Restaurant diners may ingest extra pollutants

This article discusses dining out or dining in?

Eating meals cooked at home was linked to lower body levels of certain hormone-meddling chemicals. Dining out may boost exposure to certain potentially toxic pollutants, a new study finds. Researchers measured higher levels of these phthalates (THAAL-ayts) in the bodies of people who recently dined out than in those who had been eating only foods that had been cooked at home.

Phthalates are found in many products, notably cosmetics, floor tiles and certain types of plastics. These chemicals also are used in food packaging. Many studies over the past few decades have shown phthalates can mimic the action of certain hormones. (Such pollutants are known as endocrine disruptors.) Hormones are important chemicals that help direct the activity of cells throughout the body. The effects of phthalates on hormones may alter how reproductive organs develop in infants and children. These chemicals might even impact the timing of puberty, animal studies have shown. That’s why environmental scientists recommend limiting exposures to phthalates.


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