Chemicals Around Food Are Leaching Into Our Bodies

A lot of processed food has packages lined with PFOA, a known carcinogen

Dr. Andrew Weil recently posted about the absorption of chemicals from food wrappers and food prep utensils.  If a food touches or is cooked in something coated with chemicals, can we wind up with some of it in our systems?

It turns out that yes we can.

I’m going to quote Dr. Weil here …

When investigators from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) measured levels of the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the blood of more than 2,000 individuals aged 12 and older in the United States, they found traces of the compound in nearly everyone tested.

In addition to their use in greaseproof food wrappings, PFOA is used to manufacture Teflon and other stain- and stick-resistant materials including pizza boxes. Its presence in consumer goods has been a safety issue for some time. In June 2005, a scientific advisory panel to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified PFOA as a “likely carcinogen” but drew no conclusions as to whether products containing it pose a cancer risk to humans. Animal studies have identified four types of tumors in rats and mice exposed to PFOA.

This is the kind of stuff that’s used in popcorn bags, teflon coated pans, and basically any food product that’s a little bit greasy.  We’re talking processed foods here so basically everything is greasy!

There has been some progress; Dr. Weil notes that the EPA has worked with some manufacturers and eight companies have committed to removing PFOAs from packaging by 2015.  Also, DuPont has agreed to remove this chemical from all of its products by 2015 except Teflon. You know, the stuff that lines your pans?!  Nice.

How do you avoid ingesting PFOAs?  Stop buying processed foods and throw your Teflon-coated pans in the trash.  I did years ago and never looked back.  Once the cooking surface starts to break down (you’ll see scratches in the pan), then basically it’s going into your body.  Maybe even before you see the scratches, too.

Of course everyone says it “appears” to be safe, but why treat yourself like a guinea pig when you don’t have to? Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, stay away from anything with a shelf-life, and cook at home as much as you can.

What do you think?  Is this overly dramatic or something of real concern?  Do you think PFOAs should be banned from being in close contact with all foods?  How attached are you to your nonstick frying pan?  Let me know your thoughts.

Cheers,

Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

7 Responses to Chemicals Around Food Are Leaching Into Our Bodies

  1. BostonSportsWoman February 17, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Lisa:
    Thanks for raising this point. I try everyday to look at what and how my family eats, and it’s frightening to think that most of these bags are in the vending machines in schools. I’ll feel better when the vending machines are replaced with vegetable baskets.

  2. The Multitudes February 17, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    Perhaps you should review the blood results from polar bears tested in the Antarctic – I don’t think they have access to snack machines…

  3. Lisa Johnson February 17, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    amen to that … :-)

  4. Lisa Johnson February 17, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    LOL, not sure if that would work, but it’s an interesting idea :-)

  5. Sara February 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    Hi Lisa – I applaud the idea of creating a safer home, and because there’s so much misinformation out there about Teflon, I’m not surprised that you are concerned. I’m a representative of DuPont though, and hope you’ll let me share some information with you and your readers, so that everyone can make truly informed decisions.

    In regards to PFOA and cancer – The weight of evidence gathered from a number of significant health studies continues to indicate to us that there is no health risk to the general public from exposure to PFOA. Additionally, no authoritative body has designated PFOA as a human carcinogen. The U.S. EPA stated that it is premature to conclude that PFOA causes cancer. For more information, please visit http://www.epa.gov/oppt/pfoa/pubs/pfoarisk.html. http://www.teflon.com/Teflon/teflonissafe and http://www.pfoa.dupont.com can provide you with additional information.

  6. Lisa Johnson February 22, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Sara, thanks for adding your voice. I’m happy to share the link with my readers and let them see both sides of the argument. Forgive me if I remain skeptical … :-)

  7. food chemicals July 29, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    Lisa i also agree with your point because today’s its my personal thinking that all those food contain lots of chemicals which were manufacturing in factories and if we talk about the science latest research then we know that these type of food chemicals are very dangerous for human’s health…

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