Things to be paranoid about

  • Plastic
  • chemicals
  • sunscreen
  • organic food
  • artificial sweeteners

The problem with a lot of these things isn’t that the research says one thing or another but that the research doesn’t KNOW.

With something like standard vaccines, we know and there’s good research and a long track record (yes, we’ve read the research and we are pro-)… this other stuff, we really don’t.  There may be small bad effects that affect certain sub-populations or that are dangerous in large quantities.  Research on small animals is mixed, etc.  It’s just really hard to say one way or the other whether this stuff is completely safe or not.

What I generally do is avoid what I can but don’t freak out if I can’t avoid it.  Unless I’m pregnant or nursing… then I seem to care a bit more.  Dratted hormones.

So we don’t use plastic if there’s a better alternative.  Our glasses are glass and our bottles are metal.  For cleaning we mainly use vinegar and seventh generation stuff, which also has the direct benefit of not hurting my sensitive skin.  For sunscreen we pay extra for the better rated sunblock.  For food we lean towards whole foods and avoid additives.  We buy organic when it isn’t too much more expensive or when the item is listed on a dirty dozen list.  We avoid artificial sweeteners mainly because they taste nasty, but we’d avoid them anyway, sticking with things that don’t require sweetening or small amounts of sugar or fruit juice.

Some of these things do seem to have direct benefits even when the science is mixed.  HFCS is very controversial, but when I stopped eating foods with it I immediately felt better.  Whether that’s the HFCS or all the correlated things they put into processed foods that also happen to have HFCS, I can’t say.  Sometimes it doesn’t matter if it’s correlation or causation, you just need an indicator of what to avoid.  Cutting out HFCS also helped me cut down on sugar intake because my sweetness craving went down.  (Not saying most people need to cut sugar– I have specific insulin problems.)

With these uncertain things, we don’t tend to know WHAT is actually making the difference, but we do know that people who eat healthy fresh unprocessed foods and exercise and stay out of direct sun and etc. etc. etc. have better health outcomes.  Is it because they don’t take the marshmallow?  Or because they have less stress?  Or health insurance?  We really can’t say.  So if it doesn’t hurt to do a bundle of things correlated with healthy outcomes even if we don’t know what actually causes the healthy outcomes, well, why not.  On the other hand, it doesn’t make sense to make too many sacrifices for uncertain science.

Moderation in all things.  Plus, we know long-term stress has direct bad outcomes on health.  So do what you can and don’t stress about the rest.

What are you paranoid about?  Nothing?  Have your paranoias changed over time?


56 Responses to “Things to be paranoid about”

  1. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    #2 says, I really hate healthy fresh unprocessed foods and exercise. I like my HFCS, and my MSG too. It makes food taste like delicious. I use plastic everything.

    Once again, Penny Arcade speaks for me:

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      MSG gives me a headache. I used to really like processed foods, then I had to stop eating them. Now they taste artificial and I wonder what I used to like. I still like Cheetos though.

      But hey, isn’t it great you’re eating healthier this month? Maybe you’ll start feeling better too. Enjoy those greens.

      • Trish Says:

        msg gives me a headache too, as does aspartame, which is interesting because they are both modified amino acids. I always notice that msg containing foods, like some canned soups, leave a really strong and lingering aftertaste

      • Comrade PhysioProf Says:

        MSG is not a “modified” amino acid. It is an ordinary naturally occurring amino acid: the sodium salt of glutamic acid.

  2. hush Says:

    shower curtain liners and rain boots that reek of plastic
    the inexplicable appeal of Ke$ha’s music
    maraschino cherries
    cell phones held up to my ear
    The Rapture
    coyotes attacking my dogs and children
    nail polish fumes around pregnant women and children

  3. becca Says:

    I went out and bought happy titanium dioxide sunscreen after reading about it after you posted. Then what do they do? Release the ‘cell phones cause cancer’ shenanigans. Which caused me to go look up that cancer category… In which is Titanium Dioxide. So is the appropriate question in this case maybe not “does it cause cancer?” but “what causes the least cancer, sunscreen A, sunblock B or the sun?” Keeping in mind that the sun also burns my skin pretty bad. Stupid firey death ball.

