Plasticizers, known as a chemical called phthalates, are found in a variety of household products.
However, recent studies show that this dangerous chemical is found in pizza takeaway boxes and other fast food containers, meaning many people are ingesting it without being aware of its very serious side effects.
A recent study examined 9,000 people. It was found that those who ate fast food and take-out more often had higher levels of phthalates found in their urine than those who did not frequently eat fast food. It was theorized that PVC tubing, plastic gloves the food handlers use and the containers the food comes in were the likely culprits of this build up of the chemical.
It was also observed that those who had a higher amount of the chemical in their body consumed more meat and grains than those who did not.
Phthalates are found in many plastic household items, which help keep plastic flexible. But they were found to be likely carcinogenic and the U.S. Product Safety Commission banned them in children’s toys.
But if this chemical abounds, what is so dangerous about it?
When this plasticizer is found in wildlife refuges, it is often linked to the feminization of non-intersex male animals who then go on to develop female characteristics. Although no studies have been done on humans to determine if this is also the case, researchers say the results are relevant as humans have similar endocrine systems.
Additionally, exposure to the chemical while pregnant can lead to the masculinization of a baby, as well as disrupting the thyroid levels of the fetus in the crucial third trimester.
Researchers have also found that pregnant women exposed to the chemical have an over 72% chance of having a child who would later develop asthma between the ages of 5 and 11.
The chemical can also lead to migraines, depression and impaired memory in senior adults.
In order to protect yourself from phthalates, it is recommended that you cut back on your take-out and fast food. It is also recommended that you replace plastic products in your household with glass or fabric alternatives and that you avoid purchasing food with any plastic wrapping.