Going Green, Getting Cancer, Giving In (to Food, of course)

This article about a “probable human carcinogen” found in natural products is disturbing on many levels. 47 of 100 (even if you skipped Math class, you know that’s damn close to 50%) “natural or organic products” tested, even Whole Foods’ own line, “…had detectable levels of 1,4-dioxane, which the Environmental Protection Agency has declared a probable human carcinogen because it causes cancer in lab animals.”

This line, buried mid-way through page one, caught my eye:

“Most traditional soaps and shampoos contain 1,4-dioxane. But the discovery that the chemical is present in many housecleaning and personal care products, including some for babies, that are advertised as being natural, organic or “green” comes as somewhat of a surprise.”

So if you’re a consumer of conventional consumer products – like soaps and shampoos – containing a known (but previously undisclosed) carcinogen – not to worry?!

And, it’s not labeled as such, so you have to know to look for common label ingredients. “It’s nearly impossible for buyers to know whether the (products) they use contain 1,4-dioxane because the chemical is not listed on ingredient labels. Products most likely to contain the compound usually list polyethylene glycol or compounds with the syllables PEG, short for polyethylene glycol, -eth or -oxynol-,according to the FDA.”

Lest you think our tax dollars are sitting on the sofa eating bon bons…oh, wait, they are.

“The FDA says the current levels “do not present a hazard to consumers,” although it has advised the industry to reduce amounts in cosmetics as much as possible” In other words, “not that we’re saying it’s dangerous, but you’d do well to get rid of it in your products.” Come again? Because if we actually admitted it is dangerous, that might necessitate some action or imply some responsibility on our part.

More bad news

And this news flash is beginning to feel just like that running gag on the old SNL Weekend Update segment…“Breaking news, this just in: Generalissmo Francisco Franco is still dead.”

The latest in a seemingly unending flow of bad news from China, whom the powers that be rewarded with the Olympics… the contaminant in heparin (the blood thinning drug) seems to have originated in China. Lead in baby toys, antifreeze in toothpaste, contaminated heparin – good job, China!

Hunger Trumps Misery – Food Heals


It’s enough to make you wanna pull the covers over your head and stay in bed. But try as I may, my stomach grumbles and I must motivate for food. That’s the trouble with reading food-centric books like Sara Roahen’s “Gumbo Tales.” I’m still dreaming of New Orleans though we’ve been back around two weeks now. Gumbo Tales (reviewed here) is an enchanting (you can be forgiven using a word like “enchanting” when, possibly only when, referring to a place like New Orleans) and poignant set of stories anchored in descriptions of the iconic dishes of New Orleans. Part autobiography, part food history, part travel guide, the book is framed by food, the stories are inseparable from food, just like the people I’ve met there and the stories they tell.

At some point, I am propelled out from under the covers, into the kitchen, unable to read another paragraph. Sazeracs, Crawfish and Gumbo, oh my. Poboys, red gravy, z’herbes…my red beans are on the boil now.

Have you noticed that Cochon, the restaurant I wrote about in my first post-trip post, is number three on Frank Bruni’s short list of the top ten restaurants outside of New York City that one must get to…?

And did you further notice that O ya in my own humble Leather District, is in contention for spot number one or two?

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A window into what I’m thinking and writing about.

Whether it's Food & Cooking, Sports, Film, Travel or the Business of Writing itself...you can find it all through this page. Use this sidebar and the links below to go directly to whatever strikes your fancy. Jacqueline Church's Facebook profile

Where I’ve been seen, published, cited, syndicated…

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Mark Your Calendars

August 22 - Courtney Hunt's acclaimed film Frozen River at the Coolidge Corner. See Diversions for more.

Caught my eye…

  • The Audubon Insectarium opens in New Orleans. See Getting Down with All that Skitters.
  • Copper River Salmon is so hot, even E!online is commenting on the stars who eat it. Taye Diggs was digging it.
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On Women and Work

Read my contributions to The Glass Hammer a new blog for executive women.


  1. Tales of the Cocktail may be over but the fun continues. Check the blogs and podcasts for all the news that fit to drink!
  2. The Maori art of facial tatooing is called moko. It is a powerful expression of tribal identity which has only recently enjoyed a resurgence as the colonial Christian prohibitions against it have lessened. Go to the Peabody Essex Museum for this rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of this amazing cultural tradition. The documentary I saw at Sundance years ago on moko, was one of the most powerful films I have ever seen.
  3. The Audubon Insectarium is a new and top-notch attraction in New Orleans. We passed by it and wondered why we'd missed it before. Turns out it's just now opening. No time this last trip, but it's on the list for the next time. Check here for info.

What's on my del.iciou.us list?


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