As many as 50% of Americans may have been exposed to toxic chemicals in the food they eat, according to a new study.
The study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, looked at the ingredients used in food products across the US, and found that most of the chemicals in these foods came from chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
The chemicals in food that were detected include benzene, bromine, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, lead, mercury, lead-based paints, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polychloroprene (PCP).
According to the report, the majority of food products were manufactured between the 1950s and 2000s.
“We found that the number of chemicals detected in food from 1950 to 2000 has increased significantly, from 13 to 42 percent, compared with 15 to 24 percent of food from the 1990s and the 1990ing,” Dr. Mark Bittman, a professor of environmental health at Harvard Medical School, told Healthline.
“There are many more chemicals in our food today than in the past.
So the number is going to keep going up, but it will be slower than the growth in the number that are now being detected.”
A significant increase in toxic chemicals was observed in the 1950-2000 period, according a 2014 study.
Bittmans team studied foods that were purchased from grocery stores and food processors, which typically contained between 3.4 to 6.4 pounds of ingredients.
“The chemicals that were present in food during this period of time were mostly from industrial chemicals, primarily from fertilizer and pesticides,” he told HealthLine.
“It wasn’t the case that the contaminants were coming from nature, but from industrial processes.”
Bitts team found that some of the most common toxic chemicals were: benzene: 16.9 percent