These chemical additives in food cause neurocognitive problems in kids, warns Pediatricians

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Food when heated in plastic containers can draw chemicals that may be harmful to children into food, scientists say.
Food when heated in plastic containers can draw chemicals that may be harmful to children into food, scientists say.

New Delhi : When it comes to kids’ health, special care should be taken in terms of food and water. Quite often, it is seen that children suffer from unwanted problems due to exposure to contaminated food. The American American Academy of Pediatrics suggests parents and pediatricians to avoid exposing children to eight chemicals found in food and in plastic packaging. The chemicals may be harmful to kids due to their small size, according to the report published July 23 in Pediatrics. 

Also, pregnant women and common people should avoid prepackaged foods as they could be at greater risk for exposure to those deadly chemicals. Durable plastics are made of bisphenol A, or BPA which has been linked to cancer obesity and cardiovascular disease. Also the chemicals like nitrates and nitrites, often added to processed meats as a preservative cause fatal illness. The report also listed phthalates, which help make plastic flexible, and perfluoroalkyl chemicals, or PFCs, which are resistant to stains, grease and water. These and other compounds have also been associated with endocrine disruption, obesity and insulin resistance, when cells don’t respond properly to insulin leading to an overproduction of the hormone.

Some of the aforesaid chemicals may also have neurocognitive effects, such as increased hyperactivity in children, says study co-author Sheela Sathyanarayana, a physician and epidemiologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Scientists, however, are yet to test the effects of these chemicals directly in humans, so proofs shows only that there is correlation, not causation, between exposure and disease.

To get rid of these harmful chemicals, the experts suggest parents buy fresh or frozen produce and keep aside processed meats packaged in plastic or food in metal cans, which can be lined with BPA. People should also avoid putting plastic containers in the dishwasher or microwave, the team says, where heat can generate chemicals out of plastic.

 “All parents should be able to know what they are feeding their children,” Sathyanarayana says.