BOSTON – A new study by Consumer Reports finds that the food we eat contains large amounts of tiny plastics called phthalates that can be harmful.
“What we wanted to know is, number one, are they in the food? And number two, what are the concentrations?” Consumer Reports’ James Rogers told WBZ – told TV.
Plastic inspection conducted on 85 foods
The nonprofit consumer group tested 85 foods for phthalates, and the results were alarming.
“Of the 85 products we tested, only one had zero phthalates,” Rogers said.
General Mills’ so-called “heart-healthy” Cheerios contained about 11,000 nanograms of phthalates per serving.
plastic in fast food
Many fast foods ranked even higher. Burger King’s Whopper with Cheese contained more than 20,000 nanograms of radiation, and each serving of Wendy’s Crispy Chicken Nuggets contained nearly 34,000 nanograms of radiation.
“We’re also telling people to eat less fast food or avoid it altogether, because our article shows that fast food was particularly high in plasticizers,” Roger said. said.
Foods that children often eat topped the list. Another General Mills food product, Annie’s Organic Cheese Ravioli, contained more than 53,000 nanograms of phthalates per serving.
“Food safety is our top priority at General Mills. We regularly review the ingredients and packaging we purchase and the companies that supply them,” a General Mills spokesperson told WBZ TV in a statement. Products tested by Consumer Reports met the following criteria: Regulatory requirements. ”
Damage caused by plastic in food
Dr. Philip Landrigan, a professor at Boston University who studies chemicals in food, said plastic is everywhere in food. He told WBZ that chemicals can leach out of plastic containers and bags and can be extremely harmful to the body.
“Phthalates are chemicals that have the effect of disrupting endocrine function. They can cause toxicity to the liver, resulting in changes in cholesterol and other lipid levels,” Landrigan said. . “And they are driving up rates of heart disease and stroke in the American population.”
It’s the kind of information that makes the average consumer question what they buy and expects some kind of regulation.
Shopper Kate Wilson said: “If it’s affecting people’s health and hormones and there are other options, then without rules businesses probably won’t be incentivized to do anything. ” he said.
Regulation of plastics in food
There aren’t many rules regarding plastics in the US.
“More than 80% of chemicals on the market today have never been tested for safety or effectiveness. Essentially, we and our children are surrounded by chemicals with no known dangers. ing.”
Rogers said it’s up to manufacturers and governments to regulate this.
“That’s why, for example, we asked the FDA to ban all phthalates, phthalate substitutes, or these plasticizers altogether. We just want them to be banned,” he told WBZ. Told.
How to avoid plastic in food
In addition to the ban, there are other things you can do to minimize your exposure.
“What we want to do is encourage consumers to reduce their exposure by eating less processed foods,” Rogers says. “Don’t microwave food in plastic containers. Don’t even store it in plastic containers; use glass. Look for cookware made of wood, silicone, or stainless steel. Please do not use plastic water bottles when training.”
Landrigan advises eating as much organic food as possible.
WBZ reached out to Burger King and Wendy’s for comment on this matter, but did not receive a response.
The FDA has issued the following statement regarding phthalates and the use of the chemical in food packaging.
“The FDA currently allows nine phthalates for food contact applications (eight for use as plasticizers and one for use as a monomer) in the manufacture of food contact polymers. .Phthalates are not allowed to be added directly to food.”
Although FDA is aware of the latest toxicology and use information on phthalates that is available to the public, industry participants may have access to important information that is not always publicly available. . On May 19, 2022, the FDA issued the following statement: request information Current specific food contact applications, use levels, and dietary exposures for the eight phthalates that are still approved as plasticizers for use in food contact applications either through food additive regulations or pre-approved uses. , and seeking scientific data and information regarding safety data. . Government agencies may use this information to update dietary exposure estimates and safety assessments when food contact use of these phthalates is permitted. ”