Tag Archives: chemicals

Dioxins — Any “eggscape” from them?

 

Picture credit to FoxNews.com

FoodFacts.com would like to take some time to look at dioxins.

 

Recently, it has been revealed that in Germany, the highly poisonous chemical was found in eggs from a couple of farms in levels that was above the permissible level set.

 

Needless to say, the farms found with those eggs have been sealed off and are not permitted to sell more eggs. That doesn’t mean that eggs containing dioxins haven’t been sold already, though.

 

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency webpage, dioxins are a “group of toxic chemical compounds that share certain chemical structures and biological characteristics.” [1] They can be released into the environment in many different ways, including forest fires and certain industrial activities.

 

While many people fail to realize it, most every living creature has been exposed to dioxins in some way, shape or form over time. Dioxins are not reported to be harmful at small levels, but long-term exposure or high levels could result in numerous adverse health effects, including but not limited to cancer. Exposure to high levels of dioxins have also reportedly led to reproductive and developmental problems, according to studies, and an increased risk of health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. While there are no known health effects on those who have consumed dioxins in small doses, more research does need to be done on those who are exposed to low levels of it over long periods of time, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

 

This isn’t the first time the issue of dioxins has been brought up with regards to Germany. Back in January of 2011, the European Union issued a health alert when officials discovered that animal feed had been tainted with dioxins, which was in turn fed to animals like hens and pigs and contaminating eggs, poultry and pork. Following that health alert, new measures were implemented to keep dioxin ingredients out of animal feed. Because of those new measures, and tests performed, officials do not believe the cause of this exposure was due to animal feed, and are still looking into the cause of the exposure.

 

Is there cause for concern? In Germany, there is reportedly no danger to the public. But it certainly makes everyone wonder what chemicals might be in their foods.

 

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, there are always measures being taken to lower dioxin levels in foods. Furthermore, there are regulations in place regarding dioxin emissions when it comes to industrial sources. And over time, reduced dioxin emissions will result in reduced levels of dioxins in foods. That being said, cause for concern more or less rests on your faith in the government and their efforts.

 

FoodFacts.com would like to extend our best wishes!

 


[1] Dioxin. Environmental Assessment. United States Environmental Protection Agency. <http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/CFM/nceaQFind.cfm?keyword=Dioxin>

Chemicals in our environment and our bodies … healthy lifestyle information from FoodFacts.com

FoodFacts.com understands that people don’t want manmade chemicals in their bodies; we definitely don’t. To avoid unwanted chemicals (such as pesticides and heavy metals) in our bodies, we wash our fruits and vegetables to rid them of pesticides and avoid taking huge bites of lead (maybe only little ones). However, a report published by the CDC titled Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals shows the level of chemicals people have in their bodies. The latest report has 75 chemicals listed; some which may be surprising.

The Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals report measures the amount of chemicals in blood and urine from a sample group of people and over a number of years. They state that the chemicals they tested for may have found their way into the human body through air, dust, soil, water and food. It also shows if a population has more/less of a certain chemical in their system. For example, their toxicology report states “In the past 15 years, data show that blood cotinine levels for nonsmokers in the US population have decreased about 70%, indicating that public health interventions to reduce ETS exposure have been successful.” The same report also says bisphenol A (BPA), which is linked to reproductive toxicity, has been found 90% of the samples tested. Furthermore, the report states, “the measurement of an environmental chemical in a persons blood or urine does not by itself mean that the chemical causes disease.” While there might be traces of chemicals found in our system, which may or may not be causing harm, do we want them there at all?

For example, one of the herbacides, 2,4- D, was found in concentrations of 12.6 micrograms/L in samples in the 95th percentile. Pesticideinfo.org lists this chemical having moderate toxicity, a possible carcinogen and a suspected endocrine disrupter. Another chemical listed 1,4 dichlorobenzene (urinary 2,5 Dichlorophenol) was found in amounts of 473 micrograms/liter in samples in the 95th percentile. 1,4 dichlorobenzene is listed as a known carcinogen in California. So what can we do about this?

