Toxic Toothpaste

27 Sep

My toothpaste is toxic.

My FDA approved toothpaste contains something that causes birth defects in boys, early onset puberty in girls, and last but not least.. cancer….. CANCER. (I’ll get back to that in a minute)

I went to a Presbyterians for Earth Care conference in Allenspark, Colorado and my world was shaken. I am undeniably changed because of what I learned at this conference.

I’ve always considered myself a lover of nature, and someone who cared for the environment… but this conference made me realize what a novice I am. I realized the degree to which I have turned a blind eye to issues that effect me, my loved ones, everyone on this Earth, and those yet to come to this Earth.

God calls us to be stewards of the Earth.

Genesis 2:15: The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

He commanded Adam to serve and preserve the Earth. This was His first command to the first human on Earth.

What happened?

The Hebrew word that is used for keep in Genesis 2:15 is Shamar.

Shamar- loving, caring, sustaining, keeping

It is the same word used in Numbers 6:24 “The Lord bless you and keep you.”

So…. we are supposed to keep the Earth in the very same way we hope God will keep us. The very same way we hope God will love, care for, and sustain us….

Hmm… How are we doing?

We are putting carcinogens in toothpaste… we are spraying our crops with pesticides that are linked to hormonal issues (studies are showing that this same pesticide is causing male frogs to become female)… OH and our big, amazing solution for the oil spill in the Gulf is to spray toxic chemical dispersant into the water that causes the oil to ball up and sink below the surface.

What would it look like if God cared for us this way? Would God spray chemicals on our problems and just let our problems sink below the surface a bit so they aren’t quite so visible? Our problems would still be there… but we’d sure look pretty!

Heaven forbid God care for, love and sustain us the way we care for the Earth.

We are using the Earth like it can’t fail.. we take it for granted. Notice my use of  the word WE… it’s because I’m just as guilty … it stings as I type these things. The way we treat the Earth should be a major extension of our faith.

If God’s command to Adam is not enough, what about the Golden Rule?

What about the second most important commandment? Loving your Neighbor as yourself.

How do you define the word neighbor? I’ve been struggling with this as of late… are our neighbors the ones immediately around us? Or do our neighbors include the whole human family? Or do our neighbors include future generations… our furture children and grandchildren?

Or should we define “neighbor” as creation in it’s entirety?

Hey neighbor, here’s some toxic toothpaste that will increase your chances for cancer.

Why hello there neighbor, here’s some smoke in the air.. breathe it deep into your lungs.

Greetings neighbor, here’s a nice layer of chemicals on your food, the run off is gonna get in the waterways.. and then into your drinking water.. and eventually into the rain. But don’t worry… it may just screw with your hormones a bit, and possibly cause you to have fertility issues.. OH YEAH, and by the way… if you manage to have children, those chemicals are gonna be in your amniotic fluid.. so yeah.. it’s gonna effect your child too..

WHAT ARE WE DOING TO ONE ANOTHER??

Deuteronomy 28:1: And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.

Deuteronomy 28: 15-21 : But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.

Tough words to swallow, yeah?

I feel like these verses are a warning of what will happen if we do not take care of the Earth properly. I don’t think these are things God sends on us… but consequences of our own actions. These curses are the pollution in our land, the chemicals in our drinking water, rain, and amniotic fluid, they are the disappearing wetlands in Southern Louisiana…. they are the diseases that are side effects from our man made attempts to cut corners…

The Green Care Devotional Bible: God created humans to live as a harmonious part of the created order, as the caretakers of all that God made. When we as human beings forget that calling, the earth pays the price. Famine, drought, disease– these are not part of God’s intentions for the earth. They are what come from human selfishness and greed. When we pollute the air, the rain becomes toxic. When we pollute the water, the earth becomes toxic. When we pollute the earth, the earth’s resources become toxic. And when the earth suffers, people suffer. Our disobedience brings about devastation.

We have to stop this madness. Or at least attempt to.

Now back to carcinogens being in my toothpaste… The Last Straw.

When I found out there were carcinogens in my toothpaste, it was as if God took me by the face and said, “Now, Listen to me.” I was awakened from my apathetic, glazed over state.

If you know me well, you know this whole cancer thing isn’t a distant thing.. but something that hits home, and has effected the core of who I am. I knew someone who did nothing of his own volition to get cancer. He was healthy… he loved nature to the core of his being. But.. he got cancer.. the doctors couldn’t really pin point how he got it.. but the fact is he did, and he suffered greatly.. and so did everyone who loved him.

Usually the first reaction to cancer is to look to the sky and ask WHY? It becomes all God’s fault, or we convince ourselves  that there isn’t a God… because why would God be the creator of everything good AND cancer?

God didn’t put the carcinogens into fruits and vegetables.. God didn’t spray pesticides on our corn and expect us to deal with the disease… God didn’t make our air toxic, and our rain water full of chemicals…

WE have done all of that… In our pursuit of what?

Money?

Convenience?

And why the heck are the prices jacked up on all the organic / healthy options???

The system is such that those who are less fortunate don’t even have the choice to eat healthily. They don’t have access to Whole Foods or organic, locally grown food. They have to get the cheap heavily processed foods chocked full of chemicals and preservatives.

Also, I don’t want to forget that there are people that make their living off of using pesticides on their crops… their livelihood depends on using these chemicals and toxins…. They have to feed and take care of their families…

What are they supposed to do?

This is not a simple issue to fix, there are people’s lives invested on both sides of the issue…

it is a complex issue.. and I can’t stress that enough…

It’s a screwed up, flawed world… and it’s not OK.

These are things that have been swimming around in my head…

I have to do something about it. This is my challenge and my call this year.. and the rest of my life.. to do my best to figure out how to fight this in my own life. This is why God has brought me to New Orleans, I’m certain of it.

I would be amiss if I did not mention sources I used in this blog:

Three Biblical Principles For Environmental Stewardship by: Dr. Calvin B. DeWitt

Love Your Neighbor by: Peter Sawtell Executive Director of Eco-Justice Ministries

The Green Bible Devotional: A Book of Daily Readings by: Harper Bibles

This blog strictly my opinion, and does not reflect the ideas of the YAV program, or the Presbyterian Church USA.

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3 Responses to “Toxic Toothpaste”

  1. Kim September 30, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    great post!!! great read! Can i repost?

    • lulu52288 September 30, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

      Thank you!! yes mam, go for it! 🙂

  2. Lisa Wright October 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    You’ve got my attention, once again. I know that there are certain things in food and in the water, but what can I do about it? I can at the very least change my toothpaste and boycott the things that I know are unhealthy! So what toothpaste are you using?
    xxoo mamacita

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