Chemicals found in over 1,200 foods linked to damage of immune system

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Apr 02, 2021, 02:36 PM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( Reuters )

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A new study has now proved that chemical preservatives and other additives found in many popular processed foods may be undermining immune systems of the foodies.

Junk food does more harm to the human body than just increasing the weight. 

A new study has now proved that chemical preservatives and other additives found in many popular processed foods may be undermining immune systems of the foodies.

Two compounds, tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) and per- or poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), have been identified in more than 1,200 foods sold in the US.

TBHQ, a preservative, can be found in well-known brand foods, including Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts, Rice Krispies Treats and Cheez-Its; PFAS are often used to create a non-stick lining in packaging, such as aluminum cans, pizza boxes and popcorn bags, and may leach into food contained within the package, according to the Environmental Working Group.

The findings were published in Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health on March 24.

Data showed that TBHQ, which has been used to extend the shelf life of processed foods for decades, may impair the immune system, based on animal as well as in vitro (non-animal) testing.

Previous studies had indicated that TBHQ could diminish the efficacy of flu vaccines, and may also promote food allergies.

There have also been studies to suggest that PFAS suppresses immune function, including a report, published in Plos One last December, that found an association between people with high levels of these substances in the blood and increased COVID-19 severity. 

Of the more than 4,700 unique PFAS identified in manufacturing, very few have been studied for long-term health effects.

These findings are, however, not yet evidence enough for the Food and Drug Administration to enact stricter limits.

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