When we go shopping for the everyday products we use in our daily lives, the last thing we tend to worry about is a product’s safety. It’s easy to assume that items on store shelves won’t pose a health risk to us. In fact, we have federal agencies in place whose very job is to protect consumer decisions.
However, more often than not, certain ingredients in common products are actually more of a threat to our health than we once thought. As we grow older, it becomes even more necessary to take better care of our bodies than we did when we were in our 20s and 30s. We aren’t as seemingly invincible as we once were, so every effort we can make to prevent future health scares is so important.
To make your health a priority in the coming years, steer clear of these common products and their unsafe ingredients.
- Talc-based Baby Powder
Johnson & Johnson didn’t just become known as “the family company” on a whim. Its reputation as the maker of safe products has followed it since the 1980s, so much so that many of us have likely used the products on ourselves and even on our children.
But in recent years, Johnson & Johnson has been hit with thousands of lawsuits because of its talc-based Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products. Women who regularly used these talc-based products for many years are blaming the companyfor their ovarian cancer diagnoses, and scientific evidence dating back to the 1970s supports the ingredients connection to the disease.
Although the FDA currently regulates talc in food products, there are no requirements in place for cosmeticslike Johnson & Johnson’s products. The European Union, on the other hand, has outright banned the use of talcum powder as an ingredient.
Talcum powder can be found in a number of products including baby powder, deodorant, and lotions. Be sure to check the labels on the products you’re currently using, and consider switching to talc-free options as a preventative health measure.
- Teflon on Nonstick Pans
Like Johnson & Johnson, Teflon grew to become a household name during the mid-to-late 20th century. Invented in 1938, this nonstick coating transformed the cooking industry by making kitchen cleanup effortless. But despite its effectiveness in the kitchen, it has since proven to be a major health risk.
Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that make up the Teflon coating have been linked to an increased risk of kidney and testicular cancers, birth defects, and even thyroid disease. Teflon’s maker DuPont has also been found guilty in personal injury and wrongful death suits after its coating leaked into water sources near the manufacturing plants.
In addition to DuPont’s wrongdoing, over 200 scientists from across the globe signed the Madrid Statement in 2015 and presented evidence that Teflon’s PFAS chemicals are carcinogenic. Today the brand name Teflon is no longer used on cookware, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention to nonstick coating ingredients. PFAS-based pots and pans can still be found in our cookware aisles, so double-check both the items you already have in your home and any new products you’re looking to purchase.
- Arsenic in Wine
If you regularly enjoy a glass of wine in the evenings, this habit may be good for your health in the long run. A recent study published by the American Heart Association found that a glass of wine per day in addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise could add upwards of a decade to our lives.
Although this study is great news for wine drinkers, it’s time we paid extra attention to the type of wine we’re consuming. In 2015, a class-action lawsuit was filed against 83 popular wines for containing high levels of arsenic. The World Health Organization links this chemical to developmental defects, neurotoxicity, and diabetes among other health issues.
The EPA only regulates the presence of arsenic in our drinking water, yet the 83 wines named in the lawsuit contained four times the legal limit. The FDA also has very few regulations in place for labeling wine, and the issue of arsenic present in the bottles continues to be debated by both the scientific and legal communities. Before your next trip to the liquor store, take the time to double-check that your favorite bottle isn’t one of these 83 wines.
This guest post was graciously provided by Morgan Statt, Health & Safety Investigator who specializes in topics including product safety and public health issues. Follow her organization Consumer Safety on Twitter for news alerts, recalls, and the latest developments in consumer health.