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Are you concerned about your kids' exposure to toxins?

Posted by on Nov. 19, 2012 at 3:26 PM
  • 6 Replies

6 Ways to Limit Your Child's Exposure to Cancer-Causing Toxins in Food

Posted by Adriana Velez

potato chipYou know how people keep saying our food is loaded with cancer-causing toxins? It's because our food is loaded with cancer-causing toxins. And the eaters we should be most worried about are young children. A new study by UC Davis and UCLA looked at how children are exposed to toxins through their food.

The study looked at the diets of 364 children in California and estimated how high their risk for exposure to toxins is based on what they ate. The findings weren't good. All of the children were found to be at high risk for exposure to toxic compounds including arsenic, dieldrin, DDE (related to DDT), dioxins, and acrylamide -- which are linked to cancer, developmental disabilities, and birth defects.

Preschool children (ages 2-4) are especially at risk because early exposure to toxins can have long-term effects on their health, especially on their developing brains and their chances of getting cancer.

So this is pretty depressing. Toxins, toxins everywhere! It really is as bad as they say it is. I think a lot of us keep this vague idea of toxins in our food in the backs of our minds. Like, somewhere in the closet, buried under stuff like "paying the bills" and "keeping the 2-year-old from running out into the street." Not to mention -- I think we all want to believe that no responsible company would knowingly pump dangerous chemicals into the earth or our food. Right? RIGHT?!?

Ha ha ha, of course they would. They do it all that time. Chemical lobbyists (aka the "Cancer Lobby) are fighting every day to maintain our toxic way of life. What's a parent to do? Well, the researchers knew you'd be asking that question, so their study included suggestions for reducing your kids' risk for exposure.

1. Eat organic or minimally-treated foods. Check out the "dirty dozen" -- the 14 foods you'll most benefit from eating organic.

2. Eat a wide variety of foods. "Varying our diet and our children's diet could help reduce exposure," says the study's lead researcher Irva Hertz-Picciotto. "Because different foods are treated differently at the source, dietary variation can help protect us from accumulating too much of any one toxin."

3. Eat less meat and animal fats and switch to organic milk to reduce your exposure to DDE. Toxins love to hide in animal fats.

4. Eat smaller fish lower down in the food chain to reduce your exposure to metals like mercury. These "safer" fish include: mackerel, catfish, tilapia, sardines, flounder, hake, salmon, oysters.

5. Eat fewer processed foods like potato and tortilla chips, which are high in a cooking byproduct called acrilomide.

6. Get the bigger picture! We need to get companies to reduce their use of the most toxic chemicals. It's one of the keys to making organic (or less-toxic) food less expensive -- but it's also much harder than making a personal choice in the supermarket. A final thing you can do to help reduce the risk for all children is to tell Congress to listen to families instead of chemical companies and pass the Safe Chemicals Act.

Are you concerned about your kids' exposure to toxins?

Image via mollypop/Flickr

by on Nov. 19, 2012 at 3:26 PM
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by on Nov. 19, 2012 at 8:30 PM
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If you've read any of Michael Pollan's books, he makes a pretty good case for the fact that "organic" doesn't necessarily mean safer.

I have not yet bought into the current hype of the organic craze.

I think by avoiding most processed foods, and eating fresh as much as possible, I'm doing a pretty good job.

Then, I also consider how much processed crap I lived on as a kid. I mean, my generation lived on quick food from a can or box, and I currently consider myself pretty healthy!

So I tend not to freak out.

Claire Wait

My blog:

by on Nov. 19, 2012 at 8:34 PM
Yes and no. My daughter does not eat much processed foods and we greatly limited her sugar. Does she eat organic? No. The only organic food she eats comes from our garden.
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by on Nov. 19, 2012 at 9:47 PM

I do worry about it because I look around at the people I know... and I know toxins can effect fertility.  Out of my group of friends with kids (more than half of us... that I know of) had difficulties getting pregnant and had to go through fertility treatments.  Could be a coincidence... but... might not be.  And I know processed foods (whether toxic or not) are sooo unhealthy for us and are causing us to be larger and larger. 

I do try and give my kids organic when I can.  I usually get my fruits and veggies from our local organic store and I try to not give them processed foods.  They do get some, but overall, I think we eat pretty healthy.  I guess the way I see it... maybe eating organic isn't going to make that much of a difference, but it's my job as a mom to give my kids the best I can to help them be as healthy as they can be.  So... if there's even a chance that organic IS better for them... I'm going to do it.  

Also... we have to eat SOMETHING!!  LOL  If non organic isn't good for you and organic isn't any better... what are we supposed to do?  We don't all have space to grow all our own food and have our own cows/chickens that we KNOW are not tainted with bad things.  :/

by on Nov. 19, 2012 at 11:52 PM

Wow, I must say that with our food allergies, we end up eating all natural or organic anyhow :).  My son doesn't even like regular milk, he only likes organic.  I guess for us, its better in the end :)

by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 6:58 AM

We are worried.

That is why we buy as much organic and natural stuff as possible. Also we keep cleaning products out of the home and go with the more natural stuff: baking soda, vinegar, lemon.

by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 8:14 AM

I do, but only to an extent.  

I avoid alot of food for my kids, but I cant force them to live in a bubble either.  Toxins are everywhere, food, environment, etc.  I do what I can do.  

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