It is sometimes difficult to realize what types of chemicals we are putting into our bodies, as many labels do not say specifically what they are. But it is important that we start to look closely at the types of foods we are eating. Hidden within some types of delicious food are dangerous chemicals that can increase health problems down the road. There is a solution to these problems as organic foods do not contain any of these harmful chemicals. Although they are often more expensive, it is important society begins to eat more organically, in order to prevent possible health problems. More people need to realize the benefits of organic food because of how it can help improve someone’s health, compared to the harmful effects chemicals can cause. 

What Types Of Chemicals Are Used?

Within these processed and inorganic foods, there are various chemicals used for different purposes. As written by The New York Times, some of them include nitrates and nitrites, which are used as preservatives. Also, phthalates are found in processed foods, as they are often used for plastic packaging. Another chemical frequently found is bisphenol, which is used in the lining of metal cans for canned food products. While these chemicals are sometimes necessary for the sale of these products, people need to be aware of how they can affect them.

What Are The Benefits Of Certain Chemicals?

Many companies use these types of chemicals to generate more money and make products more appealing to the public. For example, there are many different chemicals used to make certain foods more colorful or smell a certain way. An example of this would be that in many types of fruity drinks such as juice boxes, the tastes are often artificial and full of chemicals. Another benefit is that they can make food last longer, making it easier to sell. With a longer shelf life, companies do not have to worry about keeping up with the expiration dates on products and can mass-produce them. As previously stated, certain chemicals are used in packaging, making it easier to produce large quantities of products in a short period of time. While these are all advantages for larger corporations, they are not always in the best interest of individual people.

Why The Chemicals Are A Problem

These chemicals often have a much greater appeal to people because of the artificial taste or appearance. But this can cause underlying problems. These problems could include how these foods are often unhealthy, adding to the obesity problem among children. Several pediatricians are concerned about the damages that can happen with the overconsumption of these chemicals. An example is how these chemicals can affect hormones. This is especially dangerous for children because their bodies are still developing, so over-consuming these products can cause lasting damages. Another main problem with the chemicals occurs to pregnant women. Certain chemicals such as bisphenol can disrupt the endocrine system, which can damage the growth of the baby. The main emphasis in the article is how parents should be cutting down on the use of plastic containers and processed meats because they can cause the most harm. Studies conducted also show the consumption of processed foods containing chemicals can increase the risk of cancer. In the follow up to this study, many people who consumed these foods developed cancers such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, colorectal cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphomas. All of these possible outcomes from eating processed and packaged foods show how organic food can be a better solution.

Why Organic Is Better

While inorganic and processed food can sometimes taste better and be more cost-friendly, it is really organic food that people should be eating. This type of food and drink contains no added chemicals or substances that can cause harm. BBC reported that they can actually provide many important health benefits due to containing higher concentrations of nutrients such as antioxidants. This can increase heart health and the overall wellbeing of a person. The most important aspect of organic food is how there is nothing dangerous being put in your body. With inorganic food, you may not know what is being put in your body. But with organic food, you know exactly what you are eating. In the same idea, organic food will provide an overall better lifestyle. As previously mentioned, some inorganic foods can create problems such as obesity, especially in children. If everyone is eating more organic foods, then these problems will not arise.

How The Issue Can Be Solved

It is important for people to be more aware of how harmful inorganic foods can be. If there is more emphasis on this, then the number of health problems can decrease. Companies should also be worrying more about the health of their customers, and not the shelf-life of their products. Although using additives can make them more money, they should realize how harmful their products can be. Finally, the cost of organic foods should be decreased because it is often much more expensive than that of inorganic foods. If the price is decreased, it is more likely that people will buy organic food and live an overall healthier life.


This OpEd was written by U4SC Student Intern, Caroline.

[Image Attribute: Marco Verch]