Preservative is a natural or synthetic chemical that is added to foods, pharmaceuticals, paints, biological samples, wood etc. to prevent decomposition or oxidation or spoilage in common words. These preservatives sometimes also become more harmful when it is used to preserve our daily food. Now-a-days a larger proportion of the whole population belongs to a very tight and hectic schedule. Therefore they may support food preservation, but still synthetic chemicals used in our regular diet are harmful to our health. Without preservatives or additives the large amount of food in shop shelves will "go off" before being bought. For instance we can take example of bread. Without preservatives bread will last hardly two days. Therefore, it is also a necessary element in our day to day life. Food preservatives may be natural or synthetic additives. The only difference in between those additives is natural preservatives carry natural chemicals where as synthetic preservatives carry synthetic manmade chemicals. Again the question comes, "Are they safe?" The vast majority of preservatives appear to be safe. Most of the additives are tasted in many laboratories throughout the world and then approved to be added in food products. However individuals may be sensitive to certain specific additives irrespective of it is natural or synthetic. Which substance at what amount can be used in which food product is controlled and decided by Government Agencies. In the majority of cases individuals with some form of allergy like asthma, hay fever, urticaria etc. may be affected by these substances. A very few additives and preservatives or excess of some additives may affect non-allergic people. Some of these substances cause more reactions than others. For example, reactions to sulphur dioxide and sodium benzoate occur more commonly in asthmatics than reaction to the colorant tartrazine. These reactions are not true allergies as seen in egg allergy rather it's a type of chemical reaction. Reactions depend on the type of the preservative or additive ingested. These reactions may be of the form vomiting, rashes, hives, a tight chest, headaches, worsening of eczema and many other symptoms. Combination of symptoms may give your doc a strong clue to find out the cause of reaction. There is also some other substances for which these reactions may create confusion. For example, similarreaction may occur with an allergy to a food like egg, nuts etc. some foods have natural chemicals that may lead to such reactions. For example, if fish is not fresh then it may have high of histamine, cheese may have tyramine. It may react with the histamine in wine but not the sulphur dioxide. There is a large number of preservatives which may cause reaction. Some of more frequent additives are sulphur dioxide and sodium benzonate. It often cause "tight chest" in case of asthmatics. Many people also complain of a scratchy feeling at the back of their throats. Although these are common reaction, others such as rashes also may occur. Similarly, colorants may be natural or synthetic and may cause any reaction. Reactions, although not common, can occur to both types. The most well-known colorant is tartrazine. Tartrazine is an ozo dye. Therefore if any individual has a reaction with this colorant then should avoid all ozo dyes. Although many people concerned that they may be affected but a very few are involved. Thus all asthmatics needn't to avoid tartrazine. Most common daily food stuffs that may include preservatives are fruit juices, soft drinks, sweets, deserts, cooking oils, curry powder, ice-cream and many more. So, be careful and live healthy.
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Side Effects of Food Preservatives"