Most of us like to think we have a pretty good grasp on what’s dangerous and what’s not. We know about germs and washing our hands. We know not to mix our cleaners or our waste with our food. When it comes to eating healthy, we tend to understand the perils that come with too much fat, sugar, or salt (though we don’t always do so well in staying away from them). However, when it comes to our food, and protecting our health in general, there’s still a lot that may not be readily apparent. Some things that seem safe aren’t.

The truth is, in our environment, there are many dangers, most of them manmade. When the chemicals we use for industrial uses end up in our air, water, or food, that’s cause for concern. Adverse health effects have been linked to overexposure to many of these chemicals, however, a lot of them are still part of products we eat (or eat from) every day. These trace amounts may not be immediately harmful, but some evidence suggests that in the long term, they can contribute to serious illnesses. Here are ten chemicals to look out for in your quest for health.

10. 2,4-D


This strangely named chemical is an herbicide, used to kill weeds and protects produce. As of yet, it has not been ruled as harmful to human health, but there is some speculation that it is harmful. There is a correlation between cancers such as sarcoma and lymphoma and chronic exposure to 2,4-D, hence the concern, but the evidence is not conclusive. According to the EPA, toxicity is based on the form it comes in; it has been known to cause fertility problems, and it can irritate the eyes if they are exposed to it; better to avoid 2,4-D.

9. Glyphosate


Another herbicide, glyphosate, a key component in Roundup, is thought to be safer due to the properties that allow it to adhere to soil. This means it is less likely to make it into groundwater. On its own, glyphosate has not been found to be seriously threatening to human life. There is some research, albeit inconclusive, that indicates glyphosate may contribute to cancer risk. When mixed with other chemicals, glyphosate can become more dangerous for both people and the environment, including some of the crops we eat, though this is dose dependent; evidence is not conclusive in this regard.


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