A study has discovered endocrine-disrupting phthalates in 29 of 30 samples of cheese products

The worst offenders where boxed mac-and-cheese. To increase the durability and flexibility of plastics, phthalates are added to them. Now it seems they are making their way into our food supply.

Researchers were troubled by the findings because phthalates has been associated with genital birth defects in infant boys

As well as endometriosis in females, resistance to insulin in males, high blood pressure, hyperactivity, aggression, learning disabilities and a wide range of other negative outcomes. There is compelling evidence that phthalates affect the production of testosterone, a hormone that is critical to normal reproductive development. A deficiency can lead to a number of reproductive abnormalities such as an increased incidence of testicular cancer, low sperm count and genital malformation.

The FDA seems to know the dangers of phthalates, but they still haven’t banned the chemicals

Europe has placed a ban on many of the phthalates that are used in plastics from being used to manufacture of food, while the FDA in the US continues to allow 28 different phthalates (including DEHP) to be used in food packaging and equipment, based on safety guidelines that are outdated. Although they have not issued a ban yet, the FDA did issue a report to the CPSC that urged federal agencies to re-examine the risks of phthalates, while highlighting that they should shift their focus from toys to food:

“Overall, food, beverages, and drugs via direct ingestion, and not children’s toys and their personal care products, constituted the highest phthalate exposures to all subpopulations, with the highest exposure being dependent upon the phthalate and the products that contain it.”

Take matters into your own hands and reduce your exposure to phthalates

Until action is take by the regulators, you can follow these 10 tips for minimizing your exposure to phthalates:

  1. Processed food: Processed foods go through many process that expose them to phthalates. You can find a lot of phthalates, particularly DiNP and DEHP, in fast food. You should also reduce eating restaurant food, unless the restaurant specializes in serving fresh, organic whole foods.
  2. Fresh whole foods: Consume more fresh, organic whole vegetables and fruits.
  3. Cruciferous vegetables: You can boost your detoxification from plastics with brassicas like Brussels sprouts, kale, watercress, broccoli and cabbage.
  4. Water: Consume a lot of pure water daily. Think about buying a filtration system for the whole house to get rid of phthalates and similar toxins.
  5. Dairy: Select milk that is stored in glass bottles if you must consume milk. If you must consume cheese, select cheese that is unprocessed and keep it in a parchment that is wrapped, and place that parchment in a glass container.
  6. Meat products. If you eat meat, select meat that is unprocessed as much as possible, avoiding all “deli meats” and their pre-packaged variants.
  7. Plastics: Plastics that have the code three and seven might contain phthalates, but there are other chemicals in plastics that might leach in the food, which is why you should just avoid plastics in general. Chemical leaching is increased by placing hot liquids or food in plastic containers. Get rid of the plastics and use water bottles or glass containers instead.
  8. Toys and baby products: Get rid of sippy cups, baby bottles and baby toys.
  9. Fragrances: Stay away from all products that have “fragrance” written on the list of ingredients, because they might have phthalates. Select unscented household and personal products, including air fresheners, nail polish, shampoos, sunscreen, cleansers and cosmetics, with the exception of essential oils that are pure. You can find phthalates on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen List of Endocrine Disruptors. If you want to find clean products that are free from phthalates, search for them on the EWG’s website.
  10. Sweating: One way to effectively detox from phthalates is through sweating.  So saunas and daily exercise are two ways to aid the body in flushing out phthalates.