Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Other than Subway sandwiches, 500 other bread products sold in supermarkets contain a foaming chemical used for making yoga mats and flip-flops, a consumer health advocacy group warned on Thursday.
The Environmental Working Group, which also advocates protection of the environment, said the 500 food items of more than 130 brands have the potentially harmful ingredient azodicarbonamide (ADA), which is used by plastics makers to make flip-flops, yoga mats and many types of foam packing and insulation light, spongy and strong.
The EWG urged consumers not to patronize ADA-laced food and food manufacturers to stop using the chemical on their products.
The group based its findings on research and data from FoodEssentials, a company that compiles the ingredients and claims made on foods sold in American supermarkets.
ADA recently made headlines when fast-food chain Subway announced it has been removing since last year the said industrial chemical as ingredient for its breads after food blogger Vani Hari collected 92,000 signatures for an online petition to remove it.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) apparently approved in 1962 the use of ADA as food additive after New Jersey chemical, pharmaceuticals and engineering firm Wallace & Tiernan discovered that ADA can be used for commercial bread production as a “dough conditioner” to make bread rise higher, stay soft and resilient and form an attractive crust. The FDA limited the use of ADA to less than 0.0045 percent of the weight of the flour.
The use of ADA as food additive, however, is not allowed in Europe and Australia. A World Health Organization study found that ADA handlers are prone to asthma, respiratory symptoms and skin disorders. A Center for Science in the Public Interest study also found that ADA forms semicarbazide and urethane when baked, and both have been linked to cancers in mice.