    I am strangely paranoid about sharing utensils with my kid. Two reasons:
    1) bad tooth germs (seriously, in some of the mountains of parenting advice I ran across, it appears that they do not recommend mouth kissing or sharing utensils because you will end up giving your kids bad teeth germs that will become their microflora for the rest of their lives and rot their chompers right outta their little heads. Yeah. Paranoid.)
    2) Teh herpes. (seriously, herpes is like a recipe for paranoia).

    Also, I can’t smell gasoline fumes without wondering what they are doing to me.

  4. First Gen American Says:

    Everything is a chemical, so saying avoiding chemicals is kind of vague. I think you mean you like to avoid most solvents.

    I’m okay with a number of plastics. It just depends on which kind it is. Some are more robust than others. I generally don’t like my water smelling or tasting like plastic, but not all of them do that.

    I have IBS so a whole variety of things give me stomach aches including artificial sweeteners, caffeine, coffee, greasy fried foods, eating too much processed junk. It’s almost like having shock therapy. After a while, you just don’t want to eat those things anymore because you don’t want to suffer the consequences.

    I posted today about buying more local and whole foods. It has so many benefits. The main one is that they taste better and if they’re local, they’re fresher and you support the little guy in many cases.

    My girlfriend gets heart palpitations when she eats anything with MSG.

    I’m not sure about HFCS..I think generally stuff that has it in there is filled with other junk too so it’s hard to tell what’s making you feel icky.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      IBS sounds like taking metformin (an insulin sensitizing medication)– when you eat badly while taking it you either throw up or suffer the consequences from the other end.

      I actually can’t stand the taste of HFCS anymore. Before I just knew that Mexican coke tastes better. Now I can’t handle eating HFCS in cookies. Sugar has a better flavor. I also don’t like agave nectar. But honey is nummy. (Not that I should be eating any of the above.)

  5. Linda Says:

    I use plastic quite a bit. I carry my breakfast and lunch to the office via public transit; since I’m also toting a laptop back and forth every day, I want to keep my load as light as possible and glass containers would be too heavy. My water bottle that I always carry (a Kleen Kanteen) is metal, though. I don’t like water to taste like plastic.

    I think I’ve gotten less paranoid about stuff as I’ve gotten older. Just a couple weeks ago at a party, a gardening friend and I were asked by a newbie gardener how much she should worry about planting edibles in city soil. Especially in older parts of the city like her neighborhood, the soil is likely to be contaminated with lead and other heavy metals. My friend and I just sort of shrugged and told her that if you garden in the city you have to give up the notion of pristine, organic conditions even if you choose to garden organically yourself. My friend has neighbors that spray pesticides just a few feet away from her garden beds; I noted that in the height of the West Nile Virus scare, the city would send trucks around at night to spray insecticide into the air. You just have no control over this stuff.

    Why are so many scared of herpes? Roughly 80% of the population is carrying one of the herpes viruses; neither one will kill you. If I had to be scared of any virus, it’s the one that causes shingles. I had chicken pox as a kid so I’m at risk of having shingles, and I know two people my age (early to mid-forties) who have had it lately. It sounds like an awful experience.

    • Cloud Says:

      There is a vaccine you can get for shingles. One less thing to worry about!

      • Linda Says:

        From the CDC website:
        “Your risk for getting shingles begins to rise around age 50. However, shingles vaccine (Zostavax) is only recommended for persons age 60 and older because the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine were only studied in this age group.”

        I’m not 60 yet, so I doubt any doc would give me the vaccine. Since the two people I know who have had shingles recently are in their 40s like me, I feel quite vulnerable now. Dare I say I’m paranoid? Maybe.

