It started well. Dinner in a wonderful neighborhood restaurant in San Francisco with friends, family and some new significant others. It turned ugly faster than you can say Big Agro Business.
“Oh, you’ve got organic and all-natural products. Really, be honest with me, it’s just marketing and branding, right?”
Turns out the guy across from me was a fan of rhetorical questions – before I uttered a responsive syllable, my new friend continued, “I mean please, the whole fad makes me sick. These people don’t know what they’re talking about. These studies are garbage. Do you have any idea how much of those industrial chemicals you’d have to get in your body it’d have the effect those studies describe? Stop kidding yourself. Any real scientist will tell you it’s all crap. Nothing has changed.”
I could feel nervous fidgeting around table. I took a deep breath and started by agreeing with him. Some of the science out there is shoddy, and not every negative health trend is the result of contaminants in our food, our water, our air and, yes, our skin care.
But… a wide range of health problems are on the rise, from premature births and underweight babies, to lowered sperm counts and early menstruation, to allergies, to reproductive organ damage. Hundreds of industrial chemicals, many of which are in the family of endocrine disruptors, are being found in newborns and in cord blood. There are scores of studies linking common synthetics found in plastics and skin care products to a range of health problems…which have led nations around the world to ban many of those substances.
And you want to talk dosages? Well, one tiny dosage in one exposure may not cause cancer, just like one puff of a Marlboro won’t kill you. But what about the thousands of synthetics we and our children are bombarded with day after day? And what of the fact that many of the synthetics have bio-cumulative effect, sticking in the body and growing day by day? Still believe tiny individual exposures can’t possibly have an effect?
“Harrumph.” From across the table. “I’d like to see conclusive proof…”
“Well, there’s plenty of proof. But the larger point is this: sometimes conclusive causal proof is elusive (in part because there are so many different chemicals hitting us at once, that it’s difficult to isolate just one). Doesn’t it still make sense to avoid as many potentially dangerous synthetics as possible? Especially when skin care synthetics are often simply cheap derivations of natural ingredients?”
“…and don’t let me get started about the environmental reasons to prefer smaller, organic farms over Big Agro. Ok, enough, let’s eat. Lemme guess, the fois gras is yours…”