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Hazardous Chemicals In Food

There are literally hundreds of hazardous chemicals in food and food packaging. A recent study, “Food contact substances and chemicals of concern: A comparison of inventories,” published in the scientific journal Food Additives and Contaminants, Part A75, identifies 175 chemicals dangerous to human health.

Chemicals In Food

Along with hazardous pesticides, the contents of food contact packaging (foils, wrappers, storage containers, and pans) contain hazardous chemicals which continually release into the food items they contain.

This low level but consistent contamination of chemicals in food exposes consumers to known carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxins, and endocrine disruptors. Many common foods and highly processed foods also contain chemical additives, which negatively affect human health. Some of these additives have been linked to cancer, breathing difficulties (up to and including asthma) and endocrine disruption (hormonal imbalances). Several colorants also induce hyperactivity in children.

Unhealthy Food Additives

  • Propylene glycol
  • ButaneMonosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Disodium inosinate
  • Disodium guanylate
  • Enriched flour
  • Sodium nitrate
  • Sulfites
  • Azodicarbonamide
  • Potassium bromate
  • Propyl gallate
  • Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)
  • Brominated vegetable
  • Propyl gallate
  • Olestra
  • Carrageenan
  • Polysorbate 60
  • Carnauba wax
  • Magnesium sulphate
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Paraben
  • Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose
  • Refined vegetable oil
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Aluminum

Hazardous Artificial Sweeteners

  • Agave nectar
  • Bleached starch
  • Tert butylhydroquinone
  • Saccharin
  • Aspartame
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Sucralose
  • Artificial Food Colorings
  • Annatto
  • Blue #1Blue #2Caramel coloring Citrus red #1Citrus red #2Brown HT Orange B Bixin Norbixin Green #3Yellow #5 (Tartrazine) Yellow #6Red #2Red #3Red #40

chemicals in food

To download a printable version of this infographic click HERE.
With a partial list this long of ingredients and additives to avoid, you may wonder what you can eat without posing a health risk to yourself or loved ones. There are a few simple strategies you can follow to eat well and maintain good health.

Choose organic and whole foods (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains)
Avoid processed, boxed, and shelf food
Cook more; preparing your own foods allows you to know exactly what you’re eating
Eat less meat and choose grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone-free varieties when you do
If you choose to eat dairy, consume hormone-free dairy products.
If you choose to eat seafood, select low mercury, and cruelty-free options.

Consumer Reports also cautions consumers to check the country of origin when purchasing produce. Different countries apply different pesticide guidelines. A consumer can significantly decrease or increase their pesticide exposure depending on a crop’s country of origin.

Chemicals in food… Thought provoking, isn’t it?

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