I conducted a little bit of research on a "food-additive" that I found in a processed food I was considering eating to see what it was all about.
Here's what I found.

Much of this material is taken directly from the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for this substance.

Following is a list of common names given to this substance:

Tetra sodium pyrophosphate, hydrated; Sodium pyrophosphate, 10-hydrate; Pyrophosphoric acid, tetrasodium salt, 10-hydrate

Just check the ingredients of your favorite junk food to see if it's in there.

On the MSDS, the main ingredient is listed exactly as shown below:

Ingredient: Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate
CAS No: 7722-88-5
Percent: 99 - 100%
Hazardous: Yes

My first question to myself is, "If it's considered hazardous, why is it in my food?"

The MSDS goes on to say this:


On the MSDS, under the heading "Potential Side Effects", the following is stated

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Many of the systemic effects given below were taken from toxicity information for other phosphates.

Inhalation: Causes irritation to the respiratory tract. Symptoms may include coughing, shortness of breath.

Ingestion: Causes irritation to the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Phosphates are slowly and incompletely absorbed when ingested, and seldom result in systemic effects. Such effects, however, have occurred. Symptoms may include vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, blood chemistry effects, heart disturbances and central nervous System effects. The toxicity of phosphates is because of their ability to sequester Calcium.

Skin Contact: Causes irritation to skin. Symptoms include redness, itching, and pain.

Eye Contact: Causes irritation, redness, and pain.

Chronic Exposure: Chronic ingestion or inhalation may induce systemic phosphorous poisoning. liver damage, kidney damage, jaw/tooth abnormalities, blood disorders and cardiovascular effects can result.

Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions: Persons with pre-existing skin disorders or eye problems, jaw/tooth abnormalities, or impaired liver, kidney or respiratory function may be more susceptible to the effects of the substance.
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After reading this, I became concerned because this substance is in some (if not alot) of products often marketed to children. For example, I found it in Chips Ahoy cookies.

If someone were to eat Chips Ahoy cookies for years of their life, wouldn't this be considered "Chronic Exposure"?

Here is some additional information from the MSDS just in case you're interested.

Appearance: Transparent, colorless crystals.

Odor: Odorless.

Solubility: Slightly soluble in water.

Specific Gravity: 1.82

pH: 10.2 (1% aqueous solution)

% Volatiles by volume @ 21C (70F): 0

Boiling Point: Not applicable.

Melting Point: 80C (176F)

Vapor Density (Air=1): No information found.

Vapor Pressure (mm Hg): No information found.

Evaporation Rate (BuAc=1): No information found.

Happy Snacking!!!
Russ Tanner
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