Bacon, Toast, Sodium Nitrate and Potassium Bromate For Breakfast Samuel Martino Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the side of a food package? There is a lot more than the main food in the package. Usually it has real food then several different chemical compounds and preservatives listed behind the real stuff. In some foods the ingredients include chemical compounds as sodium nitrate and potassium bromate. Sodium nitrite is an ionic compound and is identified by the chemical formula of NaNO2.
It is a white to slight yellowish crystalline powder Sodium nitrite is a salt and an anti-oxidant that is used to cure meats like ham, bacon and hot dogs. Nitrite serves a vital public health function: it blocks the growth of botulism-causing bacteria and prevents spoilage. Nitrite also gives cured meats their characteristic color and flavor. In addition, USDA sponsored research indicates that nitrite can help prevent the growth of Listeria monocytogenes, an environmental bacterium that can cause illness in some at-risk populations.
Meat industry studies have shown that nitrite is part of the body’s healthy nitrogen cycle. The body converts nitrate to nitrite to regulate blood pressure, promote wound healing, destroy pathogens in the gut and even to prevent preeclampsia during pregnancy. More recently, medical research has shown that sodium nitrate and nitrite have been linked to numerous modern-day illnesses, including heart disease and pancreatic cancer. The preservative is converted in your body to nitrosamines, which are toxic to humans and promote the growth of cancer cells.
Sodium nitrite is not good for your health at all. Potassium bromate (KBrO3), is a bromate of potassium and takes the form of white crystals or powder. It is also an ionic compound. Potassium bromate is a chemical additive used in flour to improve the action of the gluten. Gluten is a protein in wheat flour that gives bread dough its elasticity during kneading and that allows dough to rise by trapping gases produced by yeast. By strengthening the gluten, potassium bromate results in bread that rises higher and is more likely to hold its shape. The potassium romate that’s added to flour is supposed to bake out of the bread dough as it cooks. However, if too much is added, or if it’s not cooked properly, it is possible for some of the chemical to remain in the finished product. It is an oxidizing agent, and under the right conditions, will be completely used up in the baking bread. Potassium bromate might also be used in the production of malt barley where the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prescribed certain conditions where it may be used safely, which includes labeling standards for the finished malt barley product.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, labeled potassium bromate as a category 2B carcinogen. Being a Class 2B, means it is a possible human carcinogen. Category 2B is used for substances that have caused cancer in laboratory animals but that have limited evidence of causing cancer in humans. Potassium bromate has been banned from use in food products in Europe and Canada. It has not been banned in the United States, but the U. S.
Food and Drug Administration asked bakers to voluntarily choose other additives, and federal regulations limit the amount that can be added to flour. Potassium bromate is an additive that is not necessary and over time can be very bad for your health as it promotes the development of cancer in research animals and could cause cancer in humans. In conclusion, chemical food additives may have some beneficial qualities when added to food but more often, they are harmful to the human body. They can cause problems from heart disease to cancer.
Often it is a cumulative effect as the chemicals build up and combine in the body. The mixtures of the additives had a much more potent effect on nerve cells than each additive on its own. The effect on cells was up to four times greater in some tests. Bibliography Potassium bromate. (2013, February 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en. wikipedia. org/w/index. php? title=Potassium_bromate&oldid=540261422 Sodium nitrite. (2013, April 6). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from