Those who often eat in restaurants and bars are more exposed to the phthalates harmful chemicals than those who cook at home, according to a team of scientists at George Washington University. The results of this research have been published in the journal Environment International.
Foods from restaurants and bars contain phthalates
According to the leading author of the study, Ami Zotas, a professor at the George Washington University, the study suggests that food that is not cooked at home may have more phthalates, which are some harmful chemicals.
These substances, especially the salts and esters of phthalic acid that are used in the packaging of food, affect the hormones in the human body and are related to a long list of health problems.
Ami Zota and the other researchers started their study from where another one ended
The researchers gathered the data registered by the National Health and Nutrition Survey study conducted in the USA between 2005 and 2014, during which more than 10,000 participants were asked to remember where and what they ate on the last day. More than 60% said they did not do it at home.
From this statistic, the experts analyzed the relationship between what these people ate and the volume of phthalates in their body. The people who ate more frequently in coffee shops, bars and restaurants had almost 35% more phthalates in their bodies in comparison to those who prepared their own foods.
Pregnant women, children, and teenagers are the most vulnerable
Many products contain phthalates, including boxes with which we take food home, gloves used in food handling, food processing equipment, and other items used in restaurants, coffee shops, and fast food establishments.
“Pregnant women, children, and adolescents are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of chemicals that alter hormones, so it is important to find ways to limit their exposure,” says Julia Varshavsky, one of the study’s authors.
In conclusion, according to the researchers, eating in restaurants and bars frequently is increasing your exposure to phthalates which are very harmful substances which affect the hormones in the human body leading to various dysfunctions.