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Day 57 - Gum

I quit chewing gum a few years back. I started questioning what is in gum so I switched to an organic mint instead. I still miss the chewing aspect but am happy with the mints.

For years I chewed excel mint gum. Twenty years I spent thinking gum was made from a tree. It is not. It used to be. Now gum is made from plastic which means it is made from the by-products of oil. The mint used in gum is also mono-cropped and farmers use fertilizers and herbicides to help it grow and keep the other weeds at bay. This doesn't make gum very appealing but the packages sure look nice in the store.

My daughter Callie loves to chew gum too. At the natural food store we started buying her Pur gum. Turns out it is made from plastic too. I emailed the company to ask them to clarify what is in their product and this is what they had to say:

Hi Alison, Thank you for your email. Our gum base is just like any other chewing gum base except that ours is completely stable and 100% safe for consumption. Our gum is made from the highest quality Swiss ingredients and is flavored naturally to ensure that it is chemically inert and does not break down when chewing. Our manufacturing team ensures our products are vegan, non-GMO, as well as nut, soy and gluten free. This gives our consumers the best chewing experience, worry-free!

Here's the low down on gum:

"According to Chemistry.About.com, chewing gum was originally made from tree sap called chicle, a natural rubber, and sometimes various waxes. But…

After World War II, chemists learned to make synthetic rubber, which came to replace most natural rubber in chewing gum (e.g., polyethylene and polyvinyl acetate). The last U.S. manufacturer to use chicle is Glee Gum.

Polyvinyl acetate? What’s that? According to the article “Behind the Label: Chewing Gum” published this week in The Ecologist, polyvinyl acetate (a type of plastic) is manufactured using vinyl acetate, a chemical shown to cause tumors in lab rats. In fact, in 2008 the Canadian government was so concerned about vinyl acetate used in the production of chewing gum that they added it to a list of substances to be considered toxic. However, according to the article, government regulators were forced to back down due to industry pressure."

The website, Science Focus, had this to say:

"Chewing gum has been with us since the Stone Age – chicle gum was made from the sap of the Sapodilla tree. Most modern gums are based on a synthetic equivalent, a rubbery material called polyisobutylene that’s also used in the manufacture of inner tubes. Polyisobutylene is mixed with plasticisers and materials – all food grade – to make the gum mixture chewable."

Hmm, makes me glad I gave up gum and switched to mints. Plus the packaging of mints in tins is way more environmentally friendly and reusable! Think about switiching to Glee Gum or getting off the gum wagon! It's bad for your body and the environment.