As we’ve discussed before, phthalates are synthetic chemicals known as endocrine disrupters (never good when something we’re exposed to is called a “disrupter”) found in literally hundreds of consumer products ranging from personal-care products such as perfumes and shampoos to countless food processing and packaging materials.
The problem with their pervasive use is that they may not be safe; in fact, phthalates may be downright dangerous.
That brings us to our eating habits, particularly our tendency to eat out. Research published in Environmental International suggests people who eat out at fast-food establishments, restaurants or cafeterias are exposed to 35 percent more phthalates than people whose primary source of sustenance is grocery-store food. The researchers suggest the increased exposure may be attributable to the fact that many restaurant / fast-food fare is not made on the premises, meaning it’s transported (likely in some form of plastic wrap / container) from a production facility.
Now, let’s be clear: Grocery-store food can also contain phthalates, depending on the type of food, so this is really a conversation about avoiding phthalates wherever and whenever you eat by avoiding processed, pre-prepared meals (at the grocery store, think frozen dinners for starters, although that’s the tip of the iceberg) generally produced or packaged in plastic. In fact, when you think about it, how many foods in your fridge, freezer and pantry right now may contain or have been exposed to phthalates? Not a pretty picture.
It’s difficult to completely eliminate your phthalate exposure due to their prevalence in our environment these days, but you can start by eating as many unprocessed, unpackaged foods as possible. We’re talking natural, nutritious foods grown in the soil, not produced in a manufacturing plant. By the way, that’s also a great way to promote overall health by getting the balanced nutrition your body needs. Talk to your doctor for more information.