Food and food packaging manufacturers have always argued the point that there isn’t any proof that substances in their products are harmful. Pediatricians don’t agree. The American Academy of Pediatrics, a group of 67,000 US doctors, is raising the alarm about chemicals interacting with our foods and the negative effects they may be having on children. They urge families to cut down on processed meat during pregnancy.
Where These Chemicals are Coming From
Chemicals originate from many everyday objects that we generally don’t take notice of. Plastic containers are one of the biggest potential sources, along with food preservatives found in meats. When food is microwaved in a plastic container, the heat can cause chemicals in the plastic to leach into the food. Among other precautions, the AAP recommends that you:
- Use plastic alternatives like glass when serving and preparing food
- Avoid processed meats
- Wash your hands before you eat (Always relevant!)
How These Chemicals Affect Us
Many of the chemicals can have effects similar to those of naturally occurring hormones, which can disrupt the natural processes of the body’s hormonal and immune systems. For the still developing immune system of a child, this means they have the potential for experiencing any number of harmful effects, including weight gain. Considering the statistical rise of obesity and developmental disorders in children ages 6 to 19 since 1970, it’s a definite possibility that the chemicals present in our modern food products could be a major contributor.
Read more about chemicals in food and the recommendations of the American Association of Pediatrics in this article by Roni Caryn Rabin in the The New York Times.