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New Research Tuesday: One More Reason to Avoid Pop Tarts, Cheez-Its, and Other Processed Snacks

What kind of study was this?

This was a review and analysis of available toxicology data related to widely used food preservatives and food packaging chemicals collected from various sources.

What did researchers want to know?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxicity Forecaster (ToxCast) has been examining the potential toxicity of chemicals using innovative technology and statistical modeling that is much more efficient than previous methods. The researchers in this study, who are from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-governmental watchdog group, wanted to know how consistent ToxCast’s analyses are with more conventional methods for assessing potential toxicity. In this study, they particularly wanted to investigate the potential toxicity of food preservatives and food packaging chemicals.

What did the researchers actually do?

They examined the data and analysis of the EPA’s ToxCast system and compared it to what has already been published through more conventional toxicology analysis.

What did the researchers find?

They found that the widespread food preservative tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ) shows potential toxicity for the human immune system in both ToxCast’s system as well as in published research using conventional toxicity assessment methods. The preservative tBHQ is used in over a thousand packaged food products like Pop-Tarts, Cheez-Its, Rice Krispie Treats, and many brands of microwave popcorn. In another study, tBHQ has been found to potentially impair the human body’s immune response to influenza vaccines and infections. And in this study, tBHQ negatively impacts the immune system by reducing T-cell activation.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

The vast majority of packaged foods on this list negatively impact our kids’ health in well-known ways (primarily through having way too much sugar and fat and not enough protein). But here’s another reason to avoid them: preservatives that mess up our immune system.

Written by The Family Thrive Expert Team

Original article:
Naidenko OV, Andrews DQ, Temkin AM, Stoiber T, Uche UI, Evans S, Perrone-Gray S. Investigating Molecular Mechanisms of Immunotoxicity and the Utility of ToxCast for Immunotoxicity Screening of Chemicals Added to Food. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(7):3332.
https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073332

New Research Tuesday: One More Reason to Avoid Pop Tarts, Cheez-Its, and Other Processed Snacks

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New Research Tuesday: One More Reason to Avoid Pop Tarts, Cheez-Its, and Other Processed Snacks

At The Family Thrive, we try to offer factual, science-driven information on why you should think twice about putting ultra-processed foods in your pantry. Here's another reason to add to the list.

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Key takeaways

1

In the last decade, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has created a new, faster way to assess potential toxicity in widely used chemicals

2

Researchers compared the findings of this new system with already published research using older methods

3

They found that this new system aligns with older methods when examining the widely used food preservative tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ), found in Pop-Tarts and Cheez-Its

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Reading time:

3 minutes

What kind of study was this?

This was a review and analysis of available toxicology data related to widely used food preservatives and food packaging chemicals collected from various sources.

What did researchers want to know?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxicity Forecaster (ToxCast) has been examining the potential toxicity of chemicals using innovative technology and statistical modeling that is much more efficient than previous methods. The researchers in this study, who are from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-governmental watchdog group, wanted to know how consistent ToxCast’s analyses are with more conventional methods for assessing potential toxicity. In this study, they particularly wanted to investigate the potential toxicity of food preservatives and food packaging chemicals.

What did the researchers actually do?

They examined the data and analysis of the EPA’s ToxCast system and compared it to what has already been published through more conventional toxicology analysis.

What did the researchers find?

They found that the widespread food preservative tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ) shows potential toxicity for the human immune system in both ToxCast’s system as well as in published research using conventional toxicity assessment methods. The preservative tBHQ is used in over a thousand packaged food products like Pop-Tarts, Cheez-Its, Rice Krispie Treats, and many brands of microwave popcorn. In another study, tBHQ has been found to potentially impair the human body’s immune response to influenza vaccines and infections. And in this study, tBHQ negatively impacts the immune system by reducing T-cell activation.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

The vast majority of packaged foods on this list negatively impact our kids’ health in well-known ways (primarily through having way too much sugar and fat and not enough protein). But here’s another reason to avoid them: preservatives that mess up our immune system.

