The artificial chemicals that are used in the storage, packaging, and processing of our foods may be detrimental to our health in the long run, alerts environmental researchers in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (JECH).
This is a result of these chemicals not being dormant and can seep into the foods that we eat, they state.
Despite the fact that a majority of these chemicals are controlled by the FDA, people who consume packaged or processed foods have a higher chance of being exposed to low levels of these chemicals throughout their lifetime, say the researchers.
And there is very little information out there regarding their long term impact, including important stages of the human developments that start in the mother’s womb, which “surely has not been confirmed on scientific grounds,” the researchers mentioned.
The researchers pointed out that a lifetime exposure to substances known as “food contact materials” or FCM—that are used in the storage, packaging, or any preparation machinery—“is a cause for concerns for a few reasons.”
These include the fact that known toxins, such as formaldehyde which causes cancer, are lawfully used in these materials. Formaldehyde is also greatly present, although in very small amounts, in plastic bottles that are used to make soft drinks and melamine utensils.
Secondly, chemicals such as bisphenol A, tributyltin, triclosan, and phthalates are also known to sneak up on FCMs. These chemicals are known to be disruptive in hormone production.
“While the science for some of these chemicals is being discussed and law makers attempt to satisfy the needs of stakeholders, customers remain exposed to these substances daily and most of them are not even aware,” the researchers pointed out.
Lastly, the total number of chemical substances used worldwide in FCMs is more than 3,500.
In addition, possible changes in the cellular structure caused by FCMs, and in particular, those with the ability to agitate hormones, are not being brought up in routine toxicology analysis, which leads the researchers to advise that this “brings up serious concerns on the adequacy of chemical substance regulatory procedures.”
They confessed that implementing potential cause and effects because of lifelong and broad exposure to FCMs without knowing it will be a hard task, mainly because there are no populations who haven’t been exposed to compare data with. Also, exposure levels will vary among individuals and across specific population groups.
“Because the majority of our foods are packaged and everyone is likely to be exposed, it is crucial that gaps in knowledge are dependably and rapidly filled,” urged the scientists.