News of incessant food contamination has been splattered all over the headlines in recent years, with no sign of the tide turning any time soon unless a major overhaul of our food system is finally implemented. In the meantime, think about the humongous ecological impact of all of that wasted food, not to mention the cost in terms of medical treatment and other economic losses. A recent food safety group report even claims that on a yearly basis, our country spends $152 billion as a direct result of food borne illness, a figure that doesn’t even account for the actual cost of reclaiming and safely destroying those tainted items.
Running neck and neck with the aforementioned recalls has been the infiltration of toxic chemicals into our food and consumer products. Seriously, folks, in the past year alone, we’ve had so many high-profile cases (SIGG bottles, anyone?) that it makes you question exactly who is looking out for our best interests. Even when you think that you’re making a wise consumer decision by spending a little extra money on seemingly wholesome products that are ethically produced (to ensure the health and safety of your family), breaking news reveals that a chemical like Bisphenol-A – the very same hazardous organic compound that disrupts the human endocrine system and can lead to very serious health complications – is found not only in a wide reaching collection of common name brand staples but also even in organic canned goods, too.
The eco-group Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE) is speaking out about this ongoing atrocity by holding today’s Toxie Awards, which in the great tradition of the Oscars, pays tribute to the most high-profile “chemical actors” working in our society today. The annual event figuratively rolls out the green carpet for next week’s Green Chemistry Initiative which offers consumers a detailed account of the many toxic chemicals used in California and how they can take better steps to ensure their safety. By taking advantage of the Academy Award buzz just a few days before the official ceremony, Toxie Award organizers are hoping to make their eco-themed showcase more accessible to the population. What certainly helps is the way in which they are accenting a very serious problem that continues to threaten the very livelihood of countless numbers of people with a touch of humor.
Offering up six unique categories of awards for well over 80,000 competing chemicals, an inside spokesperson for the event explains, “When we do education on these issues, it tends to scare people, so we wanted a fun way to show how bad these chemicals are. They should not be in products. They should not get work, just like bad actors don’t get work.” Not surprisingly, Bisphenol-A is in the running for “worst breakthrough performance” as is the toxic trinity of formaldehyde, phthalates and toluene for “best performance in an ensemble cast”, although one compound will be singled out among all others to achieve the unsavory distinction of poisoning children with a “lifetime achievement in harm”. Can you guess which one will score that position of shame?