Unless you’re on a strict raw food diet, chances are at least some of the food your family eats is processed and probably contains some additives like artificial colors and flavors. But are food additives bad for your kids? New research sheds some light on additives and child health.

A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics warns that parents should minimize their kids’ exposure to chemical additives in food because they pose a risk of endocrine system disruption. Artificial food coloring, nitrates and nitrites are among the most common food additives that are most concerning to researchers.

Kids are at greater risk to develop health problems from chemical exposure because they have a greater dietary intake ratio and their metabolic systems are still maturing.

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It isn’t just chemicals added to the food that pose a danger, but also the chemicals that come in contact with food, like bisphenols, which are used to line food cans and phthalates, which are used in plasticizers during manufacturing.

While the report notes that it is challenging to eliminate these additives from your family’s diet entirely, there are steps you can take to minimize it, including:

  • Prioritizing fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Reducing consumption of processed meats
  • Avoiding microwaving foods and drinks in plastic, including formula or breastmilk in baby bottles
  • Avoiding putting plastics in the dishwasher
  • Using alternatives to plastic whenever possible

The AAP is also making recommendations to the FDA based on their research to re-evaluate their system for rating the safety of toxins, as well as retesting chemicals previously established as safe by newer standards.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

Featured photo: Leah Kelley via Pexels

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