On the plus side, however, our bodies are amazing machines that can filter out chemicals that aren’t supposed to be there. Our bodies rid toxins from our system through waste elimination (feces/urine), but there are multiple organ systems at work – like our livers, kidneys, lungs as well as our colon (plus other systems, like our immune system). For those of us that want to keep chemicals in our bodies low, we can keep our organs running efficiently by taking a few simple measures.

Drinking plenty of (filtered) water to help our kidneys flush away toxins, keep caffeine, alcohol and processed foods to a minimum – the less your liver has to do, the better. Sweating also helps remove a trace amount of chemicals, so we can go ahead and add another benefit to exercising. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for their vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and fiber, which will help our immune system and keep a healthy colon. Remember to thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables and/or buy organic when/if possible.

Taking these simple precautions may not only reduce your exposure to chemicals, but also add to an overall healthy lifestyle.

http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Search_Chemicals.jsp
http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/

Potato Chips that cause Cancer?

Potato Chips
Foodfacts.com works to bring our followers the latest in food news and research. We’ve gone over the recent discovery of arsenic in apple juice, sucralose in our drinking water, and hair in our peanut butter! One recent and popular topic we’ve been hearing a lot about is Acrylamide; a chemical which is formed from sugars and an amino acid during cooking at high temperatures! Read more to find out which foods contain this chemical!

What exactly is Acrylamide, and how is it formed?
The FDA defines acrylamide as:
Acrylamide is a chemical that can form in some foods during high-temperature cooking processes, such as frying, roasting, and baking. Acrylamide in food forms from sugars and the amino acid asparagine that are naturally present in food; it does not come from food packaging or the environment.

Where else could we find Acrylamide?
This chemical compound is used in many industrial processes, which include the production of paper, dyes, plastics, grouts, and cosmetics. It is also used in the treatment of drinking water and waste-water, including sewage.

How long has Acrylamide been around?
This chemical has most likely been in our food supply for many, many years. However, scientists only discovered this chemical in our foods in April 2002 after a series of testing. Since then, they have been trying to determine the long-term effects, and possible solutions for this issue.

What types of high-temperature cooking cause Acrylamide formation?
Frying, roasting, broiling, and baking are methods likely to cause the formation of acrylamide. Boiling and steaming don’t typically cause the formation of acrylamide.
Ore-Ida French Fries at blog.foodfacts.com!
What foods are likely to have this chemical? Why?

Potato products (such as chips and french fries), grain products, and coffee. Acrylamide is less likely to form in dairy, meat, and fish products. These items all have larger amounts of the amino acid, asparagine, which causes the formation when combined with sugars.

What health implications are associated with acrylamide consumption?

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer consider acrylamide to be a “probable human carcinogen,” based on studies in laboratory animals given acrylamide in drinking water. However, toxicology studies have shown differences in acrylamide absorption rates between humans and rodents. (National Cancer Institute)

What is the FDA doing regarding acrylamide in food?
So far the FDA has developed an action plan regarding the issue of acrylamide in foods. They have setup meeting with the Food Advisory Committee, and subcommittees to gather input on the acrylamide program. Peer-reviewed research articles have been published to spread awareness on the issue, along with continually doing new research. Finally, consumer assessments are being prepared to evaluate exposure to this chemical. (FDA)
Potatoes at blog.foodfacts.com!
How to lookout for Acrylamide:
Since acrylamide is formed chemically during the cooking process, you will not find it alongside other ingredients on product labels. What we recommend is that you complete some research concerning which foods tested for the highest amounts of this chemical. As we have learned so far, potato products, grains, and coffee have the largest amounts of the amino acid asparagine. Also, we would like to note that acrylamide can be formed in both organic, and non-organic foods.

We’ll update you on more news regarding acrylamide as it comes through!

(Foodfacts.com)

BPA in Children’s Foods

1689600_298627_290

A major concern among many of our Foodfacts.com followers is bisphenol A , better known as BPA. We’ll try to clear up any questions you may have regarding products containing BPA, and also give you tips and resources on how to avoid exposure.

First, what is BPA?
Bisphenol A is a chemical which is produced and used in large quantities for polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins which are commonly found in cans for food and jar lids.

