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Food Additive in Pizza, Pancakes Linked to Lower Sperm Counts

Dr. Naomi Wolf sounded the alarm about sodium aluminum phosphate, a food additive found in many baked goods and processed foods, citing peer-reviewed studies suggesting ingesting aluminum compounds could lead to oxidative stress, DNA damage and decreased testosterone levels and sperm counts in male mammals.

An ingredient commonly found in many baked goods and processed foods — including school lunches — may cause oxidative stress, DNA damage and decreased testosterone levels and sperm counts in male mammals, according to Dr. Naomi Wolf.

In a March 7 Substack article and video, Wolf highlighted the widespread use of sodium aluminum phosphate in everyday food products, from pancake mixes and baking powders to processed cheeses and frozen pizzas.

Citing peer-reviewed studies, Wolf connected the scientific findings to broader trends in reproductive health and masculinity.

“Blood testosterone, gentlemen and ladies, that is your libido,” she said. “And sperm counts is fertility.”

What is sodium aluminum phosphate and where is it found? 

Sodium aluminum phosphate is an additive used in food products as an emulsifying agent, leavening acid and stabilizer. It is a white, odorless solid slightly soluble in water.

The ingredient is commonly found in commercially baked goods such as cakes, muffins and biscuits, and self-rising flours and baking powders. It is also used in processed cheeses to improve texture and melting properties.

The prevalence of sodium aluminum phosphate in school lunches and fast food items, such as pizza dough and hamburger buns, is concerning, Wolf said.

“This is what your child is eating,” she said. “This is what you are putting inside your body when you eat muffins, fast food, hamburger buns, frozen pizza, cereals and almost any kind of processed baked good.”

“Why is this in our food?” Wolf asked in her video. “It’s got to be taken out of our food supply.”

Safety concerns and handling precautions

Innophos’ Actif-8 brand safety data sheet classifies sodium aluminum phosphate as a “hazardous substance or preparation” that can cause serious eye damage, skin irritation and respiratory irritation.

The safety sheet also warns users to “avoid breathing dust/fume/gas/mist/vapours/spray” and to “wash thoroughly after handling.” And it advises wearing protective gloves and eye or face protection when handling the substance.

If inhaled, sodium aluminum phosphate “may cause upper respiratory tract irritation,” according to the safety sheet. Ingesting large quantities could also lead to abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Despite these warnings, Wolf noted that the same substance is widely used in food products without any apparent safety precautions for consumers.

“People who handle this product have to suit up and ventilate and avoid eye and skin and lung irritation,” she said. “So this is what your child is eating.”

Studies on aluminum’s reproductive toxicity

Wolf cited a summary of peer-reviewed scientific literature on aluminum reproductive toxicity by Robert A. Yokel, Ph.D., published in Critical Reviews in Toxicology. The review found aluminum exposure can lead to adverse reproductive outcomes in male and female mammals.

Yokel’s analysis revealed that “male reproductive endpoints were significantly affected after exposure to lower levels of Al [aluminum] than females.” In both male and female mice and rats, increased aluminum intake resulted in higher concentrations of the metal in the fetus, placenta and testes.

The proposed mechanism for aluminum’s reproductive toxicity involves oxidative stress as the initiating event, followed by increased DNA damage, impaired spermatogenesis and reduced testosterone levels and sperm count.

However, Yokel’s review also noted the lack of controlled-exposure human studies on aluminum’s reproductive effects, due to ethical concerns. Most of the available evidence comes from animal studies.

Christopher Exley, Ph.D., a researcher on aluminum toxicity and author of “Imagine You Are An Aluminum Atom: Discussions With Mr. Aluminum,” lauded Wolf’s efforts to bring the toxic effects of aluminum to a wider audience. However, he also said her claim (made in her video) that aluminum was in the mRNA shots was false.

“We live in the aluminium age and we cannot avoid coming into contact with it,” Exley told The Defender. “It has a significant impact upon human health — including the male reproductive system.”

Exley, a leading expert on aluminum toxicity, for nearly three decades, studied the effects of aluminum exposure on human health with his team at Keele University in the United Kingdom — including aluminum’s link to autism.

In a 2014 study published in Reproductive Toxicology, Exley and colleagues provided “unequivocal evidence of high concentrations of aluminum in human semen,” with concerning implications for spermatogenesis and sperm count.

In 2017, he published a study showing that two months of aluminum exposure at human dietary levels impaired spermatogenesis and sperm quality in rats.

Exley, who authors a Substack on the effects of aluminum on human health, said the issue has received little attention from public health authorities or the media. He also noted the aluminum industry has engaged in “pre- and post-publication censorship” to silence dissenting science.

In a recent article, “Thou Shalt Not Publish,” Exley recounted how a “known aluminium industry troll” was invited to critique his seminal research on aluminum’s role in Alzheimer’s disease — years after its publication — in an unprecedented departure from peer review norms.

Keele University, which receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2021 shut down Exley’s website and blocked funding of his research, which forced him to leave.

‘A chemical war on men’

Wolf said the effects of ingesting aluminum align with observed declines in masculinity, muscle mass and libido among younger males.

She suggested environmental factors like aluminum exposure could help explain increased rates of depression, weight gain and disinterest in sex among men.

“Not only does this additive cause hormonal damage to males, it causes brain inflammation and is linked to dementias and Parkinson’s disease,” she said.

Other potential sources of aluminum exposure Wolf noted include antacids, vaccines, cookware and even geoengineering projects that spray aluminum particles into the atmosphere.

She pointed to a “rapid response” article published in the BMJ by Dr. Giovanni Ghirga titled, “Solar geoengineering by injecting aluminum oxide aerosol into the lower stratosphere is a serious threat to global mental health.”

“Is the delivery of various iterations of aluminum in systems all around us — especially in North America … not a bug, but a feature?” Wolf asked.

Wolf said she was “horrified” by her discoveries of a “chemical war on men” aimed at reducing traditional masculinity “including the ability to strengthen a physical relationship, and thus a family” or to fight in a “hot war.”

“And one thing that you really want to do to an enemy country before you invade them formally is deplete the men,” she said.

This war is targeting “our most vulnerable males, our preadolescent boys — in our school lunchrooms,” she added.

FDA ‘not responsible anymore’

Wolf criticized the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) oversight of food additives, including sodium aluminum phosphate, citing the agency’s “extraordinarily corrupt and negligent” handling of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trials.

She also pointed out that the FDA has not recalled lead-contaminated cinnamon applesauce products, instead placing the burden on manufacturers and distributors to ensure their products are not adulterated with harmful chemicals.

“They [FDA officials] are announcing that they’re not responsible anymore for making sure that products imported from overseas are safe to ingest,” Wolf said. “So … buyer beware.”

Wolf urged consumers to take a proactive approach to avoid aluminum-containing food additives. She recommended reading ingredient labels carefully and removing products with aluminum from our pantries.

As an alternative to aluminum-containing baking powders, Wolf suggested using aluminum-free options like Rumford and Bob’s Red Mill baking powder.

“Friends, read the boxes. Clear out your cupboards. Bake from scratch, and save the hormonal levels of our men,” she said.

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