Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Hidden Killers


The Hidden Killers

I try as best as I can to see that what ever gets on, or into my kids body and system is natural, free of preservatives and artificial/ synthetic product. Much to the chagrin of  my husband my microwave is just a show piece in the kitchen; our non-stick pans are stocked up high, unused, till the time I have convinced him enough to dump them down the garbage chute. Perhaps I am too hyper, but I would rather risk being called that than being instrumental in getting more pollutants (in a pollution saturated world) into the children's body. I may not be able to change the world but I can at-least brings changes where ever I can in my small way.
Most of us are aware of the hazards of storing hot food in plastic containers. As a healthier option, many of us chose to microwave our food in glass containers, over the approved plastic ones. I am a strong believer in all things natural, and eco-friendly. For me natural is synonymous to healthy. This affinity has grown stronger since the time I became a parent. Most recently, however I was appalled when we ordered food from a reputed joint. The hot soup was delivered to us in a low- grade plastic container. Some part of the container looked a little damaged and shriveled due to exposure to the heat. Ironically, the soup and the rest of the food items were had a second packaging, of a paper bag. The restaurant could have adopt an eco-friendly option yet the hot items like soup were packed in plastic containers.
Undoubtedly, there is lack of packaging options. Most often cheaper and convenient options become popular. However with education comes awareness and consequently empowerment. As consumer’s we have to become more demanding and persistent in our resolve for better and healthier options
 Though the environment ecological hazards of low- grade plastic containers, and bags are recognized, they have not been addressed urgently. These hidden killers erode us of our health and damage our eco-system. When plastic is exposed to very high temperature or excessive hard use, it leaches BPA (a chemical found in plastic) that seeps into the food items.  Various studies have established that this chemical causes cancerous growth in the body and can lead to reproductive defects.
 Government regulation will help ensure that there are better packaging alternative. Imposing a complete ban on plastic bags and container will facilitate a legal backing to embrace healthier alternatives. Most people find plastic bags and containers more convenient, durable and easy to handle. We have to understand that convenience should not be at the stake of our health. Many of us reuse plastic containers, which are actually meant for one time usage. Raising awareness about the dangers of plastic as well as its proper usage is the need of the hour.
Another hidden enemy sits quietly in our cookware. Non-stick cookware heralded a new revolution in the world of food preparation.  Cooking became less cumbersome, less oily and apparently healthier. However quite obliviously we end up eating a slow poison, Teflon, along with our so-called healthy food. Many tests have proven that Teflon causes various cancerous and fatal diseases in animals and birds. The EWG (environmental working group) has commissioned several tests that corroborate that Teflon “emits at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, two global pollutants, and MFA, a chemical lethal to humans at low doses.” The non-stick industry has long a long list about the proper use of Teflon coated cookware. However, it is easy for cookware to reach high temperatures while cooking and to sustain scratches. Hence, using Teflon cookware is like putting a gun in a child’s hand and providing him/her a safety manual. Let us be aware of not just what we eat and cook but also how and in what we prepare our food.

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