Why is BPA a concern?
BPA is an endocrine disruptor. Exposure has been linked to a higher risk of prostate and breast cancers, infertility in females, diabetes, obesity, and ADHD.

Where can I find BPA?
A recent report issued by the Breast Cancer Fund showed various levels of BPA in different canned-foods marketed towards children. Note that these products may not be the only items containing BPA. BPA is measured in parts per billion (ppb):

114 ppb – Campbell’s Disney Princess Cool Shapes, Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth
81 ppb – Campbell’s Toy Story Fun Shapes, Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth
39 ppb – Earth’s Best Organic Elmo Noodlemania Soup, USDA Organic
31 ppb – Annie’s Homegrown Cheesy Ravioli, USDA Organic
13 ppb – Campbell’s Spaghettios with Meatballs
20 ppb – Chef Boyardee Whole Grain Pasta, Mini ABC’s & 123′s with Meatballs

Now that you know some of the foods which are exposed to BPA, you can also learn some foods that do not contain this chemical. The easiest way to find out, is to go online and do some research.

We’ve found that Eden Organic, Wild Planet, Trader Joe’s, Eco Fish, Edward & Son’s products do not use this chemical in their packaging. Also, Rubbermaid, Evenflo, and a few other plastic-based companies address that their items are available without BPA. Don’t be surprised if these items are a bit more pricey, because they tend to materials that cost more for each product.

Do your research on BPA!

(Foodfacts.com)

5 Chemical Foods to Remove from Your Diet

dir-round

Foodfacts.com is teaming up with our friends over at Dietsinreview.com to help inform you about what chemicals you should try removing from your diet. These days it seems you need an advanced science degree to read and understand a food ingredient label. Most of us scan over them simply because it’s easier. However, what we’re overlooking in all that multi-syllabic jargon are chemical additives that can have incredibly negative effects on our health.

Manufacturers use chemical additives for a number of reasons, including a longer shelf life, better taste or color, and even to keep production costs down. We’ve identified five that are especially concerning, and hope you’ll take an extra minute to review your food labels before making a purchase.

Trans Fat – One of the most controversial additives, this can be found on food labels as “Partially Hydrogenated Oil or Vegetable Oil.” The consumption of trans fat can be detrimental to cardiovascular health, and it has been linked with the obesity epidemic. Watch food labels closely because a food with less than.5 grams of trans fat per serving is allowed to list zero grams on its label.

Foods with Trans Fat: Fried Food, Microwave Popcorn, Margarine, Crackers, Chips, Store-bought Cookies

Artificial Coloring - Food dyes are a chemical and offer no nutritive value, meaning they don’t offer any vitamins or minerals. Artificial coloring is noted in food labels, with some of the more common (and considered carcinogens) being Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 3, Yellow 6.

Foods with Artificial Coloring: Soda, Candy, Juice, Frosting, Canned Fruit, Hot Dogs

Sodium Nitrite or Nitrate - These additives are used to give “cured meats” a salty taste and give their reddish hue. As an example hot dogs nd bacon would be more of a grey hue without these chemicals. Linked with cancers in adults and children, these are easily avoided by looking for natural meats and checking labels.

Foods with Nitrites or -ates: Bacon, Hot Dogs, Sausage, Deli Meat

Saccharin or Aspartame - These artificial sweeteners are actually sweeter than natural sugar, but far worse for your health. While they’ve made it possible for many to enjoy sweet treats, the affects on the body aren’t any better. Saccharin has been considered for ban by the FDA, and is linked with multiple types of cancers in many studies. These are manufactured chemical additives and, like the others, offer nothing in the way of nutrition.

Foods with Artificial Sweeteners: “Sugar” Packets, Diet Soda, Sugar-Free or Reduced-Sugar Foods

Diacetyl - The buttery flavor you enjoy from many packaged foods is probably not butter, but instead dactyl, a chemical ingredient linked with a lung disease nicknamed “popcorn lung.” While that health concern helped reduce its use, it’s still looking at the ingredients label to see if it’s lurking.

