Children’s Chewing Gum Contains Endocrine Disrupting Substances

9. jul 2015

Three out of four chewing gums marketed to children contain substances which have shown hormone disrupting effects in animal research. The substances ought to be banned, says Claus Jørgensen, head of project in the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

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Chewing gum contains endocrine disrupting substances
Photo: Anne Beck Christensen

Endocrine disrupting substances in chewing gum

When children munch on chewing gum, they run a great risk of sinking their teeth into two substances which have shown endocrine disrupting effects in animal tests.

Those are the two artificial antioxidants BHA and BHT – also known as the E numbers E320 and E321.

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has examined the ingredient list of 54 chewing gums marketed for children. In 41 instances the chewing gum contained either BHA or BHT.

“This is the third year running that we examine chewing gum. The result is quite disheartening when you consider the options for children. Most endocrine disrupting substances are expendable in consumer products. That goes for BHA and BHT as well. The manufacturers ought to remove the substances as soon as possible and we urge the politicians to ban endocrine disrupting substances in consumer products,” says Claus Jørgensen, head of project in the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

Children are vulnerable to exposure

Children are sensitive when it comes to influence from chemicals. Consequently the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals recommends that manufacturers remove the two substances from their chewing gum.

“Naturally it is not instantly harmful to children’s health if they chew on chewing gum with endocrine disrupting substances. However children are exposed to many different endocrine disrupting substances from a vast number of products in their everyday life. It is the amassed exposure that worries us,” says Claus Jørgensen.

Animal tests have revealed that endocrine disrupting substances can lead to declining semen quality, too early puberty and other disruptions in the hormonal system.

150 packs of chewing gum scrutinized

The finding of endocrine disrupting substances is a part of a major examination of chewing gum conducted by the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

They have purchased and studied a total number of 150 different packs of chewing gum – 92 contained BHA or BHT. Percentage-wise the chewing gums marketed to children were worst off.

If you have questions regarding the test, please contact Claus Jørgensen, phone (0045) 2222 7455 or e-mail cj@fbr.dk.

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