Wellness Pathway #282 Avoid Toxic Substances

This week my wife and I finally did something we’ve been talking about for a long time: we disposed of all our nonstick cookware. Why? Because there’s increasing evidence that one of the chemicals used to produce these convenient surfaces, perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA, is likely to cause cancer in humans.

The US Environmental Protection Agency is concerned enough about the use of PFOA to call for its total elimination by 2015. It is used not only in nonstick cookware, but also in stain-resistant textiles (such as carpeting, upholstery, and Gore-Tex fabrics) and in grease-resistant food wrapping (used by many fast-food restaurants and pizza parlors). Teflon is the most popular of many brand-name products, all of which use PFOA as an aid in the manufacturing process.

Unfortunately, the total elimination of PFOA may not be economically or technologically possible by 2015. This negatively impacts the environment as an industrial pollutant and as a consumer good. There’s not much the average person can do when it comes to environmental emissions, but we can avoid the consumer goods.

That’s why my wife and I replaced our cookware with stainless steel. It may not be as easy to cook with and to clean up, but that’s a small price to pay for eliminating a potential carcinogen. If you are unable or unwilling to make the change, be sure to avoid scratching the surface and cooking at high heat. Cooking at high heat is never a good idea, in terms of what it does to the nutritional value of food. It’s an even worse idea when it comes to nonstick cookware, since the high heat causes it to emit toxic fumes.

You may also want to eliminate stain-resistant textiles and grease-resistant food wrapping. Many years ago we eliminated carpeting from our home in favor of hardwood floors. Before that time, however, I can remember carpet cleaners who would spray our carpeting with Teflon after cleaning in order to make it stain resistant. The next day our young children would be on the floor, absorbing who knows what. The same went for our upholstered furniture and draperies. Pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags, French-fry sleeves, and the paper wrapping for burgers are other favorite hideouts for PFOA.

All this can be eliminated by discriminating consumers. The risk may be small but why take even a small risk when it can be so easily avoided? It’s no different than hydrogenated vegetable oils. These are the worst food products on the market when it comes to cardiovascular health, so why eat any at all? Even very small quantities add up over time to cause big problems. The short-term conveniences and benefits are not worth the long-term hazards and consequences.

So take the action that will protect you and your family today. Lower your risk of cancer and heart disease. Do what you can to avoid coming into contact with or consuming harmful substances. Then lend your voice to the growing consumer movement in favor of environmentalism and ecological justice. That way we cannot only avoid toxic substances for ourselves, but for others including future generations. It is, as Bono recently said, the right thing to do.

Coaching Inquiries: How careful are you to avoid toxic substances? What steps could you take to avoid more toxic substances? How could you become a change agent not only for yourself and for your loved ones but for all the world as well?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Wellness Coaching programs and to arrange for a complimentary wellness coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Bob.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

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