      • Lara Says:

        In my experience, there is an antiviral that works well prescribed by a general practice doctor. Having adequate levels of B12 can help in recovery (after antivirals have been taken) and may prevent a recurrence. It’s not fun, but not something I would worry about. Rare in young people, generally seen in those 80 plus. When it does occur in young people, they generally have compromised immune systems. For up to date medical knowledge check with your physician.

  6. Cloud Says:

    I have yet to see anyone propose a biochemically plausible mechanism for how HFCS behaves differently in the body than sucrose, and the best I can think of myself is that maybe there are “sweet” receptors on our tongues that specifically recognize the sucrose molecule, so we unconsciously eat more HFCS to get the same taste. But that is a wild-ass guess with no data to support it. So I think that the benefits of cutting out HFCS come mainly from the reduction in sugar intake or some other co-ingredient that is often found with HFCS.

    That said, I try to watch my sugar intake, and I have no genetic reason to do so. Except that those are empty calories that make me fat!

    I’m on the fence about things like BPA, etc. I once saw a survey of toxicologists where they were asked to rate the likely harmful effects of a list of things, and BPA was near the bottom. My biggest worry there is that whatever we’re replacing it with is untested, too- so who knows if it is better? We can’t switch to glass because day care won’t accept that.

    Anyway, to answer your question, I think my biggest paranoia like this is for soy products for babies and toddlers. Often, the very same people who are worried about the endocrine disrupting potential of BPA happily feed their kids a lot of soy… which has natural estrogen like compounds. I don’t get that.

    We eat soy, but in moderation, and I’m in no hurry to switch my kids to soy milk. If I had to cut dairy, I’d probably go to rice milk.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It doesn’t matter to me if HFCS is bad or not– it’s a good indicator of crappy food!

      With PCOS (which is an endocrine problem… possibly) I have almost eliminated soy from my diet and would never give it to my child (though we don’t stress out about tofu cubes when eating out– everything in moderation). I seriously don’t understand why so many women whose kids don’t have any problems with cow milk switch to soy milk. They’d be better off switching to water! No phyto-estrogens for us!

    • becca Says:

      Fructose is actually *sweeter* on the tongue than glucose. So, in theory, you would need less HFCS than sucrose. In the long run, that might be worse, because you might just ‘break’ your sweet taste sensitivity (although all the data I’ve heard on that is anecdotal, I’ve heard it from a great many sources. Whether it’s perception in the tongue or hedonism/memory associations in the brain I haven’t a clue but I think it does exist as a phenomenon).

      So as for the biochemistry- first, the meaningful difference is between fructose and glucose. Second, sucrose is 50% fructose, and “high-fructose” corn syrup is only about 55%- so the difference is not enormous. Thus, if you have very small quantities of added sugar in your diet (which is probably good in terms of not consuming ’empty’ calories), the question of whether you got it from HFCS or table sugar probably shouldn’t be something to be paranoid about.
      That said, many of us have diets with high levels of added sugars. And there is a meaningful biochemical difference- cells all over your body (including your brain) Nom on glucose (NOMONOMNOM). Basically only your liver can Nom on fructose. So the concern is that your liver can get overloaded (fatty liver disease is one of the concerns that comes up in relation to HFCS). In addition, I think the degree of insulin released might not be the same (or it might not be released with the same kinetics), which could lead to various disruptions in that signaling pathway- kind of suspicious when you’ve got so many people with insulin resistance.

      Also, natural soy products are generally very good for you if you are XX. It kills boy brains though (kidding! sort of. Oh the debates we used to have in the Hippie House about this one…). I’m pretty worried about the antibiotics and hormones in the dairy milk I can actually afford. I like… almond milk though. But it’s super high in added sweetners.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Right, except the products that have HFCS are purposefully sweeter– they put more sugars (of whatever kind in them) because they’re intended to be much sweeter products. So even if less HFCS is needed to get the same amount of sweetness, HFCS have greater sweetness anyway. Possibly because sugar and grape juices are more expensive, possibly because it is a way to segment the market (possibly both).

