Dr. Oz, January 24, 2014, is taking on the FDA again today as he discusses the cancer risks of 4-MEI Caramel Coloring in food and how Triclosan, found in antibiotic soaps, weakens your bacterial resistance. Heather White of EWG and Dr. Urvashi Rangan from Consumer Reports Magazine are both on the show today to talk about the possible health problems. Oz has taken on the FDA before and he has never been afraid of criticism. Just remember his show about the dangers of arsenic in apple juice and you will see how our government agencies deny and then change their minds after Oz reveals new evidence of helath risks.
4-MEI Caramel Coloring Cancer Risk
Dr. Urvashi says that the chemical 4-MEI is produced when caramel coloring is produced and mixed with other ingredients under certain temperatures. This chemical is dangerous in high amounts and you will find it in everything from soda to bread. California has already started its own regulation of the chemical and has set the levels to 29 micro grams per serving before a warning label is required on the product. No other state or the Federal Government has made any requirement yet.
The Consumer Reports study tested 12 brands of soda from different areas of the country and found that the levels varied not only by brand, but by location and manufacturing date as well. Malta Goya, manufactured in California, was the highest with over 350 micrograms of 4-MEI per bottle. Pepsi One had 43 micrograms. Pepsi and Diet Pepsi in California had just under the 29 microgram limit and Coke was the lowest with just 5 micrograms. Urvashi noted that when they tested sodas in New York, the levels were high in one month and the a lot lower during a retest later. She says this shows that manufacturers are not regulating this because the FDA does not require them to do it.
Oz says that 4-MEI is a known Carcinogen and thinks the FDA is not doing its job when it allows this to be used in our food supply. This is not just a soda problem as 4-MEI is found in instant brown gravy mix, imitation pancake syrup, and dark breads. Dr. Rangan says that the FDA should at least make sure it is not used in products marked as “All Natural.” She says sodas like Dr. Snap say they are All Natural but have Caramel Coloring listed as an ingredient. Caramel coloring is not a natural ingredient.
Oz says you are increasing your risk for cancer by exposing yourself to 4-MEI daily. He recommends staying away from any product the lists Caramel Coloring on the label to limit your exposure.
Triclosan And Antibacterial Soap
Heather White, from Environmental Working Group, says Triclosan is a known Endocrine Disruptor, has been shown to weaken our heart muscle, and lowers our bacterial resistance. She says the CDC admits it is found on 75% of us in our blood, urine, and has even shown up in breast milk.
The FDA is starting to take action here as it is now requiring companies to prove they are effective and safe for long term use. Products that contain Triclosan are antibacterial hand sanitizers and soap, mouthwash, toothpaste, cutting boards, and deodorant.
Oz tells us not to wait in the FDA and take action on our own. You can find product that don’t have Triclosan on the label to replace just about everything that has this chemical. He says look at your labels carefully and avoid any product that says Triclosan, Triclocarbon, Odor fighting, and antibacterial on the label. He says the potential benefits are not worth the risk.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Oz