Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I'm trying not to give you cancer.

Kids, I'm trying not to give you cancer.

I just want you to know. For the love of brown apples and bud-riddled potatoes, dammit, I'm trying with all the mom-love I have in me to spare you.

From what I gather, it's a losing battle. I refuse to believe that people want to give you cancer - carelessly smattering our household goods with body-rocking chemicals. I do believe, though, that people are competitive. And in this competitive market where shelf-space comes at a premium, I believe people who own products - simple products like apples and potatoes, or more complex ones like detergent and wet wipes - find it difficult to gain an edge on their competitors. So they try to make their product better by creating a "problem" with the product that most consumers didn't even know existed.

Apples turn brown when you cut them. To most, that's not a problem; that's just the nature of an apple.
Potatoes grow buds. To most, that's not a problem; that's a mother-freaking potato, for crap's sake. But even potato farmers need to be competitive. There are lots of potato farmers, I guess. So some guy comes up with some chemical that will solve this budding "problem," and they go sell it to the farmer under the guise that it will make their potatoes more desirable to buyers at big name grocery stores.

The buyers think that carrying these "problem-solved!" potatoes will make their store the more desirable destination for consumers (Why, what problem-free potatoes you have!) and there's not another thought about it. Well, that's not true. There's probably some thought. I'm sure the potato people have to prove their product is safe for consumption within certain parameters.

But, here's the thing - with your grandmas and great grandmas having suffered through a couple rounds of cancer and as a parent who is responsible for your well-being, I have to consider the problem is (ehem, the REAL problem is) that sometimes these parameters just aren't good enough. Really, they're not good enough for ourselves, let alone our kids.

Kids, I don't know if any of this is true. About the apples, the potatoes, soy milk, the baby wipes, yellow dyes, red dyes, arsenic in rice milk and apple juice... I have no idea. I'm a writer, not a chemist. Until a couple years ago, I trusted brands to make products that won't give you cancer. Then I read about these unnatural new apples that won't turn brown when you cut them, and I literally laughed aloud at the article: What store would stock these apples with this big trend toward organic produce?! Then, just today, I walked over to our kitchenette and saw pre-sliced, store-bought apples that were sitting out for hours with not a shade of brown on them. Well, hell. They've made it into circulation. 

So the more I read, the more I guess the duty falls on me. Which brings me back to my initial point:

I'm trying.
  • I've swapped our plastic containers out for glassware.
  • Only microwave glass.
  • Traded soy milk for rice milk, then swapped rice milk for almond milk.
  • Buy some organic stuff. Fruit mostly. Yogurt.
  • All organic for baby food.
  • No more diet pop.
  • Try to buy dye-free detergent, but I don't know. There are a lot of ingredients listed in those bottles and I have no idea what in the world-of-washing-machines I'm looking at.
  • Hormone-free, specially fed, something-or-other chicken and beef when it's available.
  • Your soaps, ugh. I hope they're fine. I steer clear of the ones that suffer vicious public floggings.

It's not going to be perfect. Frankly, and sadly, I don't think our home has the budget to be 100% cancer-free. I just hope it works.

We're still going to eat canned stuff and pizza and for now, GASP, American cheese (you freaking love it). And if that undoes all the afore-listed efforts, well then... crap. I'm sorry. And at least you know we tried.

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