Chapter 8. Contamination of the Food Chain
The National Academy of Sciences recently estimated that 15% of the American people are presently afflicted with allergies to one or more chemical products. The study pointed out that we are exposed to more toxic chemicals while inside our homes than when we go out. The chemicals which are found in every home include benzene, which causes leukemia; the common moth spray and mothballs containing para-dichlorobenzene, whose use forms an invisibly but damaging gas in some thirty million American homes; lindane, a common pesticide; chlordane, used for termite control (chlordane has been much in the news lately because of some families who became deathly ill after their homes has been treated by professional termite exterminators; one couple had to move out and totally abandon their home, after inspectors informed them there was no way it could be sufficiently cleansed of the chlordane residues to be habitable). Chloroform compounds are much more common in homes than is popularly realized. The EPA has found that chloroform levels inside of homes was five times greater than outside. Persons taking hot shower baths inside a closed shower curtain are unaware that they are inhaling substantial amounts of chloroform from the steam. Heating the water releases the chlorine in the heavily chlorinated water, which then emerges as a gas while the hot water comes from the nozzle. A daily shower is guaranteed to give you a chloroform high. Formaldehyde is also present in many homes in a number of commonly used compounds.
The daily ingestion of minute portions of any or all of these household chemicals contributes to the development of cancers, as they are sufficiently toxic to become carcinogenic in daily contact. However, Dr. A. Samuel Epstein, a noted cancer authority from the University of Illinois, states that "Food is the single most important route of exposure for humans to synthetic chemicals." Jim Sibbinson estimated that the average American ingests some nine pounds of chemicals in foodstuffs each year, meaning chemicals so toxic that a fraction of an ounce can cause serious illness or death. These chemicals are put into our food chain as additives, preservatives, dyes, bleaches, emulsifiers, antioxidants, flavors, buffers, noxious sprays, acidifiers, alkalizers, deodorants, moisteners, anti-caking and anti-foaming agents, conditioners, curers, hydrolizers, hydrogenators, drying agents, gases, extenders, thickeners, sweeteners, maturers fortifiers, and other agents.
Most Americans are not aware that of the more than five thousand chemical additives in the foods which they eat every day, about one-third are known to be harmless, another third are described by the Food and Drug Administration as "gras," an acronym for "generally recognized as safe," and the other third, almost 2,000 chemicals, are being used in large amounts, even though they have never been adequately tested for possible harmful results. An effort was made to control the use of