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An inspiring speaker at CAND's Health Fusion Conference
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An inspiring speaker at CAND's Health Fusion Conference
29-Sep-11, 11:50 AM

 It’s been a very busy summer for the Canadian Naturopathic Foundation (CNF) and our new web site, From encouraging more visitors to check out the site, to securing funding for some of the Foundation’s important programs, there was little time to act on the advice I usually impart to my family and friends: “Take time to relax, reflect and de-stress”. Be assured, it’s still high on my list of things to do this fall.

This latest blog installment is long overdue. However, I did not want any more time to go by before telling you about an inspiring speaker I had the pleasure to see at the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors Health Fusion Conference on June 24 in Calgary.
Author and environmentalist Rick Smith wrote a groundbreaking book with co-author Bruce Lourie called Slow Death By Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects our Health. OK, not a cheery subject, but Rick’s presentation was both highly informative and at times very amusing. If you haven’t had a chance to read this national bestseller exposé on how we are all absorbing a plethora of potentially harmful chemicals simply by sitting on our couch or taking a bath with our favourite rubber duck, I urge you to do so right away. It may be the best step you take towards achieving better health this year.
Through a series of slides featuring rubber ducks disguised as famous celebrities, Rick took us through the dangers of common chemicals like phthalates, bisphenol A, triclosan and many others that we would be hard-pressed to avoid unless we knew what to look for. He also discussed alternative products easily available on the Canadian market.
But life being what it is, being a consumer still comes down to difficult choices. I had to laugh when Rick explained his dilemma while making a late night run to the local supermarket for some family supplies. When it came to buying the ketchup, he had a choice of certified organic ketchup in a plastic bottle (no pesticides or GMOs, but high in phthalates aka plastic-softeners that leech into the ketchup), another ketchup, made from locally grown tomatoes, but also in a plastic bottle (same problem plus potential pesticides), and the leading brand non-organic ketchup in a glass bottle (tomatoes from far away, and definitely pesticides but no chemicals from plastics). The dilemma! Well you had to be there, but it was a great example of the complex choices consumers like us have to make every day.
Sometimes living healthy comes down to the lesser of two, or in this case three, evils. Rick went with the organic ketchup in the plastic bottle.   But we did have to wonder why the organic ketchup was not in a glass bottle!   
Rick’s presentation underlines the importance of  taking extra time to read the label, or check out the packaging of everything you are purchasing. Taking care to learn about what we eat, the cosmetics we use, the homecare products we clean with, is all a part of healthy living and learning.
Wishing you a safe and healthy Fall.

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