Foods with Diacetyl: Artificially-flavored Butter Products, Microwave Popcorn

By Brandi Koskie for DietsInReview.com

Get to know the controversial Food Additive known as Saccharin

saccharin
Saccharin
An artificial sweetener 300 to 500 times sweeter than sugar. Discovered in 1879, it’s the oldest of the five FDA-approved artificial sweeteners. Starting in 1907, the USDA began investigating saccharin as a direct result of the Pure Food and Drug Act. Harvey Wiley, then the director of the bureau of chemistry for the USDA, viewed it as an illegal substitution of a valuable ingredient (sugar) by a less valuable ingredient. In a clash that had career consequences, Wiley told then President Theodore Roosevelt that “Everyone who ate that sweet corn was deceived. He thought he was eating sugar, when in point of fact he was eating a coal tar product totally devoid of food value and extremely injurious to health.” But Roosevelt himself was a consumer of saccharin, and in a heated exchange, Roosevelt angrily answered Wiley by stating, “Anybody who says saccharin is injurious to health is an idiot.”[15] The episode proved the undoing of Wiley’s career.

In 1911, the Food Inspection Decision 135 stated that foods containing saccharin were adulterated. However in 1912, Food Inspection Decision 142 stated that saccharin was not harmful.

More controversy was stirred in 1969 with the discovery of files from the FDA’s investigations of 1948 and 1949. These investigations, which had originally argued against saccharin use, were shown to prove little about saccharin being harmful to human health. In 1972 the USDA made an attempt to completely ban the substance.[16] However, this attempt was also unsuccessful and the sweetener is widely used in the United States; it is the third-most popular after sucralose and aspartame.

In the European Union saccharin is also known by the E number (additive code) E954.

The current status of saccharin is that it is allowed in most countries, and countries like Canada are considering lifting their previous ban of it as a food additive.[17] The concerns that it is associated with bladder cancer were proved to be without foundation in experiments on primates.[18]

Saccahrin was formerly on California’s list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer for the purposes of Proposition 65, but it was delisted in 2001

FOUND IN Diet foods, chewing gum, toothpaste, beverages, sugar-free candy, and Sweet ‘N Low.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Rat studies in the early ‘70s showed saccharin to cause bladder cancer, and the FDA, reacting to these studies, enacted a mandatory warning label to be printed on every saccharin-containing product. The label was removed after 20 years, but the question over saccharin’s safety was never resolved. More recent studies show that rats on saccharin-rich diets gain more weight than those on high-sugar diets.

The Dirty Dozen Produce

pg-diet-nutrition-dirty-dozen-01-full
Eating these non-organic fruits and veggies will leave you exposed to an average of Ten pesticides a day. So try your best to buy organic when shopping for the ‘Dirty Dozen’.

A quick guide to Twelve produce items that are the most exposed to pesticides known as ‘The Dirty Dozen’. Watch here:

If you can afford to buy a few more Organic items, then, these are the next group you want to focus on:
1. Lettuce
2. Blueberries (Imported)
3. Carrots
4. Green Beans (Domestic)
5. Pears
6. Plums (Imported)
7. Summer Squash
8. Cucumbers (Imported)

New research shows that some pesticides used on strawberries, grapes, lettuce and other produce may disrupt male hormones.

But remember, these produce items are still healthy for you and much, much more nutritious than any processed or sugar filled food.

The Dirty Dozen Produce

Eating these non-organic fruits and veggies will leave you exposed to an average of Ten pesticides a day. So try your best to buy organic when shopping for the ‘Dirty Dozen’.

A quick guide to Twelve produce items that are the most exposed to pesticides known as ‘The Dirty Dozen’. Watch here:

If you can afford to buy a few more Organic items, then, these are the next group you want to focus on:
1. Lettuce
2. Blueberries (Imported)
3. Carrots
4. Green Beans (Domestic)
5. Pears
6. Plums (Imported)
7. Summer Squash
8. Cucumbers (Imported)

New research shows that some pesticides used on strawberries, grapes, lettuce and other produce may disrupt male hormones.

But remember, these produce items are still healthy for you and much, much more nutritious than any processed or sugar filled food.