This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will test 23 food antioxidants (AOs) for their EA or anti- EA. The project will also examine whether EA levels change after AOs are exposed to common-use-stresses of sterilizing or microwaving. This project is significant because chemicals having EA at concentrations used in foodstuffs (mM to ?M) often have adverse effects on mammals, including humans. These adverse effects include abnormal brain maturation, reproductive disorders, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, abnormal cognitive development, changes and increased incidence of some cancers of the breast, testes, and ovaries. Fetal or juvenile mammals are especially sensitive to effects of chemicals having EA at very low dosages (nM to pM concentrations). Conversely, some conditions in adult humans (e.g., menopause, some cancers or abnormalities of the prostate) are probably ameliorated by chemicals having controlled levels of EA.
Making foods and drinks commercially available with controlled levels of EA could have great societal impact by minimizing the risks of unintentional consumption of estrogenic chemicals (e.g., EA-free formula for babies) and by providing a controlled delivery mechanism for improved health for specific groups (e.g. specified-EA-level fitness drink for post-menopausal women). CCi is helping to raise consumer awareness by actively working with key organizations (e.g. NGOs, legislators, popular press, and scientists) to educate the public on health risks and solutions associated with EA. Significant consumer demand for EA-focused products is already observed in the rapid penetration of safer plastics in key segments (e.g., BPA-free baby and water bottles, phthalate–free toys). In addition, consumers have clearly demonstrated a willingness to pay a premium for enriched and fortified foods as demonstrated by the rapidly growing “functional foods” market (projected to be $167 billion by 2010).