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Microwave Popcorn: Delicious or Deadly?

by Nicole Nutter

microwave popcorn health risksWhen you hear the words chemical and ingest in the same sentence, what do you think of first? Poison, right What about when you hear the words microwave and popcorn used together? After reading this article, you may be thinking poison after those seemingly harmless words as well.

Perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs) aren't something you'd see listed on a menu, but if you eat packaged junk foods or microwave popcorn, you may get a serving of potentially toxic chemicals unknowingly. Of PFCAs, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is the most well-known. NaturalNews.com describeds PFOAs as the breakdown products of chemicals used to make non-stick and water-resistant and stain-repellant products that coat kitchen pans, some clothing and food packaging, and across the world have been found to accumulate in the bloodstreams of both people and wildlife. As reported in the monthly journal Environmental Health Perspectives, scientists from the University of Toronto (U of T) recently concluded that PFCAs, present in essentially all microwave popcorn bags and snack food wrappers, are ingested by people because they travel from the wrappers into the food.

In a statement to the press, Jessica Deon, a graduate student in the U of T Chemistry Department, said, we suspected that a major source of human PCFA exposure may be the consumption and metabolism of polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters or PAPs. She explained that, PAPs are applied as grease-proofing agents to paper food contact packaging such as fast food wrappers and microwave popcorn bags.

Lead researcher and a professor in the U of T Department of Chemistry, Scott Mabury, and D?eon conducted a three-week study in which they either injected rats with PAPs or exposed them to PAPs orally. The concentrations of the PAPs and PFCA metabolites, PFOA included, in the animals blood were observed and used in conjunction with the figures of human exposure to PAPs which scientists had found in an earlier study, in order to calculate figures on human PFOA exposure from PAP metabolism.

Mabury said in the press statement that the conclusion that the metabolism of PAPs could be a major source of human exposure to PFOA is an important discovery. We would like to control human chemical exposure, but this is only possible if we understand the source of this exposure.

Though the study could not conclude if PAPs were the only source of human PFOA exposure,  un-natural health foodit did clearly demonstrate that the current use of PAPs in food contact applications does result in human exposure to PFCAs, including PFOA. Mabury finished his statement by affirming, that PAPs are a source, and the evidence from this study suggests this could be significant.

Before you open those bags of chips, before you toss the microwave popcorn in, and before you stop at your favorite fast-food joint, consider what exactly you could be exposing yourself to and if it's really worth it.

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