        You can make your own almond milk! But other than for cereal, I’m not really sure why there’s such a push for milk of any type.

      • Cloud Says:

        We buy organic milk because of the antibiotic use in non-organic dairy cows. I don’t worry about any residual antibiotics in the milk impacting me, although maybe I should. I just think our overuse of antibiotics in agricultural is incredibly stupid and short-sighted, and I don’t want to support it with my money if I can help it.

        So we buy organic milk, organic or antibiotic-free meat and eggs. It is definitely more expensive, though.

        I don’t worry at all about the bovine growth hormone, because it is a peptide that is almost certainly destroyed in my stomach. But I don’t get any, as a buy product of my pointless one-woman stand about antibiotics.

        And are the natural soy products good for XX’s who are still developing? Since we don’t eat that much soy, I’ve never looked at the data. It would seem that if we’re worried about the estrogen-like effects of BPA, though, that the estrogen-like effects of soy are much bigger.

      • Linda Says:

        Almond milk is available unsweetened! (Hooray!) I need to stay away from cow dairy due to sensitivities, and I choose to steer clear of soy most of the time, too. I’ve heard it can be bad for me to eat lots of soy with my hypothyroidism. Rice milk is so thin and watery, but I love unsweetened almond milk.

        Why any milk at all? Well, I use it for these purposes: a smoothie base, baking, and with tea. That’s pretty much it. I don’t drink “milk” or even eat cold cereal very often, but many times milk is necessary for baking!

  7. bogart Says:

    I’m probably far less paranoid than I need to be, perhaps because I’m cynical about how much difference all the stuff we do makes a difference (for most of us most of the time, I’m not saying no one needs special precautions). Or maybe I’m just lazy. As one example, I’m disturbingly lax about rinsing off fruit and veggies (not about washing the stuff that has actual dirt on it, like lettuce and potatoes, but rather, about things like fruit or, say, snap peas). Because really, what is the probability that (a) rinsing such things under water actually removes an important quantity of pesticide residues and/or (b) that doing so will remove the truly dangerous EColi. My understanding of the latter is that we actually know the answer and that it is basically zero — rinsing does not help; if anyone can point to clinical studies of (a) I’d be interested to see them because I really would like to know.

    I am marginally careful to buy my “stored” (not fresh) veggies frozen rather than canned, as I believe doing so does significantly reduce exposure to BPAs and at basically no cost. But we don’t own metal bottles, except my kid, who has one because someone gave it to him. Slack, I know, but I haven’t found one I really like, and the ones I mostly like seem disturbingly expensive (I don’t buy bottled plastic water, I refill).

    OTOH I am currently agonizing about whether to take a car seat on a planned trip that involves flying somewhere and then renting a car (and if so what kind of seat to take), or to use a Ride Safe Travel Vest.

    • Cloud Says:

      We’ve done both. If you plan to rent a carseat on arrival, make really, really sure that there will be an appropriate carseat waiting for you. Your average rental car employee seems to be really confused about what sort of carseat a young toddler can ride in.

      Once my older daughter was about 3, we bought one of the harness things that converts airplane seatbelts to a 5 point harness, so that we don’t have to lug her carseat on board.

      Our last long trip, we used the harness for the then 3 year old, the travel vest for the then 9 month old, checked the 3 year old’s car seat (it is a Sunshine kids, so it folds flat into its own travel bag, but is really heavy), and rented a car seat for the 9 month old.

      • bogart Says:

        Thanks, Cloud. The one possibility I’ve already ruled out is renting the car seat — dubious of it’s provenance and appropriateness, *and* doing so costs more: lose/lose.

