1. Canned Tomatoes
The problem: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
The solution: Choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings), such as the brands Bionaturae and Coluccio. You can also get several types in Tetra Pak boxes, like Trader Joe’s and Pomi.
2. Corn-Fed BeefThe problem: Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter.
The solution: Buy grass-fed beef, which can be found at specialty grocers, farmers’ markets, and nationally at Whole Foods. It’s usually labeled because it demands a premium, but if you don’t see it, ask your butcher.
3. Microwave Popcorn
The problem: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer.
The solution: Pop natural kernels the old-fashioned way: in a skillet. For flavorings, you can add real butter or dried seasonings, such as dillweed, vegetable flakes, or soup mix.
4. Nonorganic Potatoes
The problem: Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes—the nation’s most popular vegetable—they’re treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they’re dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting. “Try this experiment: Buy a conventional potato in a store, and try to get it to sprout. It won’t.
The solution: Buy organic potatoes. Washing isn’t good enough if you’re trying to remove chemicals that have been absorbed into the flesh.
5. Farmed Salmon
The problem: Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT.
The solution: Switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon. If the package says fresh Atlantic, it’s farmed. There are no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon.
6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones
The problem: Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers.
The solution: Check labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk. These phrases indicate rBGH-free products.
7. Conventional Apples
The problem: If fall fruits held a “most doused in pesticides contest,” apples would win. Why? They are individually grafted (descended from a single tree) so that each variety maintains its distinctive flavor. As such, apples don’t develop resistance to pests and are sprayed frequently.
The solution: Buy organic apples. If you can’t afford organic, be sure to wash and peel them first.____________________________________________________
Surprisingly, we have been able to avoid most of these issues. I knew about the BPA in tomato cans and have reminded Nick to stop buying them for his sauces. It's not automatic for him to reach for the glass jar just yet but we are getting there. Last fall when I went apple picking, I went to the ONLY farm near us that had organic apples. It turned out that due to the very wet summer we had, the organic apples were affected by blight. We had to turn to the conventional apples. Do I feel better that they claim to use "less" pesticides than other apple farm? No...but I sure do like me some apples. Hopefully next year the organic apples will be back for us to enjoy with no guilt.