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Home Home Wellness News Unhealthy Phthalates Found in Restaurant Food
Unhealthy Phthalates Found in Restaurant Food
Wellness - Latest Wellness News
Jupiter, FL Dentist

THURSDAY, March 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- People who like to dine out may unwittingly order a side of potentially harmful chemicals, new research suggests.

The study, involving more than 10,000 Americans, found that those who'd dined out the day before generally had higher urine levels of chemicals called phthalates, versus people who'd had all their meals at home.

The findings suggest that old-fashioned home-cooked meals could be one way for people to reduce their intake of phthalates -- which have been linked to certain health risks.

Phthalates are added to plastics to make them more flexible and difficult to break. Lab studies have shown the chemicals to be "endocrine disruptors" -- which means they can interfere with how hormones work in the body.

In humans, studies have found correlations between phthalate exposure and reproductive issues -- including preterm birth and fertility problems, said lead researcher Ami Zota. She is an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C

Still, other studies have found links to health problems like asthma, obesity and behavioral issues in kids.

Several phthalates have been banned from children's toys and certain child-care products, such as teething rings, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

However, phthalates remain in a huge range of products, from electrical cables and medical supplies to detergents and cosmetics.

For most people, diet is the primary route of exposure, said Zota.

That's because phthalates can get into food during processing, or possibly during transportation, through packaging or even via the gloves used for food handling, Zota explained.

So it's not surprising, she said, that people who eat out can be exposed to more phthalates. In fact, her team found in an earlier study that fast-food fans generally had higher phthalate levels than people who rarely ate those foods.

The new study, published online March 28 in the journal Environment International, suggests fast food is not the only culprit.

On average, the study found, people who'd dined out -- at any type of restaurant or cafeteria -- had a phthalate intake that was 35 percent higher than people who'd eaten only home-prepared meals.

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