        If the vest you mean is the CARES harness that is for airline travel, I used that once but didn’t like it (happily I’d only rented it over ebay rather than buying). The thing I have now isn’t approved for airlines (honestly, I’m OK with sticking my DS in a lapbelt for that. I know it’s not ideal.) but is approved for cars. I’m just not sure how its safety compares to that of a belt-positioning booster, which is the other option I’m considering. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much (i.e. any) good data available comparing the two.

      • Cloud Says:

        Yes, the CARES harness. I don’t think it works well until the kid reaches some minimum (and undocumented) height. It worked great for us.

        I think we have the vest, too. It clips onto your seatbelt, for a lap baby? That worked less well for us. My baby wanted to be too mobile. I think it would work great for really little babies, though. But if you’re talking about using a belt-positioning booster instead, that has got to be something different.

        If you haven’t already got a car seat, the Sunshine Kids ones rock for airplane travel. They are thin profile, so fit easily in the seat. They are easy to install in any car with latch- as all rental cars have. We have a travel bag with shoulder strap for ours. Of course, it is heavy. But my husband is usually the one schlepping it, since I am usually the one the baby insists should hold her and my first rule of airplane travel with kids is “don’t pick fights you don’t have to have”.

        If you already have a different car seat, I’ve seen the strap on wheels work really well. but I’ve also seen families struggle to get a big carseat to fit in a tiny airplane seat.

        Bottom line is that traveling with kids is just a PITA, no way around it.

      • bogart Says:

        Cloud — thanks again. It’s certainly possible my LO was too L when we tried the CARES; the problem I ran into, though, was that the plane we flew on (I forget size/type) had (slightly) bucket-style seats so that the part of the harness that goes around the seat sort of stuck out. Not perilous, but irritating. And the absence of a crotch strap left DS skipping down, sort of defeating the idea. But no, the harness we have now isn’t the lapbaby type you’re thinking of, it’s basically a belt-positioning device that sits on the kid rather than being a seat, and it’s approved to the same standard as carseats for kids it fits (basically must be at least 3 and at least 30#). We use an Evenflo Triumph seat, which I really like but I think it may be too bulky for the airplane seats (I need to check); the Sunshine you recommend looks lovely, but the price — yikes! I was eyeing the Cosco Scenara (at $40) as the alternative for this trip! And I do agree about the PITA part, much of which is unavoidable, but some of which (e.g. clueless car rental agents, airplanes that won’t accommodate many car seats … we could address (er, just to return us to the IBTP theme).

      • Cloud Says:

        Yes, Sunshine Kids seats are stupidly expensive. But this is what happens when you decide to let your engineer husband be in charge of picking car seats.

      • bogart Says:

        Ah, well, were I starting from scratch (buying our main carseat) I might consider that but for a one-week trip, no.

    • bogart Says:

      Er … just to follow up to my own query, I connected with a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician who says the RSTV (Ride Safe Travel Vest) is a good choice for a kid with my DS’s specs — 4 y.o. 42″ 38# . So, am going to use it since I already have it. Anyone looking for a portable and/or fittable (in a small car alongside carseats, e.g. someone needing to fit 3 kids into the back of a small car) option, I’d recommend this as a good option to explore.

  8. MutantSupermodel Says:

    I’m in the “not as paranoid” group. It’s just exhausting. The only thing I’m paranoid about is roaches. *gag*

  9. Dr. O Says:

    I hate sleeping on the side of the bed that’s closest to the window in hotel room, but I’m not all that paranoid of products. I still eat fast food, but stick to the kiddie meals cuz the regular ones are too ginormous. I eat a few things with HFCS, but generally stay away from processed foods at home cuz I like to cook fresh. I drnk maybe one diet soda every few weeks. I even kept using my BPA-loaded Nalgene water bottle until my brother swiped it after I got pregnant – he was afraid his nephew would be born with two heads. Now I have one that’s BPA-free. I figure most of the bad stuff out there is really bad when it becomes a principle part of our lives/diet. Everything in moderation…

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      So, are you afraid of falling out or that someone will get in? (Does it matter what floor you’re on?)

