Another study on phthalates in plastics grabs headlines

Another study on the dangers of phthalates in fast food is grabbing headlines in the mainstream media, although the study was first released two years ago!

Conducted by researchers at the Milken Institute School of Public Health (SPH) at George Washington University (Washington, DC), the study looked at fast-food consumption and exposure to these chemicals. It first appeared in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Lead author Ami Zota, ScD, MS, and Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at Milken Institute SPH, commented in an April 13, 2016, release, “People who ate the most fast food had phthalate levels that were as much as 40% higher. Our findings raise concerns because phthalates have been linked to a number of serious health problems in children and adults.”

Phthalates, noted the release, belong to a class of “industrial chemicals used to make food packaging materials, tubing for dairy products and other items used in the production of fast food. Other research suggests these chemicals can leach out of plastic food packaging and can contaminate highly processed food.”

The scaremongering never ceases, in spite of the fact that none of the research conducted over the past few decades on chemicals used in plastics—BPA, BPS and phthalates DiNP (diisodecyl phthalate) and DEHP (dii2-ethylhexyl phthalate—has definitively proven that any of them cause cancer or endocrine disruption.

Zota and her colleagues looked at data on 8,877 participants who answered detailed questions about their diet in the past 24 hours, including consumption of fast food. These participants also had provided researchers with a urinary sample used to test for the breakdown products of two specific phthalates—DEHP and DiNP—used as plasticizers.

The researchers at the Milken Institute SPH looked for exposure to BPA, “another chemical found in plastic food packaging” and “found no association between total fast-food intake and BPA.” Zota and her colleagues did find that people who ate fast-food meat products (within the 24-hour period prior to responding to questions about their food intake) had higher levels of BPA than people who reported no fast-food consumption.

Does that mean BPA is off the hook? Re-read my October 2016, blog post, “Government’s never-ending war on BPA: Your tax dollars at work,” which argues that an examination of decades of research has shown “no verified cases of anyone suffering ill effects from BPA exposure from consumer products.”

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