Thursday, May 1, 2014

Beware of Dangerous Chemicals In Candies

If you can recall back to Halloween 2008, there was a big scare with candy coins.  The candy was tainted with melamine, a carcinogen and a toxic substance when ingested.  The media alerted parents around the world and the candy was recalled but not until after several children had become ill. 

English: An array of Nestle Munchies candies.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Melamine is known to cause kidney and bladder complications, particularly when it is combined with other chemicals, and it has been associated with causing cancer.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, "Melamine is a synthetic chemical with a variety of industrial uses including the production of resins and foams, cleaning products, fertilizers and pesticides. It does not occur naturally in food."

Following the Melamine candy recalls, other candy manufacturers had to do the same thing including Cadbury, Nestle, and Mars as well as many other smaller candy manufacturers.  Couple that with the fact that many candy wrappers are made from materials which contain PFCs, suspected carcinogens, and parents would be wise to pay close attention to the candy their children are consuming.

In Addition to Melamine and PFCs

If those two chemicals aren’t enough to scare parents into monitoring children’s candy consumption, consider this:
Candies (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn (back soon, sorry for not commenting))
Chewing gum often contains Propyl Gallate, Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) food additives, which have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory studies.

You may think of sugar-free candy as being "healthier," but many sugar-free candies contain Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet) and Acesulfame-K, which have been linked to brain tumors, thyroid cancer and leukemia in laboratory studies.

Finally, most candies contain some type of food coloring and Blue 1 and 2, Red 3 and Yellow 6 have all shown serious health side effects in laboratory studies.

Alternatives to Toxic Candy

Not all candy is toxic.  Look for organic candies, candy which doesn’t contain any of the food additives, colorings and preservatives listed above, or home-made candy. Making your own candy at home can be fun - and the kids can enjoy helping - and then eating the results!  In the meantime, know that many government officials are striving for safer standards, including measures to ban wrappers containing PFCs and stricter regulations on imported candy.

Additionally, if you have concerns you can visit the US Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Consumer Affairs to research candy recalls.

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