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Researchers in France want a closer look at a food additive that is a whitening agent commonly found in toothpaste and chewing gum. Called E171, the additive has been linked to precancerous lesions found in laboratory rats exposed to it.

Researchers from France’s INRA Agricultural Research Institute said they cannot draw conclusions about whether E171 poses danger to humans and about the additive’s effect on later stages of cancer. However, French officials concur that the recent study’s findings (found here online) are grounds for closer inquiry. France’s ministers of health, agriculture and economy ordered the country’s food, health and safety agency to examine whether E171 is a risk to human health. The agency has been directed to report its findings by April 1.

Researchers reported that of lab rats exposed to E171 in their drinking water for 100 days, 40 percent developed precancerous growths. The scientists also reported that the additive was linked to inhibited immune systems and to “accelerated” growth of lesions induced for the experiment.

“These results demonstrate a role in initiating and promoting the early stages of colorectal cancer formation,” the INRA stated.

E171 is used in Europe and the United States, where it received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1966. The FDA approved E171 at a level of up to 1 percent of a food product’s weight. However, there are no daily intake regulations in Europe. Questions about appropriate intake, coupled with the study’s recent findings, have prompted France’s call for more investigation.

I sell Norwex products because I want the peace of mind that comes from knowing I have significantly reduced my family’s exposure to unnecessary and potentially harmful chemicals — and also because I am a cancer survivor, and I believe I cannot afford exposure to questionable additives, such as E171.

Norwex offers toothpastes for adults and children that are safe and effective alternatives to common store brands. We also sell the Adult Silver Care Toothbrush, which has antibacterial properties that help reduce bacteria that collect on every brush.

Get to know Norwex’s healthier alternatives for having a sparkling smile — and please contact me if you have questions.

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