What you should do

Look for added nitrites and nitrates on food labels and avoid them. This will not only reduce your exposure to additives associated with cancer but will also lower your intake of cured meats that can be high in unhealthy fat and cholesterol.

Potassium Bromate Potassium bromate is used to strength- en bread and cracker dough and help it rise during baking. It is listed as a known carcinogen by the state of California, and the international cancer agency classifies it as a possible human carcinogen (IARC 1999; OEHHA 2014). It causes tumors at multiple sites in animals, is toxic to the kidneys and can cause DNA damage (IARC 1999). Baking converts most potas- sium bromate to non-carcinogenic potas- sium bromide, but research in the United Kingdom has shown that bromate residues are still detectable in finished bread in small but significant amounts (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 1993). Both the United Kingdom and Canada prohibit the use of potassium bromate in food, and it is not allowed in the European Union either. The United States, however, still allows it to be added to flour.

What you should do Potassium bromate is an unnecessary

additive, so read labels and avoid products that contain it.


The government classifies some addi-

tives as “Generally Recognized as Safe” or GRAS. They are presumed to be safe in food and are not required to undergo pre- market review and approval. This system makes sense for benign additives such as pepper and basil, but there are enormous loopholes that allow additives of question- able safety to be listed as GRAS. Manufac- turers can decide whether these com- pounds are safe without any oversight by the Food and Drug Administration – and in some cases obtain GRAS status without telling the FDA at all.

Propyl Paraben It’s hard to believe that propyl para- ben, an endocrine-disrupting chemical, is allowed in food, and even harder to be- lieve that it’s “Generally Recognized as Safe.” Studies found that rats fed the FDA's

Gina Davis, FNP-C Gina Davis is a Board-Certified

maximum limit for propyl paraben in food had decreased sperm counts. At this dose researchers also noted small decreases in testosterone, which become significant with higher exposures (Oishi 2002). Propyl paraben acts as a weak syn- thetic estrogen (Routledge 1998; Kim 2011; Vo 2011). It can alter the expression of genes, including those in breast cancer cells (Terasaka 2006; Wróbel 2014). Pro- pyl paraben has been reported to acceler- ate the growth of breast cancer cells (Okubo 2001). And a recent study by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health linked propyl paraben to impaired fertility in women (Smith 2013). Propyl paraben is used as a preserva-

tive in foods such as tortillas, muffins and food dyes. People can be exposed to it either as a direct additive or as result of contamination during food processing and packaging. Tests done on samples col- lected from 2008 to 2012 found propyl paraben in more than half of them, includ- ing beverages, dairy products, meat and vegetables (Liao 2013). In a federal study, 91 percent of Americans tested had detect- able levels of propyl paraben in their urine (Calafat 2010).

What you should do Check product labels for propyl para-

ben and avoid it. Tell food companies that hormone-disrupting chemicals should not be allowed in food.

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) The FDA considers the preservative

butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) to be a GRAS additive – even though the Na- tional Toxicology Program classifies it as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” the international cancer agency categorizes it as a possible human carcinogen, and it’s listed as a known carcinogen under California’s Proposition 65 (NTP 2011; IARC 1986; OEHHA 2014). These designations are based on consistent evidence that BHA causes tu- mors in animals, although there is debate about whether these findings are relevant to humans. The European Union classifies BHA

as an endocrine disruptor. At higher doses, it can lower testosterone and the thyroid hormone thyroxin and adversely affect sperm quality and the sex organs of rats (Jeong 2005). One study reported that female rats given lower doses had a de- crease in uterine weight, which may result from effects on estrogen metabolism (Kang 2005; Zhu 1997). Other studies found developmental effects such as decreased growth and increased mortality in rats that had not been weaned, and behavioral ef- fects after weaning (EFSA 2011a; Vorhees 1981a). A wide variety of foods contain BHA,

including chips and preserved meats. It is also added to fats and to foods that contain fats and is allowed as a preservative in flavoring.

What you should do Look for BHA on product labels and

avoid it. Gina Davis, FNP-C

Family Nurse Practitioner. She has been a nurse since 2003 and has specialized in diabetes management for the past10 years. She is commit- ted to helping others achieve their health potential physically, emo- tionally, and spiritually using a ho- listic approach.She is excited to help those looking to enhance their over- all health for thyroid, bioidentical hormones, autoimmune diseases, and many other issues. Let her help you to achieve Health as it Ought to Be.

336.768.3335 FEBRUARY 2021 7

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