Scientists have developed a fast new method to identify food additives that act as "xenoestrogens" -- substances with estrogen-like effects that are stirring international health concerns.
They used the method in a large-scale screening, and discovered two additives with previously unrecognized xenoestrogen effects.
Xenoestrogens have been linked to a range of human health effects, including reduced sperm counts in men and increased risk of breast cancer in women.
The scientists used the new method to search a food additive database of 1,500 substances, and verified that the method could identify xenoestrogens. In the course of that work, they identified two previous unrecognized xenoestrogens -- propyl gallate, a preservative used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling, and 4-hexylresorcinol, which is used to prevent discoloration in shrimp and other shellfish.