12. Microwave Popcorn: “It’s not healthy eating out of a bag anymore,” Rifkin says. Microwave popcorn bags, in particular, are often lined with a chemical called perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), which has been shown to affect fertility, cancer risk, and kidney functioning in animal and some human studies. Because microwave popcorn bags aren’t labeled “toxic,” it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Another thing: Some brands of microwave popcorn add unhealthy trans fats to their products, and vaguely list “artificial flavors” or “natural flavors” on their labels — so there’s no way to know exactly what’s in there, Warren warns. In the worst case scenarios, the recipe could contain MSG, which cancause headaches or nausea, or diacetyl butter flavoring, which may cause respiratory damage when inhaled. (Air popped, anyone?)
13. Corn Tortillas and 14. Muffins Made With Propylparaben: This common cosmetic ingredient is also used to preserve corn tortillas and muffins. (Just check the product’s label: If it contains the chemical, it will be listed as an ingredient.) Because the chemical acts like estrogen, it can throw your system out of whack — potentially messing with your fertility and accelerating the growth of breast cancer cells, according to some research.
Unfortunately there aren’t a ton of studies done on cumulative exposure, so researchers don’t know whether your penchant for tacos and propylparaben containing lotions could compound your risk, says Leiba, who tends to dodge such foods and products (just in case).
15. Any Packaged Food With More Than Two Ingredients You Can’t ID. Like “butylated hydroxyanisole” (BHA) and “butylated hydroxytoluene” (BHT). These ingredients are antioxidants used as preservatives in foods like chips, preserved meats, and cereals. BHA is an endocrine disruptor: High doses can affect the size of your ovaries and their ability to produce certain hormones, Leiba explains. BHT is no angel either: Animal studies link the ingredient to motor skill issues and lung and liver tumors. While ingredients can affect animals and humans differently, you might not want to be the guinea pig, Leiba says. “It’s in your best interest to limit these chemicals as much as possible.”