Nearly 500 foods in U.S. contain this dangerous chemical
A report released Thursday by a health research and advocacy organization in Washington says that hundreds of foods sitting on the shelves of U.S. grocery stores contain a chemical that could be hazardous to your health.
The report, issued by the Environmental Working Group, discovered almost 500 foods that contained the chemical azodicarbonamide (ADA), a potentially hazardous industrial plastics chemical – and many of the foods that contained ADA were actually labeled “healthy”.
The report said that ADA was found as an ingredient in a variety of foods ranging from breads and pizza, to hamburger and other food products.
Although ADA is fully approved for use in foods by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the chemical is banned as a food additive in some European countries, as well as Australia.
Back in America, there are several consumer groups trying to have the chemical removed from foods in the U.S. – and their efforts may be paying off, as Subway restaurants recently announced that they were removing azodicarbonamide from its sandwiches and other food products.
However, the fast food chain also stated that ADA is a safe and commonly used ingredient in a variety of foods.
When added to foods, ADA acts as a flour-bleaching and oxidizing agent in dough to improve its texture and performance for baking. It is used in a similar manner in plastic products, such as shoes and exercise mats, to improve elasticity.
However, according to The World Health Organization, there are several research studies on humans that have reported "abundant evidence” showing ADA can induce asthma and other respiratory problems, as well as cause skin problems in those who work with the chemical.
The Environmental Working Group concluded from the report that food companies should immediately stop the use of azodicarbonamide in food.
In the meantime, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer from New York is calling on the FDA to ban the chemical from foods in the U.S. – even though the agency says that ADA can be used safely in foods, so long as the amount of the chemical in flour doesn’t exceed 2.05 grams per 100 pounds of flour.
1. The Environmental Working Group, Report: Nearly 500 ways to make a yoga mat sandwich, David Andrews, Ph.D. & Elaine Shannon, published February 27, 2014.
2. The World Health Organization, Chemical Assessment Report: Azodicarbonamide,
April 5, 2005.