Have you ever considered the environmental and health consequences of chewing bubble gum?
The first marketed chewing gum was made with all natural ingredients. It was made from the chicle sap of the Central American sapodilla tree and mixed with sugar and flavorings. That all changed after World War 2. The formula for bubble gum switched to synthetic rubbers and the environmental and health problems of chewing gum began.1)https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/question86.htm
Did you know that you are letting your child chew synthetic rubber when blowing bubbles?
The chicle that comes from sapodilla sap is biodegradable. Synthetic chewing gum is not.
We grew up being told if we swallowed our gum, it would stay in our stomach for seven years. Our digestive systems can not process synthetic rubbers.2)https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/swallowed-gum.html Although, it does not take seven years for this to happen, yet chewing gum remains in our environment indefinitely.
Environmental and Health Problems of Chewing Bubble Gum
Besides cigarette butts, chewing gum is the second most prevalent form of litter. It’s estimated that 80-90% of gum ends up in inappropriate places such as sidewalks, under tables, into bushes, and the bottom of your shoes..3)https://www.custommade.com/blog/sustainable-gum/ The United Kingdom spends 400 million pounds a year cleaning up gum, and you can be fined for 80 pounds for littering gum.4)https://healthfully.com/long-chewing-gum-decompose-5598606.html
Besides mysterious, synthetic “gum base”, chewing gum contains food additives, dyes, and preservatives linked to health and behavior problems. Chewing gum is often sweetened with aspartame or other artificial sweeteners.
Additionally, chewing gum may contain titanium oxide nanoparticles. These tiny particles inhibit nutrient absorption in the small intestines. According to Science Daily, ingestion of titanium oxide nanoparticles is nearly impossible:
However, it can enter the digestive system through toothpastes, as titanium dioxide is used to create abrasion needed for cleaning. The oxide is also used in some chocolate to give it a smooth texture; in donuts to provide color; and in skimmed milks for a brighter, more opaque appearance which makes the milk more palatable.
A 2012 Arizona State University study tested 89 common food products including gum, Twinkies, and mayonnaise and found that they all contained titanium dioxide. About five percent of products in that study contained titanium dioxide as nanoparticles. Dunkin Donuts stopped using powdered sugar with titanium dioxide nanoparticles in 2015 in response to pressure from the advocacy group As You Sow.
“To avoid foods rich in titanium oxide nanoparticles you should avoid processed foods, and especially candy. That is where you see a lot of nanoparticles,” Mahler said.
These are the same nanoparticles that are a cause for concern in sunscreens.
Chewing Gum Solutions
There are some brands of all natural chewing gum. These brands use all natural chicle gum base:
Chicza gum biodegrades in six weeks. In addition to using all natural chicle gum base, these brands use other natural ingredients many of which are fair trade and GMO-free certified.
A company in the UK has a unique approach to the gum problem. Gumdrop places gum recycling bins on city streets. They change the discarded gum into GumTech used to make items like guitar picks and reusable coffee mugs.5)https://www.ecowatch.com/chewing-gum-recycling-gumdrop-2543576802.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=0c450f9e1f-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-0c450f9e1f-85357185
Human have been chewing gum for at least 9000 years across different continents.6)https://www.history.com/news/hungry-history/chew-on-this-the-history-of-gum Our discarded gum should not last that long. Chose biodegradable, all natural gum for your chewing pleasure.
GiselaFotografie / Pixabay
References [ + ]