If you’re a big fan of soy sauce, you may be shocked to learn that the substance is responsible for almost a quarter of all the food you eat and a whopping 60 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions it contributes.
The culprits behind this deadly epidemic are a handful of chemicals, including formaldehyde, which is present in soy sauce and is responsible, among other things, for forming dangerous smog and other toxic air pollution.
If you’ve ever had soy sauce in your dinner or soup, you know the effect it has on your health.
If a food or beverage contains formaldehyde and you’ve been to a restaurant or bar, you’re likely to feel ill, not just the taste, but also a feeling of burning, nausea and even vomiting.
So why are some people so happy to eat soy sauce?
One reason may be that the chemical is in high demand.
In the United States alone, soy sauce sales rose more than 15 percent in 2016, up from a year earlier, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Another reason is that it is now so widely used that the government has started regulating its use.
In 2016, the USDA banned soy sauce from the U,D.O., and other countries, and it now requires that its use not be a major part of an approved food additive.
If approved for use, however, it is often not the only ingredient.
And the amount of soy sauces used in the U.,D.P. is far too small to be harmful to humans, according a recent report by the EPA.
So how does the food industry, and its supporters, claim that soy sauce is safe?
The company behind Soy Sauce and All Natural, K-Chen, says the FDA is “misleading the public” and that it’s time to “bring back the safety” of soy.
And in a recent interview with the BBC, Soy Sauce’s CEO and president, Kim Lee, said that the FDA’s claims are “not true.”
“The FDA’s regulatory process is flawed and it’s not fair,” Lee told the BBC.
“It’s a very flawed process.
If anything, it makes it more difficult to do anything about these dangerous substances.”
So, how do you know whether soy sauce may actually be a contributing factor in the food crisis and the air pollution that it creates?
Here’s how: How formaldehyde is produced Soy sauce is made from soybeans, which are grown in the US.
The seeds are ground and the oil is extracted from them.
The oil is then refined into soy sauce using a process called “thermal hydrolysis,” which converts oil into a liquid called “formaldehyde.”
The formaldehyde can then be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream.
The formaldehydes can also be found in processed foods like soy sauce.
It’s not surprising, then, that formaldehyde levels are high in processed soy sauce compared to the environment in which it is produced.
The Environmental Protection Agency lists formaldehyde as a possible human carcinogen in its most recent report, published in 2015.
“When soy sauce production and processing is in the environment where it has been for a long time, [formaldehyde] is present,” the EPA concluded.
But there’s more to it than that.
In a recent study, scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign analyzed the levels of formaldehyde in the formaldehyde-laden form of soy Sauce sold at a food service store in suburban Chicago, Illinois.
“Formaldehyde levels were higher in processed forms of soy products than in unprocessed soy products,” the study concluded.
The results were striking: “In contrast to unprocessated soy products, which had lower formaldehyde concentrations, processed soy products contained higher levels of both formaldehyde (1.03 μg/L) and formaldehyde carbonyls (2.15 μg/l) in their final formaldehyde content.”
What that means is that if you’re buying soy sauce at a restaurant, bar or grocery store, you are more likely to find formaldehyde on the packaging than in the final product.
And that’s just the beginning.
The same study found that in 2014, about 80 percent of processed soy sauces tested contained formaldehyde.
The FDA recently said that soy products can contain formaldehyde “in concentrations as high as 1.4 times higher than the EPA threshold for concern,” which is 1,000 parts per million (ppm) of formaldehyde.
It noted that it was not able to provide an estimate for how many people have died from formaldehyde exposure.
And a study published in Environmental Science & Technology found that formaldeleges are “associated with increased rates of lung cancer and other lung diseases in the general population.”
That’s a big concern for the millions of Americans who rely on soy products as a source of protein, energy and fiber.
So what can you do about it?
“Soy sauce is a high-