chemicals in shampoo that I apply to my brain every day). The list is endless because chemicals are everywhere.
In fact, the earth, and everything on it, is made up of chemicals. As Dr. Jef Lloyd says, “All chemicals are toxic but all life is chemistry.”
Without chemicals we would die, but with too much of any one of them we would also die. Water is a chemical, H2O, the essence of life. There are no studies to support drinking 8 cups of water per day but there is evidence that drinking too much water can kill you.
If you eat a pound of salt, seven pounds of sugar or 30 aspirin, you would probably die. However, our bodies need salt and glucose to function and aspirin is a great pain reliever. The key is the amount ingested or the dose.
So, if we are unable to separate our bodies from their composite chemicals, it’s probably a good idea to educate ourselves on what we should know so we can make reasonable choices about adding to the chemical soup we are made of.
Here’s what you need to pay attention to: LD50. A lethal dose (LD) is the amount of a substance (from peanut butter to arsenic) needed to kill half of a test population of lab animals, normally rats. The lower the number, the more toxic it is since just a little bit can kill the test group. A high number means that you have to ingest a lot to harm you. You can Google the LD50 of just about everything.
When a company claims its products are non-toxic, it’s not true. What they really mean is that it has low toxicity or that their product is less toxic than—what? Often manufacturers neglect to say what their product is being compared to so the claims are just hype.