Fast Food May Mean More Phthalates

Phthalate exposure was higher in those who ate more fast food

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) Fast food may expose diners to potentially harmful chemicals called phthalates, a new study found.

Those who said they ate more fast food in a national survey of 8,877 people had higher concentrations of phthalates in their urine, according to this study.

Although phthalates' health effects are still being studied, past research has suggested links between phthalate exposure and health problems like infertility.

Phthalates are industrial chemicals used in plastic and similar items such as food packaging.

In this study, researchers from the George Washington University Milken Institute found the more fast food respondents ate, the more they were exposed to phthalates. Furthermore, they found those with the highest fast-food intake had nearly 40 percent higher levels of one phthalate in their urine.

These researchers said more research is needed to confirm the exact health effects of phthalates, but, in the meantime, diners should opt for more fruits and vegetables and fewer fast-food burgers and burritos.

This study was published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences funded this research. Conflict of interest disclosures were not available at the time of publication.

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Review Date: 
April 13, 2016
Last Updated:
April 13, 2016