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American Academy of Pediatrics Says Some Common Food Additives May Pose Health Risks to Children

08/07/2018

(American Academy of Pediatrics) – With growing evidence that some chemicals found in food colorings, preservatives, and packaging materials may harm children’s health, a new American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement calls for urgently needed reforms to the U.S. food additive regulatory process. According to the statement in the August 2018 Pediatrics, “Food Additives and Child Health” (published online July 23), some currently allowed chemicals may best be avoided–especially for children.

An Increasing number of studies suggest some food additives can interfere with a child’s hormones, growth, and development, according to the policy statement and accompanying technical report. Some may also increase the risk of childhood obesity, rates of which have tripled since the 1970s. 

The United States allows the use of more than 10,000 additives to preserve, package, or modify the taste, appearance, texture, or nutrients in foods. Many were grandfathered in for approval during the 1950s, and roughly 1,000 additives are used under a “Generally Recognized as Safe” designation process that doesn’t require U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. 

“There are critical weaknesses in the current food additives regulatory process, which doesn’t do enough to ensure all chemicals added to foods are safe enough to be part of a family’s diet,” said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, FAAP, an AAP Council on Environmental Health member and lead author of the policy statement. “As pediatricians, we’re especially concerned about significant gaps in data about the health effects of many of these chemicals on infants and children.”

Some additives are put directly in foods, while “indirect” additives may include chemicals from plastic, glues, dyes, paper, cardboard, and different types of coatings used for processing and packaging.

Read the full story at aap.org


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