Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Is Azodicarbonamide Bad For You?

Also Known As: ADA, Carbamoyliminourea



Short answer

Yes, azodicarbonamide (ADA) is bad for you. ADA is a chemical used in industrial processes to increases the elasticity of rubbers and plastics. As with any other chemical food additive, consuming ADA excessively can lead to serious health problems.



Long answer

Many of our favorite foods can date back to ancient times, and an example is bread which has existed for over thirty thousand years. The methods used to prepare foods, such as bread, have no doubt evolved over the years to cater to changes in technology and preferences of people.  In the past, some types of food would go stale within a day or two of being prepared. Due to this, necessary improvements were made in the preparation of foods such as, the use of chemicals and additives to increase the life expectancy of these foods.

ADA has two important roles in the manufacturing of food.  The first role ADA plays is as a bleaching agent for flour to make bread whiter.  Bread in its natural color is not very ‘pretty’.  Similar to the world’s fascination with artificial colors, other foods are bleached to make them ‘prettier’.  The second use for the chemical is to condition dough in order to improve its ability to keep gas in, which strengthens the texture of the bread.  

According to research, the chemical can cause respiratory problems, such as asthma, allergies, skin irritations, and dermatitis.  ADA is considered a carcinogen, as it was linked to cancer in lab animals.  Additionally, scientists observed cell mutations, disrupted hormone function, neurological disorders, and immune deficiencies, as a result of the injection ADA into the animal test subjects.  In one of the studies, a rat died immediately after being injected with a high dose of ADA. However, these risks are only as a result of exposure to the massive amounts of the chemical. Health experts say that the level of risk is uncertain thus, the levels of exposure should be reduced as much as possible.

The health regulators have recommended that the companies that are manufacturing bread products use a minimal amount of the chemical and indicate the volumes utilized in every packaging of their flour products.  Next time you go to the grocery store, try some sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel 4:9 Food for Life, and double check all your dough labels to ensure that no ADA snuck into your favorite products.

Possible short-term side effects

  • skin irritation
  • allergies
  • asthma
  • respiratory problems

Possible long-term side effects

  • dermatitis
  • cell mutations
  • disrupted hormone function
  • neurological disorders
  • immune deficiencies
  • cancer

Commonly found in

  • processed bread products:
  • bagels
  • muffins
  • hot dog buns
  • tortillas
  • frozen pizzas

Healthier alternatives

  • sprouted grain bread
  • breads labeled without ada

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 03-06-2016
Last updated: 12-10-2016

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 03-06-2016
Last updated: 12-10-2016

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