Commonly Used Food Preservative Can Harm the Immune System

By | June 12, 2021

Research has found that a food preservative made use of for prolonging the shelf life of more than 1,000 well known processed foods can be harmful to the immune system.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18073332

Researchers made use of data from ToxCast, the EPA’s Toxicity Forecaster to evaluate the health hazards of some of the most common food additive chemicals, and also PFAS, the “forever chemicals”, which have the ability to migrate from product packaging to food.

An analysis of data from ToxCast revealed that the preservative TBHQ (tert-butylhydroquinone) has been found in animal tests as well as in vitro tests to be harmful to the immune system.  TBHQ is a pervasive preservative in processed foods and has been used for many years serving no purpose besides increasing the shelf life of a product.

Making use of the ToxCast data, all available research was analyzed that showed how PFAS migrate from processing equipment or packaging materials to food. Tests carried out in 2017 revealed that a lot of fast-food chains made use of food wrappers, boxes and bags with highly fluorinated chemical coatings.

Epidemiological studies have found that PFAS suppress immune function and decrease vaccine efficacy. Recent studies have also found an association between high PFAS blood levels and Covid-19 disease severity.

Harmful chemicals are often legally included in packaged foods since the FDA regularly permits food manufacturers to decide which chemicals are safe. The latest science on the health harms of additives are not taken into consideration by the FDA and their approach to the regulation of food additives that are legally allowed in processed foods made in the U.S. is outdated. The FDA approved additives such as TBHQ many years ago, and they don’t consider new research to reevaluate food chemical safety.

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Ingredient labels should be carefully read as processed foods can be produced without including these potentially harmful ingredients. The ingredient label sometimes lists TBHQ, but not always. If it’s been added to the product during the manufacturing process, it will be listed, but not if it’s been used in the packaging process, in which case it may migrate to food.

Food Additives Infographic

Image Source – cspinet

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