This past month has been a bad one for credibility and trust in two different consumer product realms.
Two major environmental groups have done research and produced pretty damaging reports. The first, California’s Environmental Law Foundation, has discovered levels of lead in fruit juices and canned fruits that surpass California’s Prop 65 limit of .5 micrograms of lead daily from brands like Earth’s Best, Del Monte, Welch’s and Whole Foods. This is scary for so many reasons. We now know there is no safe level of lead but even I won’t assume any of these companies are knowingly adding lead. So are organic foods just contaminated across the board at this point?
What’s especially interesting (and concerning) is the fact that the lead levels aren’t limited to bargain brands at all. The pricey organics and major store brands that have been selling the story of health and wholesomeness now have to figure out how to explain / spin / ignore the lead in their products.
The second batch of bad news is in the sunscreen world. The Environmental Working Group’s 2010 Sunscreen Guide shows the ineffectiveness of most major sunscreens along with the toxic load they carry.
From the EWG report:
EWG researchers recommend only 39 – 8 percent – of 500 beach and sport sunscreens for this season. The reason? A surge in exaggerated SPF claims above 50 and new disclosures about potentially hazardous ingredients, in particular recently developed government data linking vitamin A to accelerated growth of skin tumors and lesions.
So, the healthy things we’ve been told to do — eat organics and slather with sunscreen — are actually poisoning us.
I’m curious, in an admittedly morbid kind of way, to see how these brands address such critical trust, quality and health issues. For sunscreen makers, it’s an easier fix because they can choose to augment their ingredients. But for organic food and beverage suppliers who just have to deal with lead in the food supply it’s a totally different story.
Perhaps advertising campaigns for major fruit juice manufacturers will soon include health statements like, “half the lead plus 50% more vitamin C compared to other leading brands”.