Skip to main content

This Chemical Found in Groceries Kills More Than 90,000 People Every Year, New Study Finds

You already know that you want to be thoughtful about the foods that you eat, but it turns out you may also want to look out for certain kinds of packaging materials, too. More specifically, it might be best to avoid foods packaged in plastic since exposure to phthalates, aka toxic chemicals found in many plastic food containers, could have serious health consequences. In fact, a new study finds that phthalates contribute to anywhere from 91,000 to 107,000 deaths per year.

In the study, which was published in the journal Environmental Pollution, researchers compared data from participants in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2001–2010 (who provided urine samples to be tested for phthalates) to information about deaths through the end of 2015. They looked at deaths from all causes, deaths from cancer, and deaths from cardiovascular disease. Ultimately, researchers found that phthalates increased the risk of death from all causes and of death from cardiovascular issues.

RELATED: This Harmful Chemical in Food Packaging Was Hidden from the FDA, New Report Says

"Phthalates disrupt metabolism in multiple ways, especially by hacking hormones," lead author Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, told Eat This, Not That! in an interview. "They also contribute to inflammation, a key process in heart disease."

While inflammation is a vital part of the healing process, chronic inflammation can have serious health consequences. In addition to being associated with heart disease, as Trasande mentioned, it can also increase your risk of cancer, arthritis, type II diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease, among other conditions.

Hand of the buyer with the packaging of almond nuts in the store

"The study seems to be well done and is done by a trustable scientist, Trasande, [and it is an] important study regarding the health consequences of exposure to plastic related chemicals," says Monica Lind, Ph.D., an environmental toxicologist and adjunct professor at Uppsala University's Department of Medical Sciences. "The study tells us that actions to minimize exposure to phthalates should be taken, as we should [take precautions] when such results as these are presented."

It's probably a good idea, given that phthalates have been linked with a bunch of frightening health consequences. A 2012 study published in the journal Gene noted a link between phthalates' endocrine-disrupting effect and increased risk of genital, prostate, ovarian, and breast diseases, among others. A 2016 article in the journal Environment International highlights the association between phthalates and fertility issues, respiratory diseases, and brain disorders.

So, keeping this risk in mind could help protect you from some of these negative health consequences. Reducing your consumption of foods that have been packaged in plastic could be a good place to start, even if you think the packaged meal is a healthy one.

"People may assume phthalates contaminate unhealthy foods only," says Trasande. "That is not true—plastic wraps are used in all types of foods."

For more on avoiding unseen dangers in your foods, check out these 10 Most Toxic Ingredients Lurking In Fast Food. Then, don't forget to sign up for our newsletter!

The post This Chemical Found in Groceries Kills More Than 90,000 People Every Year, New Study Finds appeared first on Eat This Not That.

Eat This Not That

Popular posts from this blog

These 5 Grocery Items Are Cheaper Than Ever Right Now

The grocery industry has been facing major disruptions. The combined effects of the pandemic, climate change, and economic uncertainty over the past couple of years have culminated in a series of supply chain breakdowns. For the consumer, this means supply shortages , shipping delays , and temporary store closures are becoming more commonplace – and all of the added production cost to suppliers is driving up food prices . The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index report for January 2022 was released on Feb. 9, and it tells the story of cost trends for every spending category over the past year. Now the numbers are in, and since January 2021, "food at home" spending has increased 7.4%. Consumers should use this number as a benchmark, Phil Lempert, the consumer behavior analyst and founder behind Supermarket Guru , told Eat This, Not That! "Anything that's substantially less [than the 7.4% increase] is a deal," said Lempert. "When you

When Should I Take Creatine?

Creatine is probably the most well-researched supplement on the market today. Numerous studies have found positive adaptations in strength, power and muscle mass thanks to creatine supplementation—especially when it's combined with resistance training. Although the benefits of creatine are well-known to lifters, the best time to take it isn't common knowledge. Which leads us to some important questions:     Does an optimal time for consuming creatine exist?     If it does, should you take it before or after your workout? According to a new study published in the Journal of Exercise and Nutrition, the timing of creatine ingestion does indeed play a role in getting bigger and stronger. Creatine supplementation before resistance training increases muscular strength and lean muscle mass. Interestingly, taking creatine immediately after lifting weights results in greater muscle growth than taking it immediately before. However, in terms of strength gains, no difference betw

Reentry Anxiety Is Real - Why You May Experience It as Stay-at-Home Measures Ease

When the coronavirus stay-at-home orders began in March, most people's lives changed in immeasurable ways. At the time, we were bombarded with (admittedly, very helpful) advice on how to cope with anxiety , should we experience it during this time of social distancing and sheltering in place. But with restrictions slowly starting to ease in many parts of the world, there are many people who have seen an increase in anxiety all over again, this time about leaving their homes and reentering society. Posts about people's growing anxiety have been popping up around social media for the past couple of weeks, and it's given rise to the term "reentry anxiety." We wanted to find out exactly what reentry anxiety is, whether it's normal to be experiencing trepidation about leaving your stay-at-home orders, and how to cope if you are feeling anxious. What Is Reentry Anxiety? The short answer is that "post-lockdown anxiety is real," said Dr. Balu Pitchiah ,