There are many serious sulphur dioxide health risks and yet this compound is still used in foods like soft drinks, juices, cordials, dried fruit, potato products,vinegar, beer and wine. Sulfur based additives are toxic and experts agree that Sulphur dioxide in food should not be eaten by children. In 1986, the FDA banned use of this preservative on raw fruit and veggies after its use was linked with several deaths.
Sulphur dioxide health risks include:
- Breathing problems particularly in those prone to asthma and other lung conditions
- Hypotension (low blood pressure),
- Flushing tingling sensations
- Anaphylactic shock.
- Severe heachaches
- Skin rashes
According to FDA data, around 1% of people are sensitive to sulphur dioxide. Mainly those with asthma and other lung conditions. In severe cases, airways close totally, leading to suffocation or cardiac arrest and death. The International Labour Organization advises that those with conjunctivitis, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma, or cardiovascular disease avoid E220.
Sulphur dioxide (E220) also destroys vitamins B1 and E.
If sulphur dioxide levels exceed 10ppm then it must be listed on the food label. But just because a label doesn’t list it doesn’t mean it isn’t there because if foods contain products like dried fruit treated with sulphur dioxide, labels don’t need to list it. The label need only mention that the product contain dried fruit even though the dried fruit has been treated with sulphur dioxide. The only way to avoid this is to buy organic.
According to the sulphur dioxide msds it has a suffocating odor and leaves an acidic taste in the mouth. It’s a toxic, corrosive gas that can cause severe chemical burns if inhaled or upon skin contact. If it comes in contact with the eye it will burn the cornea which may lead to vision loss. Inhaling it will burn and irritate the respiratory tract and mucous membranes. Excessive exposure may result in chemical pneumonitis (inflammation), pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding) and edema fluid buildup. It targets the airway, lungs, eyes, and skin.
View the sulfur dioxide msds here.
Even though they only affect around 1% of people, sulphur dioxide health risks are pretty scary. Would you want to take the risk of exposing yourself or your children?
This post is part of our food additives to avoid series.