October 23, 2009

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.

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:

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.

Many candies including sugar free candies contain Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet) and Acesulfame-K, which have been associated with 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.

Toxic Candy Alternatives

Not all candy is toxic. Look for organic candies, candy which doesn’t contain the food additives, colorings and preservatives listed above, and home-made candy. Your children don’t have to be deprived to be safe. 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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Disclosure: When I mention products, you must assume I will receive compensation for doing so. However, I only recommend products and services I myself use or believe in and would recommend to my own sisters and mother. Nevertheless, you should perform your own due diligence before purchasing a product or service mentioned in this website.

Alexis Rodrigo