US lawmakers are scrutinizing chemical additives and artificial preservatives that are added to a wide variety of ultra-processed foods. Now two bills introduced in the states of California there new York They seek to eliminate five chemicals linked to an increased risk of premature death, impaired cognitive development, hormonal dysfunction and cancer.
The five additives that are listed in the draft legislation are present in a large number of bakery products, confectionery, snacks, sodas and soft drinks and are almost completely banned in Europe, the newspaper said. The New York Times and noted that various health associations, including the American Endocrine Society and the American Academy of Pediatricshave expressed concern about the possible adverse health effects of excessive consumption of food additives.
These chemicals are added to thousands of processed foods to improve freshness, flavor and color. Both bills, if approved, would come into force in 2025.
Legislative proposals selected hazardous additives in joint work with non-profit organizations consumer reports and the Environmental Working Group. They targeted chemical aggregates banned in Europe that are still used in the United States, and research has shown strong evidence of health risks. “These five were really the worst of the worst,” he said. Scott FaberSenior Vice President of Government Affairs for the Environmental Working Group, at The New York Times.
– Red coloring number 3: the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA, for its acronym in English) banned its use in cosmetics in 1990, to increase the risk of developing cancer. At the time, the agency said it would work to extend the ban to foods, but the chemical remains permitted for food manufacturing and is used in nearly 3,000 products, including shakes nutritional products, frostings and pastry toppings, maraschino cherries and mints. .
Additionally, various studies have linked this dye and other synthetic dyes to increased behavioral problems, such as hyperactivityIn children.
– Potassium Bromate: is classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, based on animal studies, and is also prohibited for human consumption in Europe, China and India.
It is mainly found in baked goods, including breads, cookies, and puddings, where it acts as a leavening agent and improves texture.
– Titanium dioxide: a safety assessment prepared by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2021 concluded that this chemical impairs DNA and can damage the immune system, so the European Union has decided to ban it in 2022 .
In foods, it is used as a whitening agent and color enhancer in thousands of foods, including baked goods, dairy products, salad dressings, and frozen products such as pizza and ice cream.
– Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) It is primarily used to help emulsify citrus flavored juices and carbonated drinks. Health problems with BVO stem from one of its ingredients, bromine, which can irritate the skin and mucous membranes.
According to the bill introduced in California. “Long-term exposure can cause neurological symptoms such as headaches, memory loss, and impaired balance or coordination. In the past, these symptoms have been seen with chronic bromide use. .”
– Propylparaben: Parabens are common preservatives used in personal care products, pharmaceuticals and foods. Propylparaben is used as a preservative and is found in foods such as cookies, puddings and other baked goods.
According to studies cited by US lawmakers, its effects on health are due to the fact that it can become an endocrine disruptor and therefore affect male and female reproductive health.
The FDA explained that it evaluates food additives based on a number of factors, including “amount that should be consumed (dietary exposure)” and “laboratory studies that support safety,” an official said. from the agency in an email to the NYT.
In practice, however, many chemicals are approved under a generally recognized as safe provision, which states that a food additive can bypass FDA review if it has been found safe by “qualified experts “.
After the product or substance has been approved, if requests for review arise, a panel determines whether to establish new research, “the FDA re-evaluates the safety of the ingredients,” the head of the agency wrote. ‘agency. For example, the FDA reviewed the evidence on the titanium dioxide after the EU decided to ban it in 2022. The resulting report determined that “there was no evidence to suggest that dietary exposure to the additive is of human health concern” .