Happy Friday! Here, have some horrors to ruin your weekend. You know the delightful little chewy tapioca balls that transform regular old milk tea and coffee and slushies into that delightful treat named bubble tea – boba if you’re nasty? Yeah well, those tapioca balls may actually be nastier than you. A new report out of Germany this week finds that those boba balls have been found to contain carcinogenic chemicals known as “aspolychlorinated biphenyls” (PCBs).
According to Huffington Post, the report was made by German researchers at the University Hospital Aachen, who tested tapioca balls from a German boba chain that uses tapioca balls manufactured in Taiwan. The results weren’t pretty:
"[What we found] includes in particular styrene, acetophenone, and brominated substances that shouldn't be in food at all," scientist Manfred Möller, of the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine at the University Hospital Aachen, told German newspaper The Local, notes the AFP.
The Styrene Information & Research Center asserts that styrene, a compound derived from benzene and often used in rubbers and plastics, is present in many foods and beverages in their natural state. But on the other hand, styrene has specifically been linked to cancer by the National Toxicology Program. In general, PCBs are known to wreak environmental havoc and are strongly linked with liver cancer, as well as uterine and cervical cancer due to the chemicals’ tendency to mimic estrogen. The Huffington Post report adds that PCB manufacturing has been banned in the United States since the 1970s, due to its environmental and health risks. Not that this stops production in other countries, obviously.
This isn’t the first time boba has come under fire: not too long ago, doctors voiced concern about the choking hazard posed by the tapioca balls when consumed by young children. But hey, don’t give young children boba – problem solved. You can have a juice box, this is a treat for when you’re older like chewing gum and hard alcohol. Aspolychlorinated biphenyls, on the other hand, are a problem that can’t be fixed by age and caution alone.
So have a great weekend, everyone! May the tapioca balls at your favorite boba shop be all-natural, locally sourced, and PCB-free. As for us, we’re going to go cry into our keyboard. (And then probably go to Tea Station for a brown sugar milk tea because, boba, we just can’t quit you.)
[SOURCE: Huffington Post]