A new ongoing series on Deconstructing Dinner that will look at the chemicals in food. From pesticides to food additives, chemicals are both intentionally and unintentionally entering into food, and into our bodies.
Recent studies have demonstrated how Canadians are chock full of toxic chemicals. The most startling findings have been that children, are more toxic than their parents. But while many of these chemicals found in our bodies come from environmental pollutants, both industrial and commercial, there are a number of chemicals being added to food. One of the most controversial chemical additives is Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal). The sweetener has once again entered into the media radar since the published results of the most comprehensive study ever conducted on the sugar substitute. The results have indicated that Aspartame, is indeed, carcinogenic. But how have health authorities responded? Do these recent findings perhaps illustrate the power of corporations in influencing food, policy, and health?
Kathryn Knowles - Director of Resource Development, European Ramazzini Foundation (Italy) - The mission of the European Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences "B. Ramazzini" is to prevent cancer by identifying its causes and studying new strategies for early diagnosis and intensive therapies. The Foundation is a non-profit, private institution with official governmental recognition. Located in Bentivoglio, in the province of Bologna, Italy, its facilities include a Cancer Research Center (CRC) with more than 10,000 square meters of laboratories and archives and an Epidemiological Research Center. The Foundation recently released their findings of the â??First Demonstration of the Multipotential Carcinogenic Effects of Aspartame Administered in the Feed to Sprague-Dawley Rats". The results were published in the March issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP).
Sarah Winterton - Program Director, Environmental Defence (Toronto) - Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. They research. They educate. They go to court when they have to. All in order to ensure clean air, safe food and thriving ecosystems. Nationwide. The organization released their Toxic Nation report in 2005. The study saw 11 adults from across Canada tested for 88 chemicals. Their most recent study released in 2006, titled Polluted Children, tested children, parents and grandparents from five Canadian families for 68 chemicals. Pollution in Canada is getting worse. While some countries step up to tackle toxic pollution, Canada straggles behind. Fortunately, the opportunity exists now to bring the regulation of toxic chemicals up to international standards.