Brazil nuts: Why the popular snack suddenly becomes risky

by time news

2023-11-28 13:53:22

health nutrition

Children and pregnant women should avoid Brazil nuts

As of: 4:48 p.m. | Reading time: 2 minutes

Pregnant women should avoid Brazil nuts due to radiation exposure

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The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) warns against eating Brazil nuts. This applies especially to children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. Why the popular snack suddenly becomes risky.

According to the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should avoid Brazil nuts if possible. The authorities in Salzgitter announced on Tuesday that these could contain unusually high amounts of radioactive radium.

In contrast to native nut species, Brazil nut trees can absorb the substance with their roots and transport it into the nuts. The trees grow in the tropical rainforests of South America, some of whose soils contain large amounts of radium.

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It is safe for adults to consume Brazil nuts in moderation, said BfS President Inge Paulini. The radiation dose that this creates for them is low. However, the same amount of Brazil nuts can lead to a significantly higher radiation dose in children than in an adult.

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This is not just because the human body and its metabolism change with age. Like calcium, radium is stored in teeth and bones, and these are still developing in children. Unborn children and infants could absorb the radioactive material through the placenta and breast milk, explained Paulini.

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“If children only eat Brazil nuts occasionally, they will also receive comparatively small doses of radiation. That’s why the advice to be cautious may sound exaggerated. But children need special protection, including from unnecessary radiation,” emphasized Paulini.

Children were more sensitive to radiation than adults. Unlike adults, they are often unable to form their own judgment about the possible risk and make decisions on their own responsibility. As a precaution, the Federal Office also advises adults not to consume excessive amounts of Brazil nuts.

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