Scientists Find a New Reason Why Eating Out Might Be Bad For Your Health

Science | By Ian Anglin | April 4, 2018

People buy all sorts of products all the time and it's not so often that they stop by to think about the possible chemicals that these products contain. For example, chemicals such as phthalates and BPA could be found in places such as the kitchen floor in one's home to the water bottles a person takes for their run or workout session. These specific chemicals have been deemed hazardous to peoples' bodies i.e. their hormones and new studies connect them with fertility issues.

Dining Out Increases the Risk for Fertility Problems

Having food and drinks out of the home on regular basis raises the consumption of risky sugars and fats, but yet another hazard to be wary of when eating out is the exposure to phthalates. These possibly hazardous chemicals could be located in a number of products like shampoos, perfumes, hair conditioners and plastic bags. The intake of phthalates has been associated with birth defects in young males as well as behavioral issues and obesity.

Concerning the male gender, the exposure to phthalates during the embryonic stage could affect the growth of the reproductive tract causing an insufficient lowering of one or both testicles. It is also suspected that the chemicals could mess with the hormones, which may result in infertility issues. Scientists have linked phthalates to neurological troubles, asthma, obesity in children, cardiovascular problems and even cancer is not excluded. Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana was quoted to say that these chemicals are known as endocrine disruptors.

Contact with Plastic Packaging Exposes People to Hazardous Chemicals

The journal Environment International recently published a study regarding phthalates. What was found is that the levels of the chemical in subjects that ate at restaurants and cafeterias the day before would increase by 35%. This is in contrast to the people who ate goods bought from a store. Apparently, the subjects who had food and drinks out of the home were perhaps exposed to the chemicals through the touching of plastic packaging.

Ami Zota, who is an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health as well as the head conductor of the study, was quoted to say the following, "The main idea is that food that is made in restaurants and cafeterias may be coming into contact with materials containing phthalates in part because some portion of the food is made in decentralized locations". In addition, "Most of the phthalates that are of most concern from a health perspective are plasticizers."

Teenagers Are the Most Affected by the Risks of Dining Out

Ami Zota continued to explain that plasticizers are added to make plastics soft and also, they're added to food packaging and can be found in food handling gloves or food tubing. The study was backed up by data gathered between 2005 and 2014 via the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey which includes over 10,000 people and is conducted every other year. The survey asks people about their food intake routines during a 24 hours period and has them provide urine samples.

Results from the survey report that about two-thirds of the participants had food and drinks out of the home at least once that previous day. Consequently, those who did so had higher levels of phthalates in their urine. Even though the connection was apparent throughout all age, gender and ethnicity groups, it was the most significant among the teenagers. In fact, they a 55% higher phthalate level in comparison to the people who had food at home.



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