The chemical brothers and the cycle of life

What did you have for breakfast today? A slice of lead with some copper jam perhaps? And maybe a nickel fluoride smoothie to wash it all down with? We wish we were joking, but chances are that’s exactly what you had for breakfast today. Not necessarily those very chemicals but without a doubt, some chemical cocktail involving lead, copper, nickel, mercury, fluorides, aluminium, and a whole lot of others most likely did pass through your digestive system today, whether hidden in your daily bread, disguised in your milk or couched in your fruit.

Most food we consume nowadays is contaminated in some way or another. We’re not talking only about processed foods about which much has already been written. Even whole fruit and vegetables and milk and drinking water aren’t free of contamination. These contaminants enter our food either during production or processing or due to environmental factors.

Chemicals in agricultural pesticides not only directly contaminate the fruit and vegetables we eat, but even farm animals consume these contaminants, affecting the milk they produce. And no, pasteurisation does nothing to remove these chemicals from milk before it reaches our homes. Runoff from pesticides and other industrial waste leeches into our groundwater and water bodies, eventually entering our oceans and contaminating all manner of aquatic life in the process, including fish we eat and the food they consume.

These are no ordinary contaminants either. The vast plethora of chemicals mixing with our food across various stages of food production include aluminium, arsenic, trihalomethanes, dichloroacetic acid, fluoride, lead, nitrates, 2, 4-D, malathion, diazinon, fenpropimorph, sulfates including gypsum, anhydrite, barite, and celestine, cadmium, PCBs, and many more. If this were a Stan Lee comic book, eating and drinking all these chemicals would probably turn you into a superhero, flying all over the world to save our planet. In real life, however, sustained exposure to these chemicals has been proven responsible for a whole range of illnesses from mild to fatal. Various topical and occupational cancers, Alzheimer’s, reproductive, cardiovascular, immunological, and neurological diseases, kidney diseases, stomach, bladder, brain, colon disorders, lifestyle illnesses like diabetes and thyroid disorders, diarrhoea are all proven effects of chemical contamination. So yeah, if you planned to eat THAT apple so you could fly across the planet faster than the speed of light, you might need a rethink.

Our bodies and minds are not the only things affected by these chemicals. Our planet is affected by them too. In fact, our very existence is threatened by chemical contamination. Chemicals that run off from food waste also leech into groundwater and even the soil, leaving progressively less nutrition in the soil for vegetation to flourish. With solid waste management across the world in the current deplorable state it is in, all these chemicals from our food inevitably find their way back into the ecosystem. They pollute the air, land and water, driving global temperatures up, reshaping climatic and geographic patterns, increasing economic disparities around the world and making sustained life as difficult as it can get for humans and all other living creatures.

There are ways to minimise our exposure to these chemicals. Buy organic produce. Be extremely diligent when it comes to the ingredient labels in store-bought food. Make sure your milk is procured from a reliable source. Maybe switch to plant milk. Ensure your drinking water is boiled and always filtered and avoid plastic bottles. Definitely don’t buy bottled water of any kind. Avoid pre-packaged foods and juices and drinks. Most of all, avoid processed foods of all kinds. Not only are processed foods loaded with chemicals, they actually aren’t even the food you buy. That carton of orange juice, for example, is actually a flavour pack. No, seriously!

Even if you are intentionally mindful of what you put into your body, you’re still at risk for exposure to chemical contamination in your food, your water and even the air in your homes. How? From the cleaning products you use at home including bath soaps, dishwashing soaps, laundry detergents, floor cleaners, toilet cleaners, various polishes typical to most houses. Some houses even use bleach. Oh and, air fresheners. We buy all of these products to clean our dishes and our floors and our toilets and our bodies and to leave every place smelling oh so fresh. And they are excellent at not doing that. Chemical-based cleaners actually disinfect, not clean, and in the process, kill off all the microbes that are actually good for us. They release chemicals into our homes, which are harmful to us and our homes. They pollute the indoor air in our homes while also getting on our clothes and dishes and floors and infecting every surface, leaving us vulnerable to all those illnesses we talked about earlier.

When we are done cleaning our homes and dishes and toilets with these chemical cleaners, they are flushed down our drains, finding their way into groundwater and water bodies and proceeding to contaminate those too. And that polluted water then enters our food stream again. Because fish drink that water and we eat the fish. Or because that contaminated water enters our drinking water reservoirs. Or because it leeches chemicals into the soil where farmers grow our food. And the cycle will continue perpetuating itself till eventually life as we know it ceases to exist.

Just being conscious of where you get your food from and growing and eating organic and avoiding plastic of all kinds is not enough for a healthy you or a sustainable earth. You also need to eliminate harmful chemicals from the cleaning products you use at home. And you can begin making the switch today with our ThinkSafe range of cleaning products. Made from natural organic ingredients with no harmful chemicals, we formulated ThinkSafe keeping you and our planet front and centre. After all, cleaning the planet can only happen when our homes are clean too. This month, to celebrate World Environment Day, we’re even giving a discount if you buy ThinkSafe Toilet Cleaner and ThinkSafe Floor Cleaner on Flipkart.

Post by Natasha Kamat