Everyone's buzzing over this chemical found in honey
Ever hear of "honey laundering?"
It's a silly sounding name, but the practice itself is dead serious.
It's when honey from places like China, which are not allowed to export the stuff to the United States, is sent to another country first to hide where it's coming from.
Then, it's shipped off to the United States, where consumers will have no idea they're eating honey that could be tainted with drugs -- including hormones and antibiotics -- as well as dangerous metals and other toxins.
And those aren't the only risks.
A new report exposes one more potential problem, revealing a contaminant that could be hiding in your honey even if yours hasn't been laundered.
Three-quarters of the world's honey contains trace levels of pesticides!
In tests conducted on 200 honey samples taken from all over the place, researchers found detectable levels of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids in 75 percent of them.
Nearly half of the samples contained two or more neonicotinoids, while 10 percent had four or five.
This isn't just any old bug killer.
Neonicotinoids are up to 10,000 times more potent than DDT -- and while they're billed as "safer" than some older chemicals, there's really very little research on what happens to humans who are exposed.
The closest we have is animal studies, which suggest these chemicals may harm the developing nervous system -- putting pregnant women and children at the highest risk.
And the damage might not be limited to the little ones.
One study on rats suggests the chemicals can cause "neurobehavioral impairments" and possibly interfere with nerve function.
So, while scientists say that nearly all of the levels of these chemicals found in honey were within the "safe" limits for people, that's not necessarily cause for comfort.
No one seems to truly know what the "safe" limits are!
Unfortunately, the highest levels of contamination were found right here. Eighty-six percent of the samples from North America contained at least one neonicotinoid.
If you want honey, buy some from a nearby beekeeper (if you can) instead of cheap mass-produced supermarket honey, which is far more likely to contain pesticides and other contaminants.
Local honey also contains local pollens and may help you fight seasonal allergies as well.
Just be careful how much you use. At its heart, honey is still one of the simplest of all simple sugars. That means a beehive full of empty calories -- not to mention a spike in blood sugar -- so be especially careful if you have or are at risk for diabetes.
A little honey in some herbal tea might be fine, but dumping it into recipes or using it like jam won't do you any favors.