In a new study of popular, high-fat, products purchased from grocery stores in Dallas, Texas, researchers found that nearly half of the sampled peanut butter and cold cuts, as well as turkey, fish, and beef , contained traces of a flame retardant called hexabromocyclododecane or HBCD. HBCD is commonly used in the foam insulation of building walls.
The results were high for fatty foods because HBCDs are fat-soluble. The research raises concerns because it can take years for flame retardants to break down in the body. HBCDs make their way into the food chain via the air, water and soil, according to experts. In the case of peanut butter researchers speculate it may be due to the water that the peanut crops can be watered with.
“This is not good news. Here’s yet another toxic chemical that can be found in many of the foods we buy at our supermarkets,” said Dr. Arnold Schecter of the University of Texas School of Public Health and an author of the study published on Thursday told the Huffingtonpost.
Critics of the study are quick to point to the levels found in the study, which were below the levels set by the government. Although individually the levels found in the study were not too concerning, the discovery of HBCD adds to growing evidence that food can be full of unwanted chemicals. Readers may recall an earlier post on a flame retardant, BVO, found in most citrus sodas like Mountain Dew.
More information about HBCD can found on the EPA’s website.
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