We celebrate our nation’s independence each July 4. Independence is good when it means freedom from bad stuff. In 2013, however, there are some areas where we shouldn’t be so cocksure. Perhaps we took freedom too far. It gave us the right to make bad choices. There are some things we allow in the United States that are banned in Europe and other countries.

Bad stuff banned in Europe (and other parts of the world) but okay in the U.S. of A.

GMOs Start the list with a modern threat. Most European (and Japan) nations don’t want anything to do with genetically modified organisms in food or elsewhere. In the United States we allow GMOs everywhere, without even requiring that the public be notified. You’re eating Frankenfood all the time, without knowing it.

Antibiotics in our food chain. Europe bans antibiotics that are used in human medicine for use with livestock. In the U.S., nearly 80 percent of all antibiotics used go into our cattle, pigs and chickens — whether they need them or not, usually not. Antibiotics make them grow bigger faster. It also leads to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and a host of other problems.

Big Pharma selling drugs direct to consumers. The U.S. is the only country (along with tiny New Zealand, pop. four million) in the world that allows drug companies to push drugs directly to the consumer on television. It wasn’t legal in the U.S. before 1986 and it’s now out of control. You won’t see drug ads on TV in Europe or anywhere else for that matter.

Fluoridated water. Nearly all municipal water systems in the U.S. add fluoride. It’s available as a prescription drug but you can get it free at your tap, whether you like it or not. Continental Europe bans it for health, moral, ethical and political reasons. Critics in the U.S. say its mass medication without permission. Even the Sierra Club is against it.

Bee killing pesticides. Europe has banned bee-killer pesticides known as neonicotinoids. Here in the U.S. we just keep spraying them like crazy people and we keep destroying the bee population. Workers in Oregon last week sprayed trees along I-5 and killed 300 colonies of bumblebees. Meanwhile, the disingenuous dastards at Monsanto, Syngenta and Bayer are among the corporate curmudgeons building token “bee health” plots to study the problem. Yeah, right.

Atrazine. Speaking of Syngenta, one of their high profile poisons is still used in the U.S. but banned in Europe. We spread 70 million pounds of Atrazine yearly. Nebraska is one of the most Atrazine-polluted states in the world. Atrazine has been linked to prostate cancer, breast cancer, hormonal mutation changes and you’re probably drinking it in your tap water. Most Nebraskans are, according to the EPA. It’s used on 80 percent of the corn acres in Nebraska. Not in Europe. Just google: atrazine nebraska.

Chicken shit cattle feed. In the U.S., we feed chicken litter: feces, feathers, dead parts, etc. to our beef cattle. Yum. It’s cheaper than another bad diet, corn. Chicken litter isn’t on the cow menu in Europe. There are some serious drawbacks to using animal protein to feed to herbivores, not the least of which is mad cow disease.

Ractopamine growth drug for livestock. Up to 80 percent of U.S. pork and about a quarter of our beef cattle get doses of a muscle-building stimulant drug in the days before slaughter. It adds to carcass weight and enhances bottom line even though terrible for animals and humans. Oh, and it persists in meat you buy in the store. Not only is feeding ractopamine to livestock banned in the European nations but Europe and China both refuse to import U.S. meat because of ractopamine. So the U.S. response? Instead of the smart choice and banning drugs in our meat here, the U.S. is trying to get other nations to accept the idea of drugs in food. Misery loves company.

Arsenic in poultry and pork. Arsenic is poison. People know that. And it’s allowed in U.S. chicken, turkey and swine feed. It shows up in supermarket meat when it’s tested. Arsenic causes cancer, too. Arsenical drugs are approved to make poultry grow faster and improve the pigmentation of the meat. In 2010, industry representatives estimated that 88 percent of the roughly nine billion chickens raised for human consumption in the U.S. received arsenic-laced drugs. Looking for a good arsenic-laced Chicken McNugget? Won’t find it in Munich. Europe bans it. Duh. Oh, by the way, organic chickens were tested and found arsenic-free.

Brominated vegetable oil. Known as BVO, it’s in sodas and sports drinks. Bromine is a fire retardant. BVO is linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss. It’s banned in Europe and over 100 countries. Good to go in the U.S.

In 1837, outgoing President Andrew Jackson warned about corporate money power. Going on 200 years later, we have become the “land of the fee, home of the paid.” Special interest influencing government policy dictates that we suffer the consequences and Europe gets the last laugh.

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a New Age polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Visit HeartlandHealing.com for more information.

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