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August 3, 2012
Harmful chemicals in food we all consume on a daily basis are not something unusual, and a great deal of foods, from fish and meat to sweets and peanut butter, are packed with plenty of harmful compounds and substances. According to the findings of a recent study by a group of American scientists, a type of flame retardants known as HBCD was found in a number of foods that we have in our stores, including stored fish and peanut butter. The scientists warn that increased consumption of the foods with this kind of flame retardants imposes serious danger to our health, since it takes very long time to break down and evacuate these dangerous compounds from our body. It can be especially dangerous if someone is constantly exposed to this harmful substance.
The findings were published by Arnold Schecter, an expert scientist at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Dallas. He underlined that the discovery of his expert team has to be considered one more prove of the fact that the amounts of harmful chemicals in food should be decreased and this issue should receive more of public attention immediately. Besides, according to the expert, this research should make the food specialists focus on studying the effects of poorly regulated chemicals like flame retardants which are potentially very harmful not just to our overall health, but also to the wildlife on earth and the environment in general. It is a known fact that such substance as flame retardants are very often lacking effectiveness at resisting fires in a great deal of situations.
“What we’re seeing are chemicals that can cause endocrine disruption, that can cause nervous system damage, that can cause reproductive damage, that can cause developmental damage, that can cause cancer in some cases,” Schecter said about the direct effects of flame retardants on our health. According to Schecter, these harmful chemicals in food could be found in many of the foods his expert group members looked at. Though, he underlined that some foods were totally free from these substances. To a great surprise of the scientists, quite considerable amounts of brominated flame retardants were previously found in breast milk of many American women, as a result of increased consumption of the foods high in brominated compounds (they are usually used to reduce the flammability of the products).
Along with brominated compounds, there is another group of harmful chemicals in foods that make the scientists worry. Those are chlorinated compounds. According to Schecter, both brominated and chlorinated compounds have a property to get accumulated in our tissues, and it is not easy to evacuate those from the body, even by using the most effective detoxification techniques and remedies. He said that the most persistent chlorinated substances can remain in the body as long as 219 days before they totally break down and evacuate. Unfortunately, the expert says, we receive great amounts of such harmful compounds not only from the foods we consume. Plenty of flame retardants like that can be found in our household objects, furniture, and other things around us. House dust is also full of this kind of chemicals.
Numerous tests have shown that plenty of harmful chemicals can be found both in animal and human blood, urine, etc., so not only breast milk is packed with this kind of dangerous compounds. In order to receive a more detailed and clear idea on the foods that are affected by various types of flame retardants, the scientists took the samples of 36 foods most commonly found in Dallas supermarkets. Those included meat like beef, bacon, turkey, etc., fish like canned sardines, fresh salmon and others, peanut better, and other foods. It turned out that the highest levels of these harmful chemicals in food had high fat foods, since the compounds are fat-soluble. Therefore, canned fatty fish, peanut butter and tilapia are among the foods affected by negative effects of brominated flame retardants.
Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.