Unnecessary Harmful Preservatives

Dangerous Chemical Preservatives to Avoid:
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)
BHT, butylated hydroxytoluene
Proply gallate
Propylene glycol
Sodium Nitrate

BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin are three dangerous chemical preservatives that have been linked as cancer-causing agents, yet are still permitted for use by the pet food industry.

In the United States, BHT has been banned for use in baby food, while Japan, Romania, Sweden, and Australia do not permit it to be used in any human food. Japan has also banned the use of BHA. Regardless of the known harmful effects of BHT and BHA, we continually see these harmful chemicals being used in a number of “big name” pet foods. In dogs, these chemicals have been linked to dry skin, allergies, dental disease, liver disease, kidney damage, and tumors. If these chemicals have shown known carcinogenic qualities why should we allow them to be fed to our canine companions?

Ethoxyquin, which was originally developed for use in the production of rubber and as an herbicide, is currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a pesticide and permitted for use in pet foods as a preservative. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also lists it as a pesticide. A study conducted by the Department of Pathology, Nagoya City University Medical School, Japan, found that BHA and ethoxyquin lead to stomach hyperplasia and cytotoxicity. Ethoxyquin has been found to pronounce kidney carcinogenesis, increase the incidence of stomach tumors, and enhance bladder carcinogenesis. The FDA, Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), has received numerous reports linking ethoxyquin to allergic reactions, skin problems, major organ failure, behavior problems and cancer. With the known dangers associated with ethoxyquin, the FDA only allows .5 to 5 ppm of residue in human foods, but still allows 150 ppm of it in food for pets and livestock. In 1997 the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) requested that the pet food industry voluntarily lower the ethoxyquin residue in pet foods to 75 ppm but there is still no mandatory requirement. Zero ppm would be a much healthier number.

Propyl gallate is a chemical that is added by manufacturers to prevent spoilage. This is another widely used chemical preservative that is suspected of causing both liver damage and cancer.

Used by the pet food industry to help retain water and give products their unique texture and taste, Propylene glycol is considered by some to lend to the cause of most health problems seen in dogs associated with chemical preservatives. Propylene glycol has been associated with causing dry-itching skin, hair loss, dehydration, excessive thirst, and tooth and gum problems. The FDA/CVM now prohibits the use of this preservative in cat foods after scientific studies have shown that propylene glycol reduces red blood cell survival time, renders red blood cells more susceptible to oxidative damage, along with other adverse health effects in cats after consuming this preservative. Although the FDA/CVM has prohibited the use of this substance in cat foods, it can still readily be found in big name commercial dog products.

Sodium nitrate used as both a red color enhancer and as a preservative is yet another commonly found preservative in commercial pet foods. Also known as sodium nitrate, this preservative found also in processed meat for humans, has been shown in studies to produce powerful cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines.

Keep in mind that most people feed their dogs the same food every day for years. While eating foods with these carcinogenic chemicals in them once in a while may not hurt a dog, eating it day in and day out can end up causing serious and completely unnecessary health problems. Because dogs eat the same brand of food over and over, it is important for dog owners to choose food that is healthy and free of harmful preservatives.

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