According to a paper published in Environmental Health Perspectives, flame retardants are now finding their way into our food supply.
Researchers tested 36 food samples purchased from Dallas, Texas grocery stores, including fish, beef, peanut butter, and deli meats. They detected significant levels of a brominated flame retardant called hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) in 15 of the samples.
HBCD has been linked to endocrine disruption, immune and reproductive system problems, and neurotoxicity in children.
The highest concentrations of HBCD were found in fatty animal foods, including canned sardines, smoked turkey sausages and fresh salmon. The study’s lead author, Dr. Arnold Schecter, was quoted: “We’re eating too much animals and too little fruits and vegetables. For lots of reasons its good to eat less animals than the average American.”
Can’t argue with him there!
Image Credit: Andrea Pokrzywinski/Flickr
So what does this mean for those of us who like peanut butter? Is there a reason why they chose to test these specific products? Why are the flame retardants there? Are manufacturers claiming that they serve some benefit? Is this limited to only Dallas? Where else are these products sold? Which peanut butters are safe? This article fails to answer many important questions.
Kelly – certainly more research is needed about specific foods and how the concentrations vary by area. The issue is certainly not limited to Dallas, TX but that is the only area this study examined.
They tested these products because these chemicals are most likely to accumulate in fats and fatty tissue. Mostly animal products, but they also found HBCD in peanut butter (in lower concentrations). For now, nobody is saying not to eat peanut butter, and they don’t have recommendations for certain brands.
Flame retardants get in our food supply mostly through waterways – that’s why fish (especially fatty fish) appear to be the worst. Manufacturers don’t add flame retardants to food.