Microwave popcorn, tasty yet toxic, experts say

Movie night? Nix the microwave popcorn, scientists say. In a new study published on November 8, Canadian researchers have found that industrial chemicals used to line junk food wrappers and microwave popcorn bags are contaminating the food inside.

University of Toronto researchers discovered that perfluorinated carboxylic acids or PFCAs, breakdown products of chemicals used to make some food packaging, can leach into food, and eventually show up in the blood of humans. The study was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

PFCAs have been linked to cancer in animal experiments, and the chemicals are becoming increasingly pervasive in the environment. PFCAs are often detected in the air and household dust (and in pretty much all humans), and scientists believe they will remain in the soil for hundreds of years.

Governments in Canada, the United States, and parts of Europe have signaled their intentions to begin extensive and longer-term monitoring programs for PFCAs, although there is still some debate over how to classify the chemical in terms of its relationship to cancer in humans.

Another common component of food packaging is bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen that ends up in a number of consumer goods including baby bottles, baby formula, pizza boxes, and other fast food containers. To date there are more than 5,700 international studies published in the US National Library of Medicine that link BPAs to sexual dysfunction, cancers, compromised immune systems, diabetes, heart disease, epigenetic health concerns, neurological disruption, obesity, and much more.

To access the PFCA study:
http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1002409

 

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