Greetings from Philadelphia, where I’m spending a few days with good friends.
Upon my arrival in the US this month, I did notice a reasonable amount of buzz in the media and the occasional conversation about toys that had been discovered to have dangerously high levels of lead. Manufactured in China, these toys made the news and toy companies carried out what is called a re-call; requesting that people who have purchased them please return them as they could be dangerous.
My favorite shop on earth for buying food is Trader Joe’s, it is the first place I go when I arrive in the US. The thing I most like is that I can look at the ingredients of anything, and read the short list. Normally the ingredients are words that I know and never is there artificial colors or preservatives of any kind. The thing that is strange, is that Trader Joe’s is considered “Alternative” in many ways. Normal supermarkets have the big commercial products that have a long list of ingedients many of which start with the prefix poly or mono. That is considered standard, and many people use those products all their lives.
Whether it is toys, food, or other products that we use regularly in our lives, it seems to me one of the mostparadoxical realities of this society we’ve created in much of the world; we sell each other goods made from materials that can ultimately poison someone, often times while tasting good or smelling good or bringing some short term joy.
Not that I’m against the joy of a nice cookie or a children’s toy. But it seems perposterous that in regular mainstream thought, you buy the cookies or the toys made by the big manufacturer that has uses some really questionable, incomprehensible ingredients to produce them.
How did the world get this way? Why didn’t the masses cry foul and take these producers to court or simply demand they clean up their act? Why is it that even in 2007, with all the experience and time that has passed that humans exist on this earth, that asking for a product made from healthy and simple ingredients is considered somehow alternative or “different”.
Just to add one more thought to all my semi-rhetorical questions today, many people will point to the new kinds of supermarkets and alternative companies that are emerging like the body shop that do things in a sustainable and healthy way. I would agree this is a positive development and a sign of some sort. But what still baffles me is that these companies are so small in terms of the big picture.. so once again.. too little and for many people suffering from the health problems this type of consuming has brought, too late.