It seems we have become the self regulation generation, whereby we have to check everything we consume ourselves. Every year companies spend billions on marketing food to children, they are conditioned from an early age and if us parents are not smart we will also become conditioned to their marketing strategies too.
Food marketing strategies shape our childrens preferences, which I feel often undermines parents efforts to teach their young ones good nutrition. We are bombarded with food marketing practices everywhere and sometimes it can be a real effort to resist.
Have you noticed something about our shops lately?
Walk into any supermarket, and you will see one-quarter of the supermarket fruit and veg; the remaining three-quarters processed and prepacked foods.
One reason we are seeing this is that, two-thirds of food retailers, restaurants, cosmetic manufacturers and media companies have no policy limiting junk marketing.
Few retailers have food marketing policies to protect children. So in essence, the pressure to eat junk and use junk is increasing.
Self Regulation May be Beneficial For us?
Let's face it, we all let our children watch the TV even if it's just a little, but did you know that 84% of the food ads our children view are high in saturated fat, trans fat, sugars, or sodium?
There's so much information available on this subject that it's surprising everyone isn't aware of what is or isn't contained in the products we love to eat and use so much on a daily basis.
Many people have some idea that not every ingredient used in everyday essentials are beneficial for us, but no one seems to really have any hard facts, or understanding.
Self Regulation or Government? Every year companies spend billions on marketing food, we now have to check everything we consume and use. If us parents aren't smart we'll also become conditioned to their marketing strategies too.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that questionable ingredients "wouldn't be allowed". They are, and it is because in many cases there is either no legislation in place to prevent it, or little or no research available.
This information is readily available, with many reports from manufacturers, The Environmental Working Group, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and medical and technical studies - feel free to check them out. You may be a little surprised to say the least!
Even if you try to be as balanced as possible, it can be hard sometimes not to have doubts as to the motives of manufacturers. Which comes first. profit? or safety?
Am I concerned? Yes
Are you concerned? I hope so...
So I will let you decide what is acceptable, what is true, and if there is a "reasonable cause for concern" regarding ingredients many companies use in the products we use.
We want to make our families comfortable and our homes clean, sweet smelling and beautiful, but more importantly safe.
The question that you have to ask is whether some ingredients can be trusted by the consumer or if there are safer alternatives available.
There are many "grey areas" many "may's" many "possibly's" and a huge amount of variation in opinion. However, there is a lot of truth in that old saying "there is no smoke without fire.
"No risk" is better than "low risk". particularly over a lifetime of use.
Not All Chemicals Are Bad For Us
Many chemicals used in production of cosmetics, personal care, household cleaning and laundry products are not only safe, but necessary. They can kill harmful stuff that may form in the product if they weren't there, and make them easier and nice to use.
It seems there is a choice for manufacturers on what to use, but the question is whether this decision is made on cost, as there appear to be safer alternatives to some of the questionable ingredients currently used.
Many ingredients were passed as safe for use in the 1930's. Between 1965 and 1982, over a quarter of a million new chemical compounds were created. There are over 3,000 chemicals used in food and cosmetics / personal care production.
In more recent years, there has been progress made on some controls particularly in the EU in comparison to the United States.
However, whether this legislation goes far enough is for you to decide based on the evidence available.
In contrast, there is very little evidence of anyone carrying out research as to any long term effects on health of exposure to these ingredients over time. Considering how long we use them every day of our lives, or how these ingredients interact to form other compounds, you'd think manufacturers would've thoroughly researched it.
It's no wonder your average consumer is confused and bewildered, or know who, or what to believe. It really is a struggle, but if we adopt a mindset of "reasonable doubt" then it does raise some important questions.
To an extent the cosmetics and personal care industry seems to be somewhat self regulating. New ingredients are being used, which are"thoroughly tested" for safety before being used in production and declared "safe for use" by companies, governments and governing bodies.
However, there is a grey area here which is very fuzzy...
Confused? You will be!
It seems that assessment is on going once the product is on the shelves, and the ingredient is either banned, or new guidelines come into force for restriction of the ingredient as a percentage of volume or nature of use.
There's variation as to whether it is a "leave on" product or "use and rinse" which obviously points to a concern over exposure to the ingredient.
In many cases manufacturers "phase out" ingredients that have been banned or deemed unsafe. This "phase out" can take years leaving existing stock on the store shelves.
The chemical industry's mantra seems to be "these ingredients are used in such small quantities they could not possibly be harmful.
However, "Safe for use" it appears does not consider the build up of these ingredients in our bodies organs or vital systems from prolonged use over time, and in some cases you have to ask the question WHY are some of these ingredients allowed at all.
Maybe industry lobby groups, and bottom line have something to do with it?