Yoga Mat And Shoe Sole Chemical Found In Nearly 500 Food Products

Bread Producers Are Big Users Of Azodiacarbonamide
Bread Producers Are Big Users Of Azodiacarbonamide

The fact that bread and other food products contain azodicarbonamide also know as ADA, (one of the chemicals used in the production of synthetic yoga mats and the soles on some shoes) have never been a secret. The reason given for the use of such non-food chemicals in foods distributed to humans, especially bakery products, is to swell the size of the prepared dough, create a smoother grain, softer texture, and superior dough-handling properties. There are many bakery products that we take pleasure in when at one of the numerous fast food dining establishments that contain azodicarbonamide or some other form of an artificial ingredient to guarantee uniformity, taste, and texture.


New York Senator Chuck Schumer called on the FDA to ban the substance for use in food. He pointed out that the non-food chemical is prohibited “in most of the developed world.”

This same chemical is used in the foam rubber sandals people slip around the pool in or the foam insulation used in our homes. This chemical is a frothing chemical and is used to generate bubbles in polymer based plastics much like yeast creates gas bubbles in bread dough. The purpose for its inclusion is to create products that are sturdy, lightweight, squishy yet turgid.

This ability of this chemical to? condition cereal flour based doughs in industrial size quantities and make them more manageable is the reason for its widespread use. The resulting baked goods are fluffier as well as making them more cohesive giving them a greater ability to survive shipping and withstand being stored.

This artificial ingredient is included in 80,000 foods, now in the process of being developed and is presently used in almost 500 products that include more than 130 brands of bread, bread stuffing and snacks. A list of these products can be found here.

In a document titled “Concise International Chemical Assessment Document 16

– Azodiacarbonamide”, the World Health Organization found that:

“Studies in humans have concentrated solely on the ability of ADA to induce asthma and skin sensitization. Evidence that ADA can induce has been found from bronchial challenge studies with symptomatic individuals and from health evaluations of employees at workplaces where ADA is manufactured or used. There are also indications that ADA may induce skin sensitizations.”

The use of this chemical in food is prohibited in Europe and Australia but is still allowed in the United States and Canada. The FDA allows the use of the chemical at two stages of bread making. First the government agency allows the use of 45 parts per million in flour for the purpose of aging and bleaching. Another 45 parts per million are allowed as a dough conditioner (to make the dough more elastic). This brings the potential content of ADA to 90 parts per million in a loaf of bread.

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I had a successful career actively working with at-risk youth, people struggling with poverty and unemployment, and disadvantaged and oppressed populations. In 2011, I made the decision to pursue my dreams and become a full-time writer. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.