High levels of phthalates were found in people who eat out and especially in fast food restaurants. According to a study published in the journal Environment International, people who eat out are more exposed to phthalate than those who don’t.
Researchers at George Washington University in the United States analyzed medical data from the 10,253 participants in the US National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) collected between 2005 and 2014. The volunteers were invited to declare what they eat and where their food come from (supermarket, restaurants, fast food). Then the researchers measured the levels of phthalic biomarkers in the urine of each participant.
They found that the association between phthalate exposure and restaurant meals was significant for all age groups, but that this relationship was more pronounced among adolescents. Indeed, young people who consumed a lot of fast food and other foods bought from restaurants had 55% more phthalates than those who only consumed home-cooked meals.
The results of the study also showed that some foods, such as hamburgers and sandwiches were linked to higher levels of phthalates, but only if they came from a fast food restaurant, a restaurant or a coffee shop.
“Our results suggest that dining out could be a major source of phthalate exposure,” says Julia Varshavsky, co-author of the study. “We are not asking people to stop eating out, it’s just a matter of doing it sparingly and using fresh produce. And pregnant women, children, and adolescents are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of food. hormone-disrupting chemicals, so it’s important to find ways to limit their exposure. ”
This study highlights the findings of a previous study conducted by the same university. It revealed that fast food restaurants were exposed to phthalates and bisphenol A, substances that are harmful to our endocrine system and increase the risk of developing cancers and behavioral disorders.
Phthalates, a class of chemicals considered endocrine disruptors, are widely used in consumer products, plastic toys, household building materials and shampoos. A previous study had found exposure to phthalates early in life to be associated with thyroid disorders in 3-year-old girls. Another study has also found that phthalates can significantly increase the risk of allergy in children.
In pregnant women, phthalates are also thought to be responsible for miscarriages.