What’s That Frozen Pizza Doing to Your Immune System?

River D'Almeida, Ph.D
2 min readApr 7, 2021

It’s lowering your body’s ability to fight germs

Image via Pexels

In a recent study, scientists found that commonly-used chemical additives added to processed foods can have toxic effects on the immune system, contributing to conditions such as chronic inflammation, hypersensitivity, and autoimmune disorders. The study found that these immunotoxic substances cause the body to produce fewer antibodies, leaving it more susceptible to infection.

One of these preservatives,tert-Butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, is present in around 1,250 processed foods including microwave popcorn, cheese crackers, frozen pizzas, chocolate bars, and breakfast foods.

These food additives were approved by the FDA decades ago. Because of this, food manufacturers are not required to undergo updated testing to understand how these chemicals impact consumers.

To get answers, the Environmental Working Group, or EWG, performed a “ToxCast” study-a lab-based assay that studies the potentially toxic effects of chemical agents on living cells or biological molecules without the need for animal testing.

“The pandemic has focused public and scientific attention on environmental factors that can impact the immune system. Before the pandemic, chemicals that may harm the immune system’s defense against infection…



River D'Almeida, Ph.D

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