"I'll be more cautious about inspecting foods I ingest for phosphate addition, trying to keep dietary phosphate ingestion in the healthy range," he said.
However, the study was criticized as inadequate by Haley C. Stevens, scientific affairs specialist for the International Food Additives Council, whose members include manufacturers and users of phosphates.
"This new study is very limited and not comparable to the food industry's numerous toxicological studies, which use several different animal models of carcinogenesis, acute exposures and chronic exposures, and which clearly demonstrate the safety of phosphate-based food additives," Stevens said.
Studies are planned in South Korea to determine what the healthy range is, the researchers stated. In the 1990s, phosphate-containing food additives contributed an estimated 470 milligrams a day to the average adult diet. Their wider use has increased intake by as much as 1,000 milligrams a day, equivalent to the higher dose given to the rats in the experiment, Cho noted.
But Stevens took issue with that point: "...it should be noted that data on phosphate production do not indicate an increase in phosphate intake, as the study authors allege."
Basic facts about lung cancer are available from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
SOURCES: John Heffner, M.D., professor, medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland; Haley C. Stevens, scientific affairs specialist, International Food Additives Council; January 2009, Americ
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