Planning on making your child a timeless, classic American peanut butter and jelly sandwich this afternoon? Maybe a deli meat sandwich instead? It may be in their best interest to refrain from the classics this week, as new research indicates there may be a big problem with the most heavily favored American foods. Foods like peanut butter, turkey, ham, fish, and a variety of beef and other products have each been tested and shown to have an above tolerable level of flame retardant chemicals, used mostly in the construction of buildings and homes across the country.
Dr. Arnold Schecter of the University Of Texas School Of Public Health published the report this past Thursday regarding the various meat products found commonly in supermarkets. His findings are somewhat scary; a whole plethora of chemicals were found amongst the products, primarily a widely used flame retardant found in between the walls of your own house.
“This is not good news. Here’s yet another toxic chemical that can be found in any of the foods we buy at our supermarkets. Food does not need flame retardants” said the professor. Hexabomocyclododecane (HBCD) is the chemical in question, found in many food products tested for excessive and unnecessary chemicals in the American diet. This is one of many synthesized chemicals that have been found in an alarmingly high number of popular food items, and researchers are continually finding more and more as time goes on. The main reason for the chemical’s presence has been found to be a combination of faulty plastic packaging, as well as being purposefully added into the more heavily processed products as part of the production methods.
Given the variety of chemical exposures that have been brought to light thanks to scientists like Dr. Schecter and his team, there is a much better chance of reducing the unnecessary additions put into the food supply, thus reducing the chances for a handful of different diseases and disabilities to develop. Chemicals such as DDT, PCBs, dioxins, and even heavy metals such as mercury have all been linked to a large quantity of diseases. The highest risk factor lies within pregnant women, as the blood toxicity associated with the release of these chemicals has a very high chance of damaging an unborn child.
Even with the studies provided by Dr. Schecter, lobbyists will not be halted from attempting to put a band aid on the situation – Bryan Goodman of the American Chemistry Council views the near constant chemical exposure as negligible, saying that “the real story is that HBCD was not detected in a majority of the samples and in those where it was, it was well below levels where one might see adverse health effects. These results should not pose a concern for human health.”
Though the study was not performed on each market-wide brand and mostly focused on the conventional non-organic brands, the chemicals have each been noted as a long term detriment to human health, and any chemical considered a flame retardant or anything else like it should not be branded as a ‘safe’ inedible in any circumstance.