    • bogart Says:

      Oh … I do always check fire exits, often including actually using them (i.e. descending, making sure all relevant doors are truly unlocked, etc.), when I’m staying overnight in new locations, e.g. hotels. So, I’d be fine next to the window but would want to know how to get out.

      So far in my ~4 decades I’ve stayed in precisely 2 places where I thought, “if this place goes up in flames, I’m doomed.” Neither of those was in the US, but one of my stepkids did actually live (in the US) in a companion unit to a condo that did go up in flames and in which 5 residents died because it turned out that the single wooden staircase leading into the place really was the only way in or out. Horrifically tragic and a good illustration that while US fire/building codes are often good, they aren’t always — I had just assumed that said residence had a fire escape, dumb, dumb, dumb.

  10. Everyday Tips Says:

    Not too paranoid except now about stupid germs. I freak out if I know someone didn’t wash their hands after they use the bathroom. Totally makes me view them differently.

    Also, can’t use anything that was anywhere near the sink. If something falls in the sink, it goes in the garbage, even if I just cleaned it.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I found that after having a kid I cared less about germs and more about potentially harmful chemicals.

      There’s just something about being too tired to pick food up off the kitchen floor that the toddler just dropped and letting the toddler eat it anyway. (Please don’t call CPS– the kid is a lot bigger now!)

      Though it would be gross not to wash hands after using the restroom or before cooking. Yick.

  11. Practical Parsimony Says:

    *Showers because of Psycho…never shower, just take baths.
    *Birds because of Birds…Hitchcock knew how to push my buttons
    *Soy…avoid it
    *BPA…worry lots, use only about three cans of food each week.
    *Nitrites and nitrates…father and his mother died of pancreatic cancer. I love hotdogs but rarely eat them.
    *So, I avoid chemicals and even chemical smells or fumes.
    *hfcs…enough said already
    *bridges…I just know the other side I cannot see is gone, plus the height bothers me.
    *flying, but I still will fly. I just board the plane calmly, knowing that today I will die and I can do nothing about it. When I don’t die and back on terra firma, I just assume I will die on the return flight. I am not a white-knuckle flyer. I am very calm and accepting of my pending demise.
    *Most of the food I eat, except what I grow which will not keep the proverbial bird alive.
    *I also bury toenail clippings so no one can put a hex on me…just kidding.

    • Lindy Mint Says:

      I second the birds. London’s Trafalgar Square is my nightmare.

      • Practical Parsimony Says:

        Let’s make that birds sitting on a power line. Other than that one thing they do, sitting on power lines, I am okay with birds.

      • bogart Says:

        Was recently there. Trafalgar Square bird population now much less than it was in my childhood. I think they’ve put an end to feeding the pigeons there, so the concentration has dwindled.

    • Debbie M Says:

      Practical Parsimony, I love that you’re so polite about your deathly fear of flying. It’s heroic really. I hope I never have the opportunity to copy your heroism, but if I do get that opportunity, I hope I take it.

      Also, you might like to know that it is now easier to find hotdogs without nitrites and nitrates these days (in grocery stores).

      • Practical Parsimony Says:

        I try not to worry other passengers on a plane. But, once when I was driving to Mobile with a friend, I discovered I would have to go through a tunnel to get to Mobile. I talked about it and fretted and my friend just laughed. Finally, she said, “Will you just shut up. Now I am scared to death that the tunnel will collapse and I will die.

        Those good hotdogs probably won’t taste like real hotdogs. I prefer the ones with lots of red dye. King Cotton, made in Memphis are the best. Zeigler, what I can get, are next best. They had King Cotton here, and I tried to convert people so they would keep them stocked. Didn’t happen. .

