[Pharmwaste] estrogenic food additives?

Tenace, Laurie Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us
Fri Mar 27 07:50:20 EDT 2009

A little off topic, but another possible source of estrogen-mimicking
compounds to further muddy this already complex issue. More at the web site.

Food may contain environmental estrogens

A discovery that two commonly used food additives are estrogenic has led
scientists to suspect that many ingredients added to the food supply may be
capable of altering hormones.
More than 3,000 preservatives, flavorings, colors and other ingredients are
added to food in the United States, and none of them are required to undergo
testing for estrogenic activity, according to the Food and Drug
 "We need to be mindful of these food additives because they could be adding
to the total effect of other estrogen mimicking compounds we're coming into
contact with," said Clair Hicks, a professor of food science at the
University of Kentucky and spokesperson for the Institute of Food
Technologists, a nonprofit scientific group.
 "The benefits of using these additives in food need to be weighed against
the risks they present," Hicks said.
In a study published in December, Italian researchers screened 1,500 food
additives using computer-modeling software, a much faster and cheaper
approach than testing lab rats.
The researchers first used modeling to identify 13 molecules that could
hypothetically bind with an estrogen receptor, a group of molecules activated
by the hormone. Like a clenched fist that fits into the palm of a hand,
potentially estrogenic molecules will "fit" inside the receptor, indicating
they could interact and alter hormones.
Then, the researchers exposed cells to the 13 food additives, which confirmed
that two have estrogen-mimicking properties. Known as "xenoestrogens," these
substances have been linked to reproductive problems in animals and perhaps
The first food additive, propyl gallate, is a preservative used to prevent
fats and oils from spoiling that can be found in a range of foods including
baked goods, shortening, dried meats, candy, fresh pork sausage, mayonnaise
and dried milk.
The second additive, 4-hexyl resorcinol, is used to prevent shrimp, lobsters,
and other shellfish from discoloring.

Laurie Tenace
Environmental Specialist
Waste Reduction Section
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Rd., MS 4555
Tallahassee FL 32399-2400
P: 850.245.8759
F: 850.245.8811
Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us 

Mercury: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/mercury/default.htm 

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