Tuesday June 19, 2018

Packaged Foods Could Be Harmful

Formaldehyde is widely present, albeit at low levels, in plastic bottles used for fizzy drinks and melamine tableware, reported Science Daily

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Packaged Foods Could Be Harmful
Packaged Foods Could Be Harmful. Pixabay
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Beware of excessive intake of packaged foods! In a commentary, environmental scientists have cautioned about the harmful effects of synthetic chemicals used in food packaging and processing.

The synthetic chemicals that go into the packaging, storage, and processing of foodstuffs might be detrimental to human health over a length of time, environmental scientists have warned in a commentary in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

This is because most of these substances are not inert and can leach into the foods we eat, they say.

Despite the fact that some of these chemicals are regulated, people who eat packaged or processed foods are likely to be chronically exposed to low levels of these substances throughout their lives, say the authors.

And far too little is known about their long-term impact, including at crucial stages of human development, such as in the womb, which is “surely not justified on scientific grounds”, the authors claim.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

They point out that lifelong exposure to food contact materials or FCMs – substances used in packaging, storage, processing, or preparation equipment — “is a cause for concern for several reasons”.

These include the fact that known toxicants, such as formaldehyde, a cancer causing substance, are legally used in these materials.

Formaldehyde is widely present, albeit at low levels, in plastic bottles used for fizzy drinks and melamine tableware, reported Science Daily.

Secondly, other chemicals known to disrupt hormone production also crop up in FCMs, including bisphenol A, tributyltin, triclosan, and phthalates.

Also Read: Use Food Items as Shield Against Allergies

“Whereas the science for some of these substances is being debated and policy makers struggle to satisfy the needs of stakeholders, consumers remain exposed to these chemicals daily, mostly unknowingly,” the authors point out.

And, thirdly, the total number of known chemical substances used intentionally in FCMs exceeds 4,000.

“Since most foods are packaged, and the entire population is likely to be exposed, it is of utmost importance that gaps in knowledge are reliably and rapidly filled,” they urge. (IANS)

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Have you switched from Cigarettes to E-Cigarettes? Beware! Vapor smoke from E-cigarettes are just as harmful, says a new research

If you are still wondering, the only completely healthy alternative to cigarette smoking is to completely quit smoking.  

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Do you believe e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smoking? Think again. Pixabay

North Carolina, October 23, 2017 : Vaping and e-cigarettes comprise a considerably new trend in the market, having been around for only for a decade or so. While their use has not been widespread, with mostly the younger population choosing it, a majority of the people are not even aware about it. However, out of those who know, it is a common belief that e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to regular smoking.

Contrary to regular cigarettes that burn tobacco, e-cigarettes deliver nicotine to the smoker in the form of water vapor. Due to this diluted consumption, most people imagine vaping is healthier than smoking. But is that really true?

While it will not be wrong to say that e-cigarette vapor smoke does not contain the same composition and amount of carcinogenic compounds as regular cigarette smoke, a new research suggests that ‘vaping’ may have its own harmful effects.

According to researchers from the University of North Carolina, the use of e-cigarettes can lead to inflammatory lung disease, triggered by extremely harmful response in the lung to the vapor smoke.

The Study Findings 

For the study that has been published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine researchers examined the sputum samples of 44 non-smokers, e-cigarette users, and current cigarette smokers. Sputum is a combination of saliva and mucus, coughed from the respiratory tract which is often caused by some infection or disease.

  • Analysis found that the batch of e-cigarette smokers had a significant increase in neutrophil granulocyte- and neutrophil-extracellular-trap (NET)-related proteins, which are our immune system’s first line of defense against infection causing pathogens.
  • However, it was also revealed that while neutrophils are helpful in combating infectious pathogens, they are also known to contribute to lung diseases like COPD (a group of lung diseases that block the air flow, making it difficult to breathe) and cystic fibrosis (a life threatening disorder that gravely damages the lungs and the digestive system).
  • Additionally, the researchers also identified a similar positive trend in specific biomarkers of oxidative stress between e-cigarette users and regular cigarette smokers that have been understood as causative of lung diseases.
  • Furthermore, common increase in mucinn 5AC, which is associated with asthma and chronic bronchitis, was revealed in both, e-cigarette and cigarette users.

While smoking, in any way, is harmful, it is  important to note here that regular cigarette smoke and vapor smoke are two different compounds which can (and do) have different effects on the body. According to Dr. Mehmet Kesimer, senior author of the new study, “Comparing the harm of e-cigarettes with cigarettes is a little like comparing apples to oranges.”

ALSO READ Banning E-Cigarettes Deprives Indian Smokers of a Less Harmful Alternative: Experts

The senior researcher added that the research shows that e-cigarettes have a signature of harm in the lung, which is very similar to that of regular cigarettes, but also unique in its own way. A broader understanding of the harm done by vapor smoke can thus, have implications that challenge the popular belief that it is healthier alternative to consume vapor smoke from e-cigarettes than regular smoking.

It must be noted here that this study was carried out on a small and limited scale, with most e-cigarette smokers previously being cigarette smokers. This duplicity makes it difficult to clearly identify if the study results are strictly related to use of e-cigarettes and vapor smoke.

There have been numerous studies about the harm of e-cigarettes in relation to that of regular cigarettes. However, what makes the study extremely important is its analysis of the unique or novel ways that e-cigarettes could be causing harm to our bodies.

In increasing number of studies previously published have revealed how it is a healthier lifestyle choice to switch from regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes. But, new researches have begun to trace the long-term adverse effects of e-cigarettes, which are challenging this switch.

If you are still wondering, the only completely healthy alternative to cigarette smoking is to completely quit smoking.