The Eternal force of the Universe is such a merciful presence and guide. In everything we do, we are given the opportunity to make a choice for better, or for worse. Oftentimes, it is the seemingly innocuous habits and behaviors that we get used to doing over time, that can be the most detrimental. As someone who took the time and learned to make that cracking noise only a professional gum chewer can, it may surprise you to know that I don’t allow my children to chew gum. I chewed gum for many years. However, when I increased my learning of the dietary laws of Torah, and thereby also became more health conscious, my chewing gum habit fell away. For one thing, the ingredients. Just what exactly is “gum base”? Every kind of gum features it as an ingredient. Still, it is not a single ingredient as it is listed, but instead a conglomeration of so many “ingredients”.
According to the International Chewing Gum Association website, gum base is “… made of a combination of food-grade polymers, waxes and softeners.” But what are the health risks or benefits associated with chewing non-food items such as “polymers, waxes, and softeners”? For sure, they impart no nutritional value to the body. But could they possibly detract from healthy bodily functions?
In The Health Wyze Report article titled, “Why A Stick of Chewing gum is More Harmful To Your Health Than Anything You Eat,” I found some disturbing information regarding gum base.
The article states, “We eventually confirmed that the ingredients of gum base are commercial trade secrets. None of the websites told us the full ingredients. For instance, exactly what plasticizer is used? Are people chewing on super-toxic PVC? The plasticizing agents could contain dioxins, and quite frankly, they probably do. After much more research, we found one Chinese company who told us about their ingredients. Wuxi Yueda Gum Base Manufacture Co, Ltd said:
“It is made of several food grade raw materials, which are rubber (food grade), glycerol ester of rosin, paraffin waxes, polyvinyl acetates, talc powder and calcium carbonate.”
Glycerol ester of rosin is often made from the stumps of pine trees. It is used industrially to create fast-drying varnishes. The Internet is riddled with stories of people who had severe allergic reactions to it, usually causing a swollen throat that led to difficulty breathing. Glycerol ester of rosin is now being added to soft drinks, though federal limits ensure that its quantity remains under 100 P.P.M. This safety limitation does not apply to chewing gum. Talc has been linked to lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and fibrotic pneumoconiosis with just transdermal exposure. It is very rarely put into products that are to be consumed. The only other consumable products that we have seen containing talc are diet aids (most are extremely toxic). Talcum powder was once used on small children, but it has now been replaced with cornstarch, due to safety concerns. It is too dangerous to touch the skin, but absorbing it straight into the blood stream is apparently acceptable. Polyvinyl acetate is not quite PVC. It is PVA. PVA is frequently referred to as “Carpenter’s glue” or simply “white glue”. Remember that this is not being used as an industrial product, but as something that children are frequently given to chew on (gum base is in bubble gum too). This ingredient compliments the paraffin wax, which is derived from refined petroleum.”
Even the Wall Street Journal reports that “People with mild jaw issues often complain that gum-smacking exacerbates the clicking and discomfort of even mild temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, which can cause tightness of the jaw muscles. New studies have linked the chewing of any type of gum with migraine headaches in adolescents.” C’mon folks, MIGRAINES? Is the momentary pleasure of a stick of gum really worth that kind of excruciating pain?
The idea I would like to leave you with, for yourself, and for your children, is that chewing gum is a dangerous and unnecessary pastime. A friend’s mother used to refer to the act of chewing gum as “Idiot fun” or “Dumb fun”. And though that sounds harsh or judgmental, the chewing gum manufacturers are actually banking on your ignorance of its potentially harmful effects. As for those of you who are vegans, just know that lanolin (a sheep wool-derivative) is also often an ingredient in gum.
But as always, don’t take my word for it, do your research. Here are a few links to some more information regarding these tiny sugar sticks filled with health-damaging effects. P.S., chicle is what gum based used to be made from back in the day, which is harvested from a plant. Perhaps those of you avid gum chewers who love it so much, will consider researching and purchasing gum that is “natural” with chicle as the base? Think about it.
Related links: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/03/6-chewing-gum-side-effects.aspx