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Cancer Causing Food Additives

Browse Food Additives

According to the Delaney Clause of the 1958 Food Additives Amendment, any substances that have been shown to cause cancer in humans or animals are not allowed to be added to human food products. However, the Food and Drug Administration has circumvented those standards and has allowed "small amounts" of cancer-causing substances to be added to our food. The FDA defines a food additive as any substance that is introduced to the matrix as a result of "producing, manufacturing, packing, processing, preparing, treating, packaging, transporting, or holding food; and including any source of radiation intended for any such use".

See also Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer

Additive Description

A

 
Acesulfame-K
Acesulfame-K
Acesulfame-K, also known as acesulfame potassium, is an artificial sweetener that is about 200 times sweeter than sugar.Read more about Acesulfame-K
Acetamide
Acetamide
Acetamide is a flavoring agent that is considered by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives.Read more about Acetamide
Artificial Colorings
Artificial Colorings
Artificial food colorings are designated by the letters FD&C (for Food, Drug & Cosmetics) and include the following.Read more about Artificial food colorings
Why You Should Avoid Aspartame
Why You Should Avoid Aspartame
You may know it as Equal® or NutraSweet®, but aspartame is really a combination of two amino acids and methanol.Read more about aspartame

B

 
Bisphenol-A (BPA)
Bisphenol-A (BPA)
Bisphenol-A, better known as BPA, fits the definition of a food additive because it can leach into food from cans.Read more about Bisphenol-A
Butadiene-styrene Copolymer
Butadiene-styrene Copolymer
Butadiene is produced mainly from petroleum gases and is used to manufacture synthetic rubber.Read more about butadiene
Butylated Hydroxyganisole (BHA)
Butylated Hydroxyganisole (BHA)
Butylated hydroxyganisole, better known as BHA, is an additive that retards rancidity in oils, fats.Read more about butylated hydroxyganisole
Butylated Hydroxytoloene (BHT) Butylated hydroxytoloene, abbreviated as BHT, protects fats from turning rancid, and is also used to as a preservatives.Read more about butylated hydroxytoloene

C

 
Carrageenan
Carrageenan
Carrageenan is an extract from red seaweed (Irish moss, Chondrus crispus). It may appear on food labels in one of its salt forms.Read more about carrageenan
Cyclamate
Cyclamate
Cyclamate is an artificial sweetener that was banned in the United States in 1970 after animal studies indicated that it causes cancer.Read more about Cyclamate

D

 
Dextran
Dextran
Dextran is a term used to describe a polysaccharide produced by bacteria growing on agar.Read more about dextran
Diacetyl
Diacetyl
If you eat “butter flavored” popcorn or cooking oils, then you may be ingesting diacetyl.Read more about diacetyl

E

 
Ethyl Acrylate
Ethyl Acrylate
Ethyl acrylate is a synthetic flavoring additive that can be found naturally in raspberries and pineapple.Read more about ethyl acrylate
Ethyl Carbamate
Ethyl Carbamate
The presence of ethyl carbamate in foods and beverages is as an unintended additive.Read more about ethyl carbamate

F

 

G

 

H

 

I

 
Indole
Indole
Indole is a white, flaky substance that occurs naturally in jasmine oil and orange flowers.Read more about indole

J

 

K

 

L

 

M

 
Methylcellulose
Methylcellulose
Methylcellulose is a binder, thickener, dispersive, and emulsifier that is prepared from wood pulp.Read more about methylcellulose

N

 
Neotame
Neotame
Neotame is an artificial sweetener currently on the market that contains all the harmful components found in aspartame, along with others. Read more about Neotame

O

 

P

 
Polysorbate 60 and 80
Polysorbate 60 and 80
Polysorbate 60 and 80 are both emulsifiers that have been associated with 1,4 dioxane.Read more about polysorbate 60 and 80
Polyvinylpyrrolidone
Polyvinylpyrrolidone
Also known as PVP, this additive is a plastic resin used in dietary products and as a clarifying agent in certain liquids.Read more about polyvinylpyrrolidone
Potassium Bromate
Potassium Bromate
This food additive is used in baking to increase the volume of bread and to produce bread with a fine crumb structure.Read more about potassium bromate
Propyl Gallate
Propyl Gallate
This additive is synthesized from gallic acid and propyl alcohol. It is used as a preservative and to retard the spoilage of oils.Read more about propyl gallate

Q

 

R

 
Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone rBGH
Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone rBGH
Recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH, is a synthetic hormone that is given to dairy cows to increase milk production.Read more about Recombinant bovine growth hormone

S

 
Saccharin
Saccharin
Saccharin is an artificial sweetener sold under the brand name Sweet ‘N Low®. It is 300 to 350 times sweeter than sugar.Read more about saccharin
Sodium Benzoate
Sodium Benzoate
Sodium benzoate occurs naturally in several fruits, such as apples, cranberries, and plums, as well as sweet spices like clove.Read more about sodium benzoate
Sodium Nitrite/Nitrate
Sodium Nitrite/Nitrate
Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate are flavoring agents, food colorings, and preservatives. Sodium nitrate is the sodium salt of…Read more about sodium nitrite/nitrate
Stevia
Stevia
Stevia is a naturally derived sweetener that contains substances shown to cause mutations and to damage chromosomes, both of which can lead to cancer.Read more about Stevia
Sucralose
Sucralose
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that contains chlorine, which is considered a carcinogen.Read more about Sucralose

T

 
Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ)
Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ)
This antioxidant contains petroleum-derived butane and is used alone or along with BHA and/orBHT as a…Read more about tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ)
Titanium Dioxide
Titanium Dioxide
Titanium dioxide is a food coloring that is also used in personal care products. When used as a food additive…Read more about titanium dioxide

U

 

V

 

W

 

X

 

Y

 

Z

 

Sources: Centers for Science in the Public Interest

Food and Drug Administration

Minich DM. An A-Z Guide to Food Additives. San Francisco: Conari Press, 2009.

Winter R. A Consumers Dictionary of Food Additives, 7th ed. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2009


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Created: September 17, 2010
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Site last updated 20 December, 2014

  
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