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article imageDo you want a side of industrial chemicals with that hamburger?

By Karen Graham     Apr 14, 2016 in Health
Those of you who have eaten fast food in the past 24 hours probably have elevated levels of infertility-producing industrial chemicals in your body.
A detailed study in Environmental Health Perspectives that looked at how fast food may expose us to certain industrial chemicals led to some startling results. So think about what the study found the next time you order at your favorite fast food restaurant.
We're talking about plastics, and there are plenty of products either made of plastic or that contain plastics. Chemicals called phthalates are used to make plastics more flexible and durable. These chemicals don't occur in nature, but they are found in cosmetics, soap, food packaging, vinyl toys, wallpaper, flooring and even plastic wrap.
The study
According to Bloomberg, the researchers focused on two specific types of phthalates, DEHP (Di(2-ethylhexyl phthalate) and DiNP (Diisononyl phthalate). The interesting thing about these two chemicals is that when they are in a product, and the product is heated or warmed, they are set loose into the environment or the body.
Researchers analysed data from 9,000 individuals who had participated in federal nutrition surveys between 2003 and 2010. Participants answered detailed questions on what they had eaten in the past 24 hours and submitted urine samples. The samples were tested for the presence of the phthalates, DEPH, DINP, and another chemical, bisphenol A (BPA).
The results of the testing showed a significant relationship between fast food intake and the levels of the two chemicals, DEHP and DINP as opposed to participants who had not consumed fast food. DEHP levels of 24 percent and DINP levels of 39 percent were found in those participants who had consumed fast food in the previous 24 hours.The levels of BPA, which is used to line aluminum cans, were not significant enough to correlate with fast food intake.
What's with the infertility claims?
"Our findings raise concerns because phthalates have been linked to a number of serious health problems in children and adults," researcher Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, says.
Previous studies on phthalates have shown they can adversely affect the male reproductive organs. According to the press release, "the American Chemistry Council says phthalates aren't harmful, the EPA is concerned about them, Japan has banned them in food-prep gloves, the EU has limited their use in food, and a 2008 US law restricted them in children's toys."
The CDC reports that phthalate exposure is widespread in the American population, with adult women have higher levels of urinary metabolites than men for DEHP and DINP phthalates that are used in soaps, body washes, shampoos, cosmetics, and similar personal care products.
While further studies are needed, Zota has this advice for us: "People concerned about this issue can't go wrong by eating more fruits and vegetables and less fast food."
More about Fast food, Industrial chemicals, Infertility, Phthalates, little regulation
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