Jackie Bowen, the Executive Director of the Clean Label Project, discusses the link between chronic illnesses like cancer, and low-level toxic contamination of our food, vitamins, sunscreens, and other products. Bowen informs us that the predominant “food borne illness” focus of the Food & Drug Administration, with rapid response protocols for containing Listeria, E. coli, Salmonella, and other pathogens is necessary but insufficient. We need comprehensive and systemic focus on long-term exposure to toxins such as lead (a neurotoxic carcinogen), cadmium, Bisphenol A (BPA), Dioxins, Phthalates, Perchlorate, and dangerous pesticides like Atrazine, Organophosphates, and Glyphosate. The Clean Label Project provides such analysis.
Covering products such as baby food, protein powders, edible oils, prenatal vitamins, sunscreen, and even pet food, the Clean Label Project conducts scientific, data-driven analysis, and shares its results with the public. Their “Best & Worst” listings show the most contaminated and least contaminated products in each category – a tremendous public resource that allows consumers to get informed and decide for ourselves.
Jackie also discusses the impacts of in utero exposure to toxins, often compounded by early childhood exposure from contaminated baby food, water, paints, and fire retardants, and the direct connection with decreased cognitive function and IQ, increased hyperactivity, increased conditions like autism, decreased immune function, increased allergies, increased infertility, and increased behavioral disorders. As a society, we are the unwitting guinea pigs in a century-long toxification of our food, water, and household products, and it is wreaking havoc on our communities and society.
Jackie also emphasizes the importance of eating organic foods high in antioxidant compounds as well as carefully selecting the products that we choose to buy, consume, and share with our families. She reminds us that each dollar we spend on healthy, organic food, is a vote made in our massive, complex food and product industries for decreased toxicity and increased health and wellness.
Jaclyn Bowen MPH, MS is a food and consumer products quality and safety systems engineer and executive director of Clean Label Project, a national non-profit and standards development organization with the mission to bring truth and transparency to food and consumer product labeling. Before coming to Clean Label Project, Jaclyn held numerous technical, standards development, food safety, quality, and executive roles within the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre, NSF International. Her expertise is in organic, gluten-free, non-gmo labeling, food safety, and label claim substantiation and compliance. Bowen authored one of the most comprehensive peer-reviewed studies of heavy metals in America’s top-selling infant formulas and baby foods in America. Bowen and Clean Label Project have appeared on NBC, ABC, CNN, ‘The Doctors’, ‘Dr. Oz’, ‘Dr. Drew’ and 450+ print and online media outlets including USA Today and Huff Post. Bowen holds a Bachelors of Science in environmental biology from Michigan State University, a Master of Science in quality engineering from Eastern Michigan University and a Master of Public Health in management and policy from University of Michigan.