The list of 12 substances found in our daily lives that are bad for our health


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The list of 12 substances found in our daily lives that are bad for our health


Shopping with your smartphone in search of the controversial substances that hide in our everyday products is now commonplace. But what are they, and what exactly are they reproached for? Reply from Ophelia Bierschwale, press relations manager of the Yuka application.

List of controversial substances that are hidden in our cosmetics

This is the first substance cited by the press relations manager of the Yuka application. Titanium dioxide. "It is a mineral composed of oxygen and titanium, found in the diet (dye white in sweets, biscuits or chewing gum), in cosmetics (toothpastes and creams), but also in almost 4000 medicines and in paints and coatings ", She relates. The problem ? He is extremely controversial.

"Due to its physicochemical properties, respiratory exposure to TiO2 (titanium dioxide), at a certain level of concentration, may lead to pulmonary overload ", describes ANSES on its website, which classified it as a proven carcinogen. Also by inhalation, ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) also suspects it to be carcinogenic.

Not to mention that it also poses some questions when ingested orally or applied to the skin. So that in December 2018, a collective of associations had called for the withdrawal of this dye in food in a forum published in Le Monde. Since then, if there has been some progress and "titanium dioxide should be banned from our plates by January 2020", cosmetics, it is not.

  • Butylparaben and Propylparaben

Another substance that Yuka should beware of is parabens, used as preservatives in cosmetics, medicines and foods. Among the most dangerous: "butylparaben and propylparaben". The first is classified as an endocrine disruptor. It has an action on the thyroid hormones and could lead to fertility disorders. The second, also classified as an endocrine disruptor, could contribute to the development of estrogen-dependent tumors (and thus to certain breast cancers) and affect the development of male hormones. Propylparaben and butylparaben are now banned in non-rinse products for children under 3 years of age. In addition, parabens present a risk of skin allergies in local applications "says Olivia Bierschwale.

  • Butylhydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylhydroxyanisol (BHA)

Two preservatives present in all types of cosmetics and which are suspected to be endocrine disruptors. According to Yuka, BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) "would particularly affect the functioning of the thyroid and could affect fertility and development". Same for BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), also classified as "possible carcinogen" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

  • Cyclomethicone and cyclotetrasiloxane

Here, cyclomethicone and cyclotetrasiloxane, two silicones present in body milks, deodorant spray, face cream or foundation and which have shown endocrine disrupting properties. They would both be toxic for reproduction and also very worrying for the environment.

List of controversial substances lurking in our food

A synthetic dye produced chemically, tartrazine is suspected of promoting hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder in children when combined with benzoates.

Conservative widely used in the food industry, which is found especially in cold cuts, sodium nitrite is used to preserve the color of the meat and give it more flavors. "The problem is that when they combine in the stomach with certain other foods, nitrites then contribute to the formation of nitrosamines, supposedly carcinogenic compounds ", Yuka reports. Thus, nitrites have been classified as substances "probably carcinogenic to humans" by IARC. In 2015, IARC also classified processed meat (ham, sausage, minced meat, etc.) as a food carcinogen for humans (the formation of nitrosamines being a contributing factor to this risk).

Last but not leastaccording to reports provided by the application, a link was also established between the formation of nitrosamines and stomach cancer on the one hand, and processed meat and colon cancer on the other hand.

Potassium nitrate is a preservative widely used in the agri-food industry - here too, which is found especially in cold cuts -. It is also used to prevent certain cheeses from swelling during fermentation. What is the problem? That if most of the ingested nitrates are then eliminated in the urine, the remaining part, it is converted into nitrite by the bacteria of the mouth. And as described above, when nitrites combine in the stomach with certain other foods, they then contribute to the formation of nitrosamines, supposedly carcinogenic compounds. And potentially responsible for cancers.

Phosphates are widely used by the food industry because they can fulfill many functions: leavening agent, stabilizers, acidity regulators or even humectants. If they provide the body with phosphorus, an essential mineral that is found naturally in animal and plant products, it is mainly quantities that are problematic. Today, we are well above our recommended phosphorus intake. Namely, 2 to 3 times higher than our needs according to ANSES.

Excess phosphorus can cause problematic consequences. It increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by causing calcification of the vessels. It also disrupts calcium metabolism and bone mineralization. "A study published in 2013 (Chang AR et al.) Also showed that high phosphorus consumption was associated with higher mortality"Yuka reports. Finally, it aggravates kidney diseases, kidneys having trouble eliminating the excess. Patients with renal insufficiency must be particularly vigilant in their phosphorus consumption. Also note that phosphates are banned in organic products.

Sodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer found in many industrial products, including crisps, biscuits, soups, preserves, and so on. It can also be present in Asian industrial dishes such as spring rolls, Cantonese rice or soy sauce. Ingested too much, sodium glutamate may cause nausea, vomiting, headache, redness of the skin or hot flashes.

In addition, sodium glutamate stimulates the appetite and thus increase the amount of food ingested. It could thus promote weight gain and obesity. The press officer of the study cites several publications (especially in mice and rats), which showed that the use of high doses of sodium glutamate led to an increase in weight. Also note, sodium glutamate is banned in organic products.

Read also :

⋙ Baby bottles, receipts ... Researchers alert about a new endocrine disruptor

⋙ Endocrine disruptors: kits distributed to pregnant women to avoid harmful products

⋙ Essure contraceptive implants: what you need to know about these controversial implants


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