Written by The Family Thrive Expert Team

Original article:
Naidenko OV, Andrews DQ, Temkin AM, Stoiber T, Uche UI, Evans S, Perrone-Gray S. Investigating Molecular Mechanisms of Immunotoxicity and the Utility of ToxCast for Immunotoxicity Screening of Chemicals Added to Food. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(7):3332.
https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073332

What kind of study was this?

This was a review and analysis of available toxicology data related to widely used food preservatives and food packaging chemicals collected from various sources.

What did researchers want to know?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxicity Forecaster (ToxCast) has been examining the potential toxicity of chemicals using innovative technology and statistical modeling that is much more efficient than previous methods. The researchers in this study, who are from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-governmental watchdog group, wanted to know how consistent ToxCast’s analyses are with more conventional methods for assessing potential toxicity. In this study, they particularly wanted to investigate the potential toxicity of food preservatives and food packaging chemicals.

What did the researchers actually do?

They examined the data and analysis of the EPA’s ToxCast system and compared it to what has already been published through more conventional toxicology analysis.

What did the researchers find?

They found that the widespread food preservative tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ) shows potential toxicity for the human immune system in both ToxCast’s system as well as in published research using conventional toxicity assessment methods. The preservative tBHQ is used in over a thousand packaged food products like Pop-Tarts, Cheez-Its, Rice Krispie Treats, and many brands of microwave popcorn. In another study, tBHQ has been found to potentially impair the human body’s immune response to influenza vaccines and infections. And in this study, tBHQ negatively impacts the immune system by reducing T-cell activation.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

The vast majority of packaged foods on this list negatively impact our kids’ health in well-known ways (primarily through having way too much sugar and fat and not enough protein). But here’s another reason to avoid them: preservatives that mess up our immune system.

Written by The Family Thrive Expert Team

Original article:
Naidenko OV, Andrews DQ, Temkin AM, Stoiber T, Uche UI, Evans S, Perrone-Gray S. Investigating Molecular Mechanisms of Immunotoxicity and the Utility of ToxCast for Immunotoxicity Screening of Chemicals Added to Food. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(7):3332.
https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073332

What kind of study was this?

This was a review and analysis of available toxicology data related to widely used food preservatives and food packaging chemicals collected from various sources.

What did researchers want to know?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxicity Forecaster (ToxCast) has been examining the potential toxicity of chemicals using innovative technology and statistical modeling that is much more efficient than previous methods. The researchers in this study, who are from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-governmental watchdog group, wanted to know how consistent ToxCast’s analyses are with more conventional methods for assessing potential toxicity. In this study, they particularly wanted to investigate the potential toxicity of food preservatives and food packaging chemicals.

What did the researchers actually do?

They examined the data and analysis of the EPA’s ToxCast system and compared it to what has already been published through more conventional toxicology analysis.

What did the researchers find?

They found that the widespread food preservative tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ) shows potential toxicity for the human immune system in both ToxCast’s system as well as in published research using conventional toxicity assessment methods. The preservative tBHQ is used in over a thousand packaged food products like Pop-Tarts, Cheez-Its, Rice Krispie Treats, and many brands of microwave popcorn. In another study, tBHQ has been found to potentially impair the human body’s immune response to influenza vaccines and infections. And in this study, tBHQ negatively impacts the immune system by reducing T-cell activation.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

The vast majority of packaged foods on this list negatively impact our kids’ health in well-known ways (primarily through having way too much sugar and fat and not enough protein). But here’s another reason to avoid them: preservatives that mess up our immune system.

Written by The Family Thrive Expert Team

Original article:
Naidenko OV, Andrews DQ, Temkin AM, Stoiber T, Uche UI, Evans S, Perrone-Gray S. Investigating Molecular Mechanisms of Immunotoxicity and the Utility of ToxCast for Immunotoxicity Screening of Chemicals Added to Food. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(7):3332.
https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073332

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