A new report outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that parents have reason to be concerned about certain chemicals that are used to process and preserve baby food. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to limit your baby’s exposure to some of the chemicals.
More evidence shows that chemicals that are used in food colorings, preservatives, and packaging may be harmful to a child’s health. The AAP is taking this issue very seriously and issuing an urgent call to the Food and Drug Administration to make reforms on how food additives are regulated.
Concern over the use of food additives has come to the forefront over the last few years, especially after studies have shown how they can affect a young child’s hormones, growth and development.
More than 10,000 additives are allowed in the U.S. to help preserve food, make it taste better, or to create its packaging. There are also an estimated 1,000 additives used under a “Generally Recognized as Safe” rule that doesn’t require FDA approval. An AAP member calls that rule a “critical weakness”. Some of the chemicals listed below are used in food that is specifically marketed to children and babies and can disrupt the timing of puberty, increase body fat, and affect the immune system along with a number of other adverse health reactions.
While some additives can be put into the food directly, other chemicals can make it in through different types of packaging that’s used, such as, plastics, glues, dyes, and paper.
Some of the most concerning additives to keep an eye out for include Bisphenols (BPA), Phthalates, Perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs), Perchlorate, Artificial Food Coloring, and Nitrates
These chemicals are potentially more harmful to children than adults according to the AAP because children eat and drink more relative to their weight making them more sensitive while they are still developing.
AAP is recommending that the FDA develop a more rigorous process when it comes to regulating chemical additives. They also want to see new toxicity testing implemented for chemicals. Some of what the AAP is recommending may require congress to step in for real change to be made.
In the meantime, if you are worried about these chemicals and the impact they may have on the health of your children, there are some easy steps and quick changes you can make to help avoid some of the most common food additives that are potentially harmful.
First, buy and serve more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid processed meats. Next, avoid microwaving plastic containers including Tupperware, bottles, and plastic serving plates. Also, avoid putting plastics in the dishwasher as heat can cause plastics to leak BPA/phthalates into food. Finally, try to use glass or stainless steel if possible.
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