The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released a set of guidelines urging parents and others responsible for children’s health to beware of the chemicals in many common foods and food packaging.
This warning includes scientific evidence showing that specific chemicals in foods and food containers hurt a child’s development.
More specifically, the AAP is asking adults to eat less processed meat consumed during pregnancy, and more whole fruit and vegetables, and to limit the use of plastic food containers for both storage and heating of foods.
Otherwise, parents risk throwing the body’s natural hormone levels into havoc. At the same time, all of the aforementioned steps can help reduce children’s exposure to chemicals in food and food packaging.
How Are We Harming Our Children?
The AAP has pointed out that thousands of chemicals are making their way into our diet, either directly or via packaging.
Some of those chemicals include nitrates, nitrites, phthalates, bisphenols, perfluoroalkyls, and perchlorates. While these dangerous ingredients may not be listed on food packaging, they are lurking in our food supply.
Although each individual exposure to these chemicals may be minute, the danger lies in the accumulated effect. Another worry is that infants and toddlers are especially susceptible to the impact of these chemicals because they consume more food per pound of body weight than adults.
When these substances make contact with a child’s organ and metabolic systems, which are still developing, the effect on hormones can be significant. In fact, low exposure to hormone disrupting factors can contribute to disease by interfering with normal hormone function.
This disruption increases the incidences of obesity and developmental disorders among young people. A new report in Pediatrics noted that “in some cases, exposure to these chemicals is disproportionate among minority and low-income populations.”
The Food and Drug Administration has come under fire since 2010 for questions about the safety of existing or new additives already listed as “generally recognized as safe.”
The good news is you can significantly reduce your child’s exposure to these dangerous chemicals by instituting a few simple habits. It is best if the entire family incorporates these diet changes, both for health reasons and moral support.
- Avoid processed foods, especially during pregnancy.
- Use wraps made from beeswax instead of plastic wrap if you must wrap foods.
- Make fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables the bulk of your daily food.
- Choose organic foods whenever possible.
- Limit canned foods, unless labeled “BPA free.”
- Allow children to participate in the preparation of their snacks and meals whenever possible, including growing some of their own fruits and vegetables.
Deborah Mitchell is a freelance health writer who is passionate about animals and the environment. She has authored, co-authored, and written more than 50 books and thousands of articles on a wide range of topics. This article was originally published on NaturallySavvy.Com