      • Debbie M Says:

        True. The nitrate-free hotdogs usually taste more like sausage than the red dye hotdogs do. Definitely a problem. (I don’t like the red-dye ones, but I do like some other ones that aren’t as sausage-y tasting.)

  12. Lindy Mint Says:

    I heard an NPR program about BPA and now I purchase very few canned foods and am a saint about washing my hands after touching receipts.

    I stopped eating/drinking as much soy after all the reports of brain damage, etc…but both my kids were given soy formula (out of a can, no less), so I can’t be too paranoid after the fact or I’ll go crazy.

    After my mom got cancer, I started making changes to some of the products I use – zinc free deodorant, paraben free shampoo, etc.

    Speaking of cancer, my mom and her sister both got it within a year of each other (neither one tested positive for the breast cancer gene). When it comes to diets and habits, their lives are completely opposite. My aunt drinks a lot more wine, yet eats all natural and organic foods, no meat, uses very few makeup or hair products. My mom nibbles on sugar foods all day, eats no vegetables, doesn’t drink as much, has always been a product junkie. It’s hard to look at the both of them and say that their habits can predict cancer. Who knows?

  13. Trish Says:

    rodents! I have mice coming into my old country house like crazy lately, and the result is that I’m going crazy. and I have a raccoon using my barn as a bed-and breakfast (are raccoons rodents?). Raccoons have a protozoan in their poop that can cause serious problems for horses if they (raccoons) poop in a field that is harvested for hay. and of course mice carry the plague and hantavirus!!!!

  14. Debbie M Says:

    In general, I’m not paranoid of the slow poisons. Probably because I have a strong stomach, have no sign of diabetes (yet, besides genetics), am lucky in other ways, and am dumb like a teenager because, you know, it’s no fun to worry.

    I do use cleaners, toothpaste, and sunscreen with fewer than average poisons, though. And I get dairy without growth hormones (hey, even the cheapo milks in my area are now advertising this), even if I have to buy organic to do so.

    The biggest change for me has been learning about some of the things that go on behind the scenes of things I buy. It all starts with learning where meat comes from. Next thing you know, you realize no one knows what’s going on because a) we don’t want to know, b) the manufacturers don’t want us to know and occasionally c) the manufacturers didn’t realize. And everything you buy or consume is causing evil in some way.

    Well, I’m a human and can’t make my own energy, so I have to settle for being a killer, like all non plants. But there are different levels of evil.
    1. Destroying the planet.
    2. Torturing life forms with feelings, then killing them young.
    3. Torturing life forms with feelings.
    4. Mistreating life forms with feelings, then killing them young.
    5. Mistreating life forms with feelings.
    6. Slowly poisoning life forms.
    One could also argue that humans are more important than other mammals (i.e., have more feelings), mammals more important than other animals, and animals (except for some hated ones) more important than other life forms (plants, fungi, bacteria–or whatever the other kingdoms are these days).

    Unfortunately, there are also different levels of sacrifice. For example, I’m unwilling to stop doing lots of things that (probably) destroy the ozone layer (such as taking motorized transportation and using air conditioning). But I am willing to buy only shade-grown chocolate (which does not destroy its patch of rain forest after only three growing seasons).

    So that’s the direction my paranoia takes these days.

    Oh, I do worry slightly about fires (I have a smoke detector and I have fire extinguishers near all exterior doors and near all windows that aren’t near these doors). I worry a little about floods (I have flood insurance and keep my most valuable things on higher bookshelves than my other things). I worry a little about thugs (checking the back seat before getting in the car). I wear a seat belt in cars, a helmet on bikes. Basically I usually try to do the obvious things everyone knows about so I’m not a complete idiot asking for trouble.

  15. Little House Says:

    I don’t consider myself paranoid. Because if I actually sat down and thought up a list of everything I should be paranoid about, I’d end up enclosed in a bubble! I’d much rather live life oblivious and part of society. ;)

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