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This is what ‘forever chemicals’ in food can do to your body

Vaseline 2 months ago

According to a 2022 report from the Department of the Environment’s Pesticide Residues Advisory Committee (PRiF) and The Pesticide Action Network UK (Pan UK), which analyzed the test results, 95% of 120 strawberry test samples contained PFA pesticides – of which the most affected are foodstuffs.

Chemicals in the environment can take centuries to break down, allowing them to build up in the human body and cause serious health problems.

So what do forever chemicals in food actually do to your body? Health experts share everything you need to know…

What are ‘forever chemicals’?

According to Dr. Tapas Sen, a reader in nanomaterials chemistry at the University of Central Lancashire, forever chemicals are usually per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are highly toxic.

“They are called forever chemicals because they do not break down or break down in the natural environment or in our bodies,” he said.

How can they damage the human body?

Forever chemicals pose serious health risks, with direct links to cancer, thyroid disease and fertility problems, as well as developmental disorders in unborn children.

“These chemicals are widely used in our everyday products, from cosmetics, food packaging and dental floss to non-stick frying pans and almost all waterproof products that do not weigh down.

“They end up in our environment through landfills, where they then spread through the air and water. Their presence has been detected in food, marine products and drinking water.

“The sub-nm (subnanometer) size of these chemicals allows them to easily penetrate human cells and cause massive damage.”

Credits: PA;

How dangerous is it to have high levels of eternal chemicals in our bodies?

According to Sen, there was a well-known lawsuit in 1998 against a major PFAS manufacturing company, DuPont.

“This came about as a result of unusual medical conditions, such as bloated organs, blackened teeth and tumors, discovered in farm animals in Parkersburg, West Virginia, associated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) used for nonstick frying pans and carpet floors.” he said.

“This case against DuPont caused a huge public outcry and awareness of the risks of chemicals in water forever, and also inspired the 2019 Hollywood film, Dark Waters.

“PFOA is a class of PFAS that is said to cause cancer and birth defects. It does not leave the bloodstream and slowly accumulates in the human body. An individual type of PFAS of 100 ng/l can harm unborn babies and cause cancer in adults.

“PFAS also pose risks associated with other diseases, including arthritis, liver, kidney disease, male fertility, hypersensitivity and cardiovascular disease.”

Do we need a stricter limit on forever chemicals?

Dr. Shireen Kassam, senior NHS doctor and founder of Plant Based Health Professionals, said it is certainly concerning to hear that PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are occurring in our food and environment, especially as we have very little data on the health consequences of exposure to these chemicals.

“However, we must keep in mind that these chemicals also accumulate widely in animal foods, because farm animals are exposed through food and water and these chemicals are easily stored in fat,” she added.

“When it comes to cancer risk, the data is clear: despite concerns around pesticide exposure, eating more fruits and vegetables, including beans, while limiting animal food consumption is associated with lower cases of cancer.

“For example, it has been consistently shown that vegetarians and vegans have less cancer, despite consuming more fruits and vegetables. This will be partly due to the positive impact of plant-based foods on reducing obesity and type 2 diabetes and promoting a healthier gut microbiome.

Credits: PA;

“So the healthy properties of fruits and vegetables, with their higher vitamin content and their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, still appear to outweigh the potential harm from pesticide exposure.

“While we should be campaigning to reduce pesticides in agriculture, this new data should not confuse common sense public health messages.

“If possible, it is wise to choose organic products, but the costs are unaffordable for most. It will always be better to eat more fruits and vegetables to reduce the number of chronic conditions.”