The addition of food preservatives is common especially in candies, gummies, and other junk foods, but the researchers are worried about the side effects of these preservatives especially in young children. These food preservatives reportedly increase the shelf life of candies and treat for example pop tarts, cheez-its, and nearly 1250 more processed foods. However, the new study reports that preservatives can potentially damage the immunity of the body.
The complete findings are published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
The data for this study was obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Toxicity Forecaster named ToxCast. It was to assess the addition of common preservatives added to dietary foods, along with other chemicals called PFAS that sometimes jump from packing material to food.
The ToxCast data reveals that certain preservatives such as tert-butylhydroquinone, (TBHQ) can directly target immunity in animal models, which may also be the same in humans. These new findings are worrisome especially when the world is going through this deadly pandemic.
This pandemic has highlighted the value of healthcare, quality of life, and interventions that may put public health in danger. It also includes environmental factors such as chemicals or preservatives from food which may harm the body and lower immunity, allowing other opportunistic pathogens and diseases to take over. That’s why public health protection also includes saving the public from exposure to these unwanted and potentially dangerous chemicals such as preservatives.
Most people don’t know but TBHQ is among the most common preservatives that are added to the processed foods for decades. There is no reason to add these chemicals to the foods, except that they increase their shelf life. However, animal tests reveal that TBHQ directly affects the immune cell’s proteins, causing severe damage. Some previous studies also identified the role of TBHQ that may be linked with food allergies in children and adults.
EWG also identifies how these chemicals travel from packing to the food directly. Despite being known for decades, this is the first-ever study that studies this PFAS migration directly to the food. A few years ago, in 2017, another study showed how fast-food chains are using wrappers, bags, and packaging materials that are covered in dangerous fluorinated chemicals.
Human epidemiological research is necessary to find out potential threats to health, for example how these PFAS may affect immunity. It is high time to recognize these common dangers that casually lie around humans. If ignored, it is also possible for this preservative caused low immunity to make Covid-9 vaccinees ineffective, which would bring new challenges to manage the pandemic.
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In this particular study, the ToxCast results were nowhere close to the previous results. It may be because of the latest chemical testing protocols. However, PFAS require more investigation, especially how they target and damage immunity.
Based on these results, the federal authorities may change the regulations regarding food additives. Although there is already sufficient data exposing the dangers of food preservatives by linking them to CNS problems, hormonal imbalance, low immunity and increasing the risk of cancer, more evidence will compel the federal agency to determine new guidelines for the food industry, hence saving millions of people from TBHQ exposure.