Researchers find industrial chemicals in food samples

Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have discovered phthalates, industrial chemicals, in common foods purchased in the United States. Phthalates can be found in a variety of products and food packaging material, child-care articles and medical devices.

"Although it's not completely understood how phthalates get into our food, packaging may be a contributor to the levels of the toxin in food," said lead investigator Arnold Schecter, M.D., M.P.H., professor of environmental health at The University of Texas School of Public Health Dallas Regional campus, part of UTHealth.

The study is published in the online edition of . Schecter believes this is the first study to compile an analysis of phthalates in foods found in the United States. National Institutes of Health researcher Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., is the senior author on the study publication.

"It's unfortunate that we have these toxic chemicals in our bodies," said Schecter. "However, this is not a cause for alarm because the amount of phthalates found in the food falls below what the considers safe. But it is cause for concern because these toxins and others previous reported by this group do not belong in our food or our bodies."

Phthalates are that are used as a plasticizers and in such a shampoo, soap, perfumes and other common . According to Schecter, exposure to phthalates has been reported to be associated with harmful effects including reproductive changes such as damage in sperm, premature breast development in girls and premature birth.

A sample of 72 commonly consumed foods including pizza, meats and beverages from supermarkets in Albany, N.Y., were purchased and tested for the presence of phthalates. Researchers detected some level of phthalate in every food product they sampled, Schecter said.

Schecter believes further research is necessary to fully characterize phthalates in U.S. foods.

Related Stories

Phthalates in PVC floors taken up by the body in infants

May 23, 2012

A new study at Karlstad University in Sweden shows that phthalates from PVC flooring materials is taken up by our bodies. Phthalates are substances suspected to cause asthma and allergies, as well as other chronic diseases ...

Recommended for you

Keep your teens safe on the road this summer

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Car crashes are the leading cause of accidental death among American teens, and parents need to take steps to keep their teens safe when they're on the road this summer, an expert says.

Survey finds sharp increase in teen use of HGH

3 hours ago

(AP)—Experimentation with human growth hormones by America's teens more than doubled in the past year, as more young people looked to drugs to boost their athletic performance and improve their looks, according ...

Government drafting birth control accommodation

3 hours ago

(AP)—The Obama administration is developing a new way for religious nonprofits that object to paying for contraceptives in their health plans to opt out, without submitting a form they say violates their religious beliefs.

User comments