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Flame-Retardant Chemicals Found In Common Foods

Flame-Retardant Chemicals Found In Common Foods

Common foods found in U.S. grocery stores are contaminated with Polybrominated dphenyl ethers, or PBDEs: a class of chemicals commonly used as a flame-retardant, according to a recent study.

The study examined ten samples of 31 distinct food types, including meat products, fish, dairy foods, vegetable-based foods, and eggs. The samples were collected from five supermarkets on two separate occasions in Dallas, Texas, in 2009.

The most heavily PBDE contaminated food was butter, followed by canned sardines and fresh salmon. Lowest detected levels were found in other dairy samples (whole milk and yogurt) and in vegetables (cereal, apples, and potatoes).

Although the purpose of the study was “to update previous U.S. market basket surveys of levels and PBDE dietary intake calculations” it’s disturbing to know that these types of chemicals are present in our food at any level.

As Rodale.com reports, “previous studies have shown butter to be contaminated with everything from PBDEs to DDT, and when those chemicals combine, their collective health effects can have an even greater impact than if they existed alone.”

The Environmental Working Group reports that dozens of independent studies have linked low levels of bromated fire retardants with a variety of adverse health effects, including effects on learning and memory, spontaneous motor behavior and habitutation capability that worsened with age; endocrine disruption; and decreased sperm count in adult offspring.

Unfortunately, the newly Senate-approved Food Safety Modernization Act that so many people hoped would eliminate these threats would do nothing to reduce this contamination as it focuses on bacteria rather than chemicals, according to Delish.com.

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Image Credit: Flickr - green kozi

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187 comments

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7:44PM PST on Nov 17, 2013

Please, ladies and gentlemen, do not trust the FDA. That, and all government agencies, were corrupted long ago. The Food and Drug Administration was originally set up to protect the public, but has long been run by the very corporations it is supposed to monitor. Example: Michael Taylor has been swinging back and forth through the revolving door between his positions as Chief Deputy of the FDA and head attorney and CEO of Monsanto - outrageous. All sane individuals can readily see this as blatant criminality, yet it goes on unabated and business-as-usual in all corners of state and federal government. They don't care what we think, say or eat.

11:35AM PST on Dec 23, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

12:04PM PST on Dec 13, 2011

How in the hell does a flame retardant end up in butter or ANY dairy product?? I'd REALLY like an answer to that one! For God sake is ANYTHING safe to eat anymore?

11:53PM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

just unbelieveable!

7:40AM PDT on May 28, 2011

I always read labels and choose fresh rather than packaged if I can, but BUTTER? It is supposed to be fresh.

5:39AM PDT on May 20, 2011

this doesn't sound good

11:25AM PDT on May 19, 2011

What a sad world we live in, you can't trust the food that you are eating! It is the role of Government to protect people from harm, no matter if the risk comes from bugs, chemicals or anything else for that matter!

9:39PM PDT on Apr 28, 2011

FDA should be testing food for chemicals now that it has come to their attention.

8:43AM PST on Jan 5, 2011

Why does butter need flame retardant in the first place? I've never heard of anyone who died because butter caught fire...

10:55AM PST on Jan 4, 2011

Let's see... Enough preservative to keep up from decomposing for years. Now I learn they can't build a funeral pyre or cremate me. None of this is natural, obviously. Sheesh! I fail to understand why anyone would consider this unnecessary to test. No wonder we're getting dumber (as it studies re: the brain)!

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