The same research group that found traces of the chemical BPA (Bisphenol A) in a wide range of canned foods has discovered extremely high concentrations of a flame-retardant compound in a supermarket sample of brand-name butter.
Based on some of their recent data, Arnold Schecter, a public health physician at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Dallas, and his colleagues, noticed high levels of one type of PBDE flame-retardant in a pooled sample of 10 kinds of butter.
The researchers collected 10 butter samples over a few months from Dallas grocery stores; they tested each type of butter separately, and found nine of them contained low levels of PBDEs.
But one pat of butter contained more than 135 times more of a PBDE called deca-BDE, the scientists reported in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Levels of that chemical in the butter’s wrapper were even higher, Schecter said, suggesting that contamination came from the packaging.
“We had never seen or read anywhere about PBDE-contamination of food at such high levels,” he said. “We were really startled. This is entirely new to us. This study and others mean that we are getting episodic contamination with persistent organic man-made chemicals, and that every so often, the level is much higher than the day-by-day ordinary levels.”
And as Schecter points out, no provisions in the new (stalled) food bill are included to address problems with toxic chemicals in food because the new bill focuses only on bacteria, not chemicals.
“I would feel much more comfortable with the food we’re all eating if I knew the federal government was trying to do large, systematic and periodic sampling to figure out which contaminants are getting in, what their route is, and how we can decrease their amounts,” he said. “From what I’ve read, there does not seem to be any consideration for chemical contamination in the new bill, which is very unfortunate.”
Schecter refused to name the manufacturer, but did indicate that the manufacturer’s headquarters are located near the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area; he said the company recently advertised that it was using new and improved wrappers for its butter.
Mike McClean, an environmental health researcher at the Boston University School of Public Health, said chances are that there’s more contaminated butter out there.
“Think of all the butter in the United States, and if in just 10 samples, you find one, that is super-high,” McClean said. “I don’t think they stumbled upon an isolated incident. I personally think you could go take 10 samples of lots of different types of foods and probably find something similar.”
Unfortunately, toxic chemicals abound in our food supply.
Chemicals in Fast Food Wrappers Found in Human Blood
In another recent report, environmental chemists from the University of Toronto recently found that chemicals used in fast food wrappers and microwave popcorn bags are being absorbed into food, ingested by humans, and then transferred as contaminants into the blood stream.
The chemicals are perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs), which are produced by the break down of polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters (PAPs). “We suspected that a major source of human PFCA exposure may be the consumption and metabolism of polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters, or PAPs,” said one of the researchers.
Chicken McNuggets contain a petroleum-based product & anti-foaming agent
And last July we reported that McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets contain a petroleum-based product (TBHQ) and anti-foaming agent (Dimethylpolysiloxane) used in Silly Putty. TBHQ is a preservative for vegetable oils and animal fats, and is also added to varnishes, lacquers, resins, and oil field additives, and used industrially in cosmetics to lower the evaporation rate and improve stability. Dimethylpolysiloxane is a form of silicone used to prevent oil from foaming; it’s also used in cosmetics and Silly Putty.
Veggie Burgers Made With Gasoline By-product
Additionally, last April we published information on research conducted by the Cornucopia Institute that concluded soy-based vegetarian burgers — unless certified organic — contain hexane-extracted soy protein. Hexane is a neurotoxin and a petroleum by-product of gasoline refining.
Food manufacturers make conventional soy protein by immersing soybeans in a “hexane bath” before they are further processed into ingredients such as oil, soy protein isolate, or texturized soy protein (TVP). High heat and high pressure are then used to texturize the soy protein.
According to Cornucopia’s report, “Behind the Bean” [pdf], hexane-extracted soy protein is found in the vast majority of nonorganic foods with soy ingredients marketed to health-conscious consumers and vegetarians. Its use is a cost-effective and highly efficient method for separating whole soybeans into soy oil, protein, and fiber.