Dining Out May Increase Level of Harmful Chemicals in Human Body

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Researchers reveal that dining out increases exposure to harmful chemicals, according to a study conducted on March 29, 2018.

This is the first study, which compares phthalate exposure in people who were dining out to those who consume home-cooked food. Phthalates are mostly used in materials used for food packaging and causes disruption of hormones in humans. Furthermore, this leads to many health problems. From the results of the study, it was found that phthalate levels were 35 percent higher in people who consumed food from restaurants and cafeteria, as compared to people who ate food purchased from grocery store.

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which was gathered between 2005 and 2014 were used by the researchers to conduct the study. 10,253 participants were included in the study and were asked to recall what they ate and where their food came from in the previous 24 hours. The link between phthalate levels and the food they consumed were then analyzed by the researchers. After analyzing, researchers could find that 61 percent of the participants had consumed food from restaurants and cafeterias. Varshavsky, postdoctoral scientist at the University of California, San Francisco said, “Pregnant women, children and teens are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals, so it’s important to find ways to limit their exposures. Future studies should investigate the most effective interventions to remove phthalates from the food supply.”

Take-home boxes, gloves used in handling food, food processing equipment, and other items used in the production of restaurant, cafeteria, and fast food meals are some of the products that contain phthalates. Previous research suggests that these chemicals can leach from plastic containers or wrapping into food. Human exposure to these chemicals can be reduced by policy actions such as bans.

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