The preservatives in your favorite snacks may be compromising your immune system – at least according to USA Today and a peer-reviewed study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). EWG set out to assess the health hazards of the most common chemicals added to food, along with “forever chemicals” called PFAS, which can make it into our food and drinking water.
The results of the study were not promising, and the EWG suggests the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) test all food chemicals for safety.
What Is TBHQ?
TBHQ stands for tert-butylhydroquinone, a preservative known to extend the shelf lives of nearly 1,250 processed foods, including Pop-Tarts, Rice Krispies Treats, and Cheez-Its. The chemical helps prevent fats from oxidation, preserving the color, flavor, and nutritional value of various foods.
Unfortunately, high amounts of TBHQ caused precancerous tumors in early animal studies, and EWG recently found that TBHQ affects non-animal immune cell proteins. Worse, previous studies found that TBHQ may influence how well flu vaccines work and be linked to a rise in food allergies.
Although the FDA currently regulates how much TBHQ can be added to food and does not allow levels of the chemical to exceed more than 0.02% of the fat and oil in any given food, the EWG calls for additional testing and stricter regulations.
Are My Snacks Safe?
The science surrounding TBHQ is still emerging, and the FDA has not updated its guidance on preservatives or food additives. Meanwhile, evidence continues to mount on the health harms of additives in processed foods.
If you are concerned about TBHQ and other additives in your food, look for alternatives made without these potentially harmful ingredients. Read labels carefully and keep an eye out for TBHQ. You can also search products and ingredients on EWG’s Food Scores database or use EWG’s Healthy Living App to scan products while you’re in the store and make healthier choices.
Remember that manufacturers have a duty to keep you safe. If you ever sustain an injury due to a defective product – whether a contaminated food, a dangerous drug, a defective medical device, or an unstable piece of furniture – you have the right to seek justice.
If you’ve been harmed by a defective product, please discuss your rights and legal options with Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC. Our legal team is available 24/7 to take your call and help you through the next steps.
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