Flame retardants in sodaFabrikaSimf/Shutterstock
Addicted to chugging carbonated beverages? You may want to think twice. This toxic flame retardant, subtly listed under ingredients as brominated vegetable oil (BVO), is banned as a food additive in Europe and Japan, yet it still remains open in the U.S. For years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed BVO to be used as a food additive “under certain conditions and on an interim basis pending more research.” The substance was originally used to keep plastics from catching on fire, but can now be found in certain sodas and sports drinks, including Fanta, Mountain Dew, and Gatorade. While the food industry claims that it’s beneficial to keeping artificial flavoring chemicals from separating in the liquid, health studies have linked overconsumption of BVO to unnerving symptoms, such as skin lesions, memory loss, early onset puberty, and impaired neurological abilities. If you want to be safe, thoroughly inspect all ingredient labels, or better yet, just cut back on all sugary drinks completely. Not entirely convinced? These are 10 huge reasons you should quit soda altogether.
Arsenic in riceSarah Marchant/Shutterstock
Arsenic is an earthly element that is naturally prevalent in the water and soil (termed as organic arsenic), so it’s only natural that it’s found floating around in the air. However, the substance can also derive from human efforts in activities like mining and the use of pesticides (termed as inorganic arsenic). Although the FDA has been monitoring the levels of arsenic in foods for quite some time, in April 2016, they gave the OK to a limit of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in infant foods such as rice cereal. In particular, rice contains significant levels of inorganic arsenic (which is considered to be more toxic than its organic counterpart) because its grain tends to absorb arsenic more readily than other food crops. This type of arsenic has been identified as a carcinogen, associated with ailments, such as lung, skin, and bladder cancer, and even linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. As an alternative, try switching up your grains. According to a study by Consumer Reports, brown rice has higher levels of arsenic than white because of its husk. You can also try cooking rice in a particular way—boiling the rice in a 6:1 water-to-rice ratio and draining the excess water once cooked has been proven to remove up to 60 percent of arsenic levels in rice. Like rice, check out 17 more healthy foods that can actually be dangerous to overeat.