If you like Chardonnay that’s full-bodied and creamy, you might set that enjoyment aside after reading the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) latest “dirty dozen list." But by all means, don’t do it!   EWG’s list of allegedly bad-for-you food “additives” are perfectly safe to enjoy! And  they have benefits, such as the buttery flavor in my favorite Chardonnay from a chemical called diacetyl!

If you want to be healthy, enjoy these foods in moderation as part of a balanced diet and ignore EWG’s silly advice.

It’s pretty clear that EWG engaged in some deceptive and foolhardy “research” to come up with this list.  These chemicals all appear in negligible, trace amounts that are of no public health significance. 

EWG targets many of these chemicals because they are rodent carcinogens: i.e., they give lab animals cancer when dosed massive amounts.  But so do naturally occurring chemicals found in broccoli, carrots and peas. Remember it is the dose that makes the poison!

The group also demonizes some substances because they are classified as  “probable” or “possible human carcinogens” by the world Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) or some other agency.  But that does not mean they cause cancer at trace levels! 

In fact, chemicals classified as such, by definition, have never been shown to cause any cancer to humans exposed to trace levels.  There are no bodies, no case counts.  Otherwise, these chemicals would be classified as “known carcinogens.” And even most “known carcinogens” are listed only because high, long-term exposures have, or appear to have, caused cancer.  In fact, when chemicals are involved, cancer results from relatively high exposure to a chemical over a long period of time (usually decades), not from intermittent, trace exposures.  And chemical pollution and contaminants are not a significant cause of cancer.

EWG condemns other chemicals because studies have found weak associations between the chemicals and some health effects.  But associations, do not prove cause-and-effect, and weak associations are usually dismissed as not meaningful.

Some other EWG complaints revolve around allegations that certain chemicals are “weakly estrogenic.” Despite green claims to the contrary, trace exposures to such so-called “endocrine disrupters” actually pose no measureable risk.  In fact, human exposures to these chemicals is tens of thousands of times lower than chemicals formed naturally in many healthy foods, such as soy.  And they are simply not potentate enough to have significant effects.

Don't fall for the EWG's htype, and check in with IWF's Inkwell blog nextweek for details on the specific chemicals on that the EWG says are too bad for you to enjoy!