The modern “American Way” has become a culture of convenience. Its mythology goes something like this: the marvels of technology allow us to engineer elegant solutions to nearly any conceivable problem, so that more people can enjoy a greater standard of living.
It’s quickly becoming apparent, though, that this system is deeply flawed. Convenience all too often comes at great detriment to the health of our bodies and the planet—and to add insult to injury, all our luxuries don’t even make us happier. Some studies even suggest that our climate-controlled, ultra-convenient lifestyle actually contributes to depression, mood disorders, and other neurological imbalances.
And in the meantime, our bodies are poisoned by the chemical monstrosities used to create our society’s convenient gadgets, gizmos, and foods. In past articles, we’ve touched on some of the industrial toxins found in cleaning products, hygiene products, and even furniture. Another prevalent example is non-stick cookware.
Are you still using Teflon pans?
Non-stick cookware has proven itself a hard habit of convenience to kick, even in more health-conscious circles—because, well…it just makes things so much easier. DuPont’s 50-year-old chemical creation is very good at what it does, but it’s also incredibly toxic.
Teflon contains a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, also known as C8). Since first rolling it off their laboratory assembly line, DuPont has vehemently defended the claim that it is perfectly safe—and they stick by this statement even today.
The jig is up, though: irrefutable evidence now demonstrates that PFOA is even more dangerous than previously thought. Its presence in both our cookware and the environment has been linked to a wide array of diseases and conditions, including birth defects, eye dysfunction, testicular cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, DNA damage, ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, hypertension, thyroid disease, and more.
Studies demonstrating the dangers of PFOA have trickled in over the years, but the full story was unveiled by a lawyer named Rob Bilott, who has spent the last fifteen years fighting DuPont over the toxic effects of its products. Over the course of this legal battle, DuPont has been forced to turn over 110,000 pages of very incriminating documents, many of which explicitly show that DuPont has known about the dangers of PFOA for decades.
And by the way, PFOA and other noxious polyfluorochemicals (PFA’s) are also used in stain-repellant and fire-retardant furniture, water-repellant and stain-repellant clothing, and even the packaging for microwave popcorn and fast food.
The society-wide and longstanding use of PFOA has also led to worrying levels of environmental pollution. The Environmental Working Group recently reported that PFOA was detected in the water supply of 94 districts across 27 states. This same report details that PFOA is dangerous at levels 1300 times lower than levels previously set by the EPA.
PFOA can be detected in the blood of nearly all Americans (including babies), and it’s even been found in animals inhabiting far-flung wildlife refuges. DuPont has created a worldwide and ecological health crisis—and they’ve covered it up for nearly fifty years.
Is DuPont really as bad as it seems?
If you’re wondering how a well-established corporation could possibly lie so brazenly, keep in mind that DuPont doesn’t exactly have a track record for integrity, ecological awareness, or community stewardship.
They started out in the early 1800s as a supplier of gunpowder to the U.S. military, before branching out into explosives of all kinds in the 1900’s. They supplied 40% of the explosives used by both sides during World War I, and were centrally involved in the Manhattan Project and the production of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Over the years, they’ve also dabbled in the oil and gas industry, as well as the production of toxic plastics. They’re even among the top four biotech companies who produce genetically modified seeds and pesticides (Monsanto receives most of the public’s ire, but DuPont is guilty of all the same atrocities on exactly the same scale).
Clearly, they couldn’t care less about your health, or the health of the planet.
Don’t trust regulators…take responsibility for your own health
Despite the noble actions of people like Rob Bilott, no one is going to protect us completely from the indiscretions of industrial powerhouses like DuPont.
We can’t even count on regulatory agencies like the EPA, because they’re literally not allowed to regulate industrial chemicals. That’s right: because of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, a chemical must be proven to be harmful before the EPA is allowed to test it.
This means that chemical companies like DuPont can freely use whatever toxic concoctions they like until they get caught, at which point they can simply phase in a new untested chemical (this, by the way, is exactly what’s happening with Teflon—C8 is being phased out, but it’s just been replaced by a different fluorochemical).
The only real way to protect yourself is to make proper lifestyle choices. For starters, avoid non-stick cookware, water-repellant materials, flame-retardant furniture, and fast food. None of these products are worth the convenience! Always purify your drinking water, and get rid of any PFA’s that are already in your system by living a detoxifying lifestyle.
Companies like DuPont certainly don’t make it easy to live a vibrant and healthy life, but with some forethought and effort, you can take charge of your health and protect yourself from their health-sapping products of convenience.