Would you eat a food banned in other countries? What about using cosmetic ingredients banned in Europe? Banned chemicals are a hot-button topic around the world. Every country has unique standards for what ingredients, chemicals, and food production practices are considered safe for the consumption of its people and this has lead to product liability lawsuits from what have been deemed to be defective products. These standards are influenced by thorough scientific research from organizations such as the International Agency on Research for Cancer and the World Health Organization. It may be shocking to discover that many foods and chemicals sold in the United States are banned or severely regulated around the globe. Ingredients banned in Canada, America’s neighbor, include potassium bromate, BHA and BHT, and artificial growth hormone.
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What Chemicals Are Banned in Europe?
Here are some of the major chemicals and foods banned in Europe but not America:
- Potassium Bromate: This strong oxidizing agent is used to strengthen dough and give it an appealing white color. It’s used in dough, bread, cookies, pizza, chips, and breaded patties. Why is potassium bromate bad for you? In 1999, the International Agency on Research for Cancer declared it a possible human carcinogen.
- BHA and BHT: These man-made preservatives are used in food, food packaging, animal feed, cosmetics, rubber, petroleum products, and medication. The National Toxicology Program classified BHA as “reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen.”
- Brominated Vegetable Oil: This bromine-containing oil is used in citrus-flavored soft drinks like Mountain Dew. BVO has been found to irritate skin and mucous membranes. Excessive long-term use may cause headaches, memory loss, and impaired coordination.
- Azodicarbonamide: This chemical substance is used to whiten and condition dough. It’s called the yoga mat food additive because it is used in foamed plastics as well as cereal, breads, and some fast-food bread products. The WHO has linked it to asthma, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest deemed it a potential cancer risk.
- RBST/Artificial Growth Hormone: RBST is a synthesized form of a hormone produced by a cow’s pituitary gland. It’s injected into dairy cows to increase milk production. RBST may be linked to an increased risk of cancer. RBST also causes adverse health affects and suffering in cows. The growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is an additional concern because cows given RBST are also treated more frequently with antibiotics.
- Parabens: Endocrine disruption is the main concern with this class of preservatives used to inhibit mold and bacteria growth in skin and hair products. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has found evidence of paraben endrocrine disruption, especially in babies. Parabens may also disrupt sex hormones and act as a very weak estrogen. Isopropyl- and isobutylparaben are banned by the European Union. Five parabens are banned by ASEAN, a group of ten Southeast Asian countries.