Acrylamide And Other Chemicals.
Toasting bread to a light brown color, rather than a dark brown color, lowers the amount of acrylamide. This chemical can be formed when potatoes or grains are fried, baked, or roasted. Think French fries and potato chips for starters. The FDA says, “Acrylamide caused cancer in animals in studies where animals were exposed to acrylamide at very high doses.” Note the “very high doses.” Therefore, I wouldn’t be too concerned unless you are eating an awful lot of fried foods.
But then again, in 2010 the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) concluded that acrylamide is a human health concern and suggested additional long-term studies. The message is to limit fried foods, which we really should be doing anyway. The National Institute of Environmental Health website offers several tips to reduce your family’s exposure to acrylamide.
Why is perchlorate in food a concern? Perchlorate impairs the thyroid’s ability to use iodine in the diet to make the thyroid hormone T4, something essential to brain development. Thus, the presence of perchlorate in the diet of pregnant women and young children threatens fetal and child brain development.
According to the Environmental Defense Fund, “Perchlorate is one of approximately 10,000 chemicals allowed for use in food and food packaging – and it’s also an ingredient in rocket fuel.” The Food and Drug Administration approved perchlorate for use in plastic packaging and food handling equipment for dry food – like cereal, flour, spices, and many other additives – to reduce the buildup of static charges. Unfortunately, it can migrate from packaging into our food.
The term “food additive” does not include pesticide chemicals, lead, arsenic, or chemicals used in packaging our food – like PFAS. These types of substances are called “indirect food additives” or “food contact substances” and includes thousands of chemicals. The Environmental Defense Fund organization lists their key chemicals of concern in our food and provides resources to understanding the health effects of heavy metals, perchlorate, PFAS and phthalates.
While the Food Additives Amendment of 1958 gives the Food and Drug Administration oversight of chemicals added to our food directly as ingredients and those that end up in food as contaminants, the agency lacks the tools and authority to do its job.
Chemicals In Packaged Foods.
There are thousands of untested chemicals in packaged foods. How many out there still cook at home? In our household I prepare three meals a day – all from scratch. My “pantry” is a small drawer in my kitchen that sometimes holds Oatios, crackers, rice cakes and canned tomato products, but not much else. If you are someone who frequently purchases packaged foods, EcoWatch has a great article to read to help you understand the hazards in food purchases and how to push back at manufacturers. And don’t forget to revisit my blog Living With, Living Without for information on the neurotoxic chemical hexane, found in certain soy products!
According to the World Health Organization, “Dioxins are found throughout the world in the environment and they accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals.” The developing fetus and newborn are the most susceptible to the health effects from exposure. As you scroll down on the link, under “Prevention” you’ll see that more than 90% of human exposure to dioxins is through consuming animal foods. Another reason to eat more of a plant-based diet.
Health Effects Of Common Chemicals.
Toxipedia was founded in 2006 by Dr. Steve Gilbert. On this link you can download his free E-book, “A Small Dose of Toxicology: The Health Effects of Common Chemicals.” It’s not only available in English, but also in Spanish, German, Chinese, and Arabic!
According to University of Wisconsin’s Integrative Health Department, along with the increased prevalence of chronic disease has come an increase in illnesses attributed to environmental exposures. Watch the 11-minute video presentation on Environmental Intolerances with Adam Rindfleisch, MD. Also, for information on how to help people suffering with multiple chemical sensitivities and environmental intolerances, click here for U of W’s pdf handout.
Guardian Wrist Band.
A writer for The Guardian wore a silicone wristband designed by researchers that showed the toxic substances she encountered during the week. She was surprised at the results. In March of 2014 I had a toxicant profile completed by Genova Diagnostics using blood and urine. The results of my Toxic Effects Profile equally surprised me as I had been eating organic since the late 1970s and had always used the safest personal care and cleaning products I could find — for 4 decades! Results indicated I was in the 80th percentile for benzene and styrene, the 95th percentile for PCB153, with detectable levels of DDE, phthalates, pesticides, BPA, and parabens. Being in the 95th percentile means only 5% of other individuals that were tested exceeded the level found in my body. The findings of this test led me to read over 1500 research papers and write my book, “Your Body’s Environmental Chemical Burden,” a #1 bestseller on Amazon and winner of 13 book awards.
In The Meantime.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst tested a few different ways to wash chemical residue off produce: the bleach solution that farmers dunk fruit in after harvest, a liquid slurry of baking soda, and plain old tap water. Guess what? UC Berkeley says the baking soda was the best at removing the chemicals on fruits and vegetables! The recipe? One teaspoon baking soda to 2 cups of water.