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Additive in Pizza, Pancakes linked to lower sperm counts



Additive in Pizza, Pancakes linked to lower sperm counts
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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 count is fertility.”

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.

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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.”

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.”


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.

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.

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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.

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

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