Periodically independent study warns about the potential adverse health effect on commercially manufactured food and drinks of chemical substances. Although some scientists play the risk factor down, others warn about the impact of snowball when some items are eaten in abundance, or may be eaten frequently over a long time. The manner in which the average customer will obtain reliable information about potential hazards is never straightforward, as companies often have their own test protocol and spin doctors are prepared to dispute negative findings.
Chemical pollutants, as opposed to microbiological agents, are not affected by thermal processing in industrial food and beverages. Apart from the familiar pollutants, the researchers also refer to “emerging food contaminants” such as benzene, perchrorate, PFOA, furan, etc.
There is good reason to look at what we eat and drink these days far more carefully. While the health risks of additives may be debated, there is no question as to whether we are consuming more mixed chemicals. A chemical taken alone in minute quantities is not as much a risk as the combined effect, regardless of whether the amounts taken are extremely small. The London School of Pharmacy studied that and found that a “significant combination” of small doses of different chemicals works together.
During the preparation process, not all chemicals in food products are applied. Dutch scientists have found that both packaging sources and planets are supplied with chemicals in our food. Their analysis found an uncommon bottle of unintended additives such as pesticides, chemical phthalates and plastic flammable components.
The new report by a UK researcher that preservatives found with fizzy pop drinks can interfere with the workings of DNA is even more impressive. E211, sodium benzoate, which is used as a preservative, is the key concern.
The sodium benzoate studied in living yeast cells in the laboratory by professor Peter Piper, professor of molecular biology and biotechnology at the Faculty of Sheffield. He found that in the cells known as mitochondria the benzoate weakened DNA. The damage is described as “severe” at the stage where DNA is inactivated – shuts it down completely. Professor Piper provided The Independent on Sunday with more information on the possible health effects. Here you can relate to the whole storey.
A further issue will be the evidence of benzene contamination in sodas, a discussion which continues in 2006, following a number of well-published studies. For example, a test carried out by Beverage Daily found that some beverages had benzene levels almost 5 times higher than the World Health Organization limit for drinking water. Just hundreds of 230 sodas screened for benzene met the criteria for UK water in 2006 by the Times of London. Many of the benzene-loaded beverages were almost eight times higher. Not far ago, even bottles of supposedly pure Perrier water with unacceptably high levels of benzene have been found.
How do you wonder if benzene ends up in company drinks? Yeah, it doesn’t happen. As it combines with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), the potassium or sodium benzoate that is used as a drinks preservation agent forms benzene. When the drink is exposed to light or heat this particular chemical reaction is accelerated.
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The number of results obtained in the various tests is part of the problem. This poses a higher risk factor, as consumers do not know whether their beverages contain unacceptable high levels of benzene. This wide range of findings is verified by the FDA testing. The FDA registered levels very low on many drinks in 2006, with 2 concentrations almost 15 18 times higher than the drinking water norm, in a test conducted on 100 drinks in 2006.
Although benzene is a confirmed carcinogenic cancer, these results should be kept in perspective. When we walk about the block down a city street we respire benzene, even though we fill it at a gas station. In cigarette smoke is used – even in small quantities of water and food. However the risk factor is extremely difficult to determine for sodas as shown by the variability of test results as well as by the complexity of determining a general norm. The danger often very clearly applies to the form and volume of drink chosen. If someone has become accustomed to drinking large quantities of pop, that poses a higher risk than a certain drink. A boy who had too much weight gain was allowed to drink as much as seven to 10 cans of pop one day in a single study.
Apart from the dangers associated with preservatives, additional health risks are conclusively related to consumption of soft drinks. A research from Yale has found that soda consumption is related to increased calorie intakes, higher body weight, reduced nutrients and other calcium consumption and increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
The Yale study also states that food-funded research have not had the same impact as studies without industry funding – no surprise there – as the consumption of carbonized beverages is harmful.