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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Daniel

A lot of American produce comes from California, including avocados, which the California Avocado Commission concludes may be protective against breast cancer. The California Prune Board convinced the FDA to rename prunes “dried plums.”

The California legislature has attempted to increase public awareness regarding the amount of pesticides and heavy metal toxin contaminants in food with its “Proposition 65” initiative, which requires warning labels on potentially harmful products, including things like fish oil and nutritional yeast. Despite the warnings, California children’s exposure to chemicals such as flame retardant pollutants, arsenic, banned pesticides, and dioxins is among the highest in the world. Not only are California children contaminated, but women’s breast tissue samples were found to contain ten times more industrial toxins than women tested in any other part of the world (although California seaweed and soy eaters may be at a decreased risk for breast cancer). The state has also sought to decrease the use of caramel coloring, which may be carcinogenic.

California lawmakers also broached the idea of requiring doctors, as part of their continuing education, to receive nutritional training to better serve their patients. Unfortunately the California Medical Association opposed the bill, along with other mainstream medical groups; eventually the bill passed, but only after it took out any nutritional education requirements.

California is home to a population that has the distinction of having remarkable longevity—comparable to those in Japan who, for the most part, abide by a plant-based diet. The vegetarian Adventists of Loma Linda, California have perhaps the longest life expectancy of any population formerly studied.


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