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Chemicals in Foods are Harmful to Consumers Health Research (Essay Sample)

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Chemicals in foods are harmful to consumers’ health
Although naturally, food is made up of nutrients that are essential and healthy for human consumption, chemicals added in the food have posed a health risk to consumers. The paper is a justification of the fact that chemicals in the modern food have had harmful effects that outweigh the benefits to the consumers. The demerits of chemical additives in the food are clearly stated.
The food industry has had significant advances in the past 100 years. The innovations in the industry have been more harmful than good to the human beings. More than three-quarters of supermarket shelves are filled with processed and packaged foods. However, most foods bought in supermarkets and stores today contain chemicals used to increase the shelf span and improve production in industries. The chemicals include herbicides, fertilizers, pesticides, artificial colors, fats and sweeteners and preservatives. These chemicals are known to be much harmful to the consumers such that their potential dangers outweigh the benefits they offer (Dorne & Fink, 192). Even though they increase the risk of diseases, manufacturers rarely include all of the substances on their labels. The industrial revolution and scientific progress have been good news through the innovations that have made life easier and much comfortable. On the other hand, in the food industry, advances are proving to be a setback for people to maintain a healthy life because there has been an enormous introduction of chemicals in the food supply chain. Food processing began after the World War II where manufacturers never hid the new components they used as food additives. During this era, women had limited time to cook in their houses thus people would easily adopt the processed foods for convenience purposes. With time, the processed products have flooded the groceries in the market. The counter effect of this advance in the food industry has been nothing to smile about if one would think of the impact on people’s health (Grunnert, Klaus and Bruce, 270).
Chemicals are added to foodstuff for different reasons. For instance, artificial food dyes and colorings make food look pretty, and the appeal to the eye encourages individuals to purchase food that they would not have thought of consuming. These are found in cheese, candy, cake mixes and macaroni (Weiss & Bernard, 3). However, the artificial dyes are known to inhibit the development of nerve cells. The artificial dyes are normally petroleum products, and research shows that they are a cause for brain cancer, hyperactivity in children and deterioration of nerve cells. Many common cola drinks are made of Methylimidazole that is known for causing leukemia, thyroid, lung and liver cancer. A study in the US on the impact of food dyes on school going children found out that those who had a high score on hyperactivity scale took a blend of food-dye. They also performed dismally on the tests that measured their ability to recall images as compared to when they consumed a placebo. Today Americans are consuming five times more dye than how they did in the nineteenth century. Observations by several parents reveal that their children’s behavior improved drastically when deprived access to food dyes like Red #40. Most food dyes have been banned due to their adverse effects on animal specimens in the laboratory tests. According to reports by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), even the approved food dyes are still a health risk to human beings (Potter, Norman & Joseph, 870). Amongst the dyes that were approved include: Blue 1 which can cause hypertension, Blue 2 may not be safe too since the laboratory test results on rats reveal incidences of brain gliomas and tumor in rats. Citrus Red 2 which is approved to color orange skins is also harmful to rodents and poses minimal risks to human. It should therefore not be used in the food supply. Green 3 is considered safe by FDA, but further investigations should be carried out for proof. Orange B used on sausage casings has not been used for a long time in the US even though the Limited industry never revealed any toxicity challenges of the dye. There is a need to revoke the approval of Red 3 as it has been proved to be carcinogenic. In 2009, the British government warned companies to seize using Yellow 5 dye because of the adverse effects including cancer, allergic reactions, organ damages and birth defects. After 2010, the European Union also considered sounded a warning notice on foods containing dyes. A comprehensive report by the Center for Science in the public interest has recommendations to the FDA to ban the use of most dyes in food and drugs. CSPI opines that the law should be amended to make it easy for food colorings and additives to be banned. They assert that the dyes are more of just a cosmetic impact but serve no purpose. FDA defines a safe additive as one that has convincing evidence not to cause any harm, a definition that is not true with most dyes and that is why the Congress has not out rightly regarded the dyes as safe (Kanarek and Robin, 387).
Processed foods would not have a long shelf life if not for the chemicals added for preservation. Some of the preservatives manufacturers add to processed foods include sulfites and nitrites. The additives hinder the microorganisms’ growth. Nitrites are good at preservation of processed fish and meat, but the human body breaks them to nitrosamines that are carcinogenic. This is an advantage to the food processing companies but harmful to the consumer. According to August 2006 research by Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, consumption of nitrosamine from meat was found to aggravate the stomach cancer risk. Dried fruits, wine, and fruit juice are mostly preserved by sulfites that according to the Cleveland Clinic may escalate the risk of asthma attack. The companies tend to assure their customers that their products are safe even though their research to support this is biased and tends to support them. The research is done by firms or individuals that directly benefit from the company’s sales. It is reported that more than 90% of Americans spent their money on processed foods, but the question asked by most nutritionists is, "just how safe are the foods?" Whereas most of the additives are approved for human consumption in America, they have been banned in most European countries. There is a very strong recommendation from researchers that citizens prepare their meals from whole foodstuffs to avoid any threats to their health. Most cereals consumed in America for breakfast contain two chemicals BHT and BHA usually used for prevention of oxidation of oils and fats in food. Although FDA has approved this chemical alongside others, they are known to have caused several health challenges. Studies show that preservatives aggravate symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in patients. Other people may experience difficulties in ingestion and metabolism of BHT and BHA compounds thus leading to other health problems and behavioral changes as well. According to other studies, sodium benzoates, a preservative in fruit juices can cause hyperactivity in children below three years. FDA points that it is almost inevitable for Americans to consume food processed with preservatives (Egan, Sara, Philip and Clark, 578). Most of the manufacturers label the synthetic preservatives as ingredients for maintaining freshness bad their adverse effects and meanings are hidden from customers. Despite the FDA declaring most preservatives as safe for consumption, the US government claims that the components aspects of safety are yet to be satisfactorily known. Since there is a contrast in the opinions on the safety of additives and preservatives, it is upon the consumer to carefully make considerations before consumption (Nielsen & Suzanne, 56).
Food processors use fats and artificial sweeteners to process their food products. Most manufacturers call their sweeteners natural, which is confusing since they are either refined or processed, although they are derived from natural substances like stevia. Artificial sweeteners have become decent replacements to sugar because they add no calories to one’s diet. They have widely been applied in processed foods including soft drinks, baked goods, candy, puddings, dairy products, beverages and canned foods. The sweeteners are also common for use in homes. Top among the benefits of the artificial sweeteners is the fact that they do not cause tooth decay. They as well help in weight control because they are non-nutritive hence add no calories to the body. Unlike the regular sugar that contains four calories in each gram, sweeteners are preferred to because of this fact. Even though research suggests that consumption of the artificial sweeteners is associated with weight gain, the cause is yet to be established. The sweeteners are considered alternatives to regular sugar, especially for diabetic patients. They are known not to raise the blood sugar levels. However, the sweeteners have other health concerns. Studies in the 19th century have linked artificial sugars like saccharin to cancer risk (Lustig, Robert, Laura & Claire, 28). Olean has been used in the place of cooking oil in corn chips, French fries, and fat-free potato chips but are known to hinder the body from absorbing vitamins. Olestra also causes cramps and anal leakage. Brominated vegetable oil is added to citric sodas and sports drinks to facilitate food dye to stick to liquid. Olestra is prohibited in Canada and UK because of the risk exposure. The bromine in BVO is a chemical is known to cause damage to major organs, schizophrenia, growth problems, hearing loss as well as birth d...
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