You may not think about phosphates much, but they're in an astonishing variety of foods: soda, candy, frozen pizzas, cheese, some skim milk, and ketchup, among other edibles. Unfortunately, their ubiquity may be a very bad thing indeed:  A study from Emory University published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research suggests that they may be a factor in our high skin cancer rates. To find out more about the link between phosphates and skin cancer, just keep reading.

Specifically, the study's findings suggest that phosphates may actually promote tumor development and accelerate tumor growth. That can make skin cancer a more common, rapidly progressing, and deadly disease than it was for previous generations. Additionally, human consumption of phosphates in the form of food additives has skyrocketed in the last four decades, which could be a further link to heightened skin cancer rates in recent years.

Phosphate isn't usually a bad thing — it's necessary for healthy bone formation — but the research suggests we're consuming far too much of it, which may be making us sick. The average American consumes about 1,334 milligrams of phosphates per day, even though the RDA is only 700 mg. With new information about additives and cancer coming to light all the time, it's not a bad idea to take this as an opportunity to start reading your labels carefully, and making sure you get the amount of phosphate you need without overdosing.