Mac and Cheese Dangers?
Phthalates are industrial chemicals found in plastics, sealants, tubing, conveyor belts, labels, adhesives, toys, medications, medical devices and in macaroni and cheese.
According to newly released research involving 1,500 men conducted by the University of Adelaide in Australia, the highest concentrations of phthalates were found in mac and cheese powder mixes, the kind of food most kids love to eat.
Phthalates tend to bind with fatty foods and mac and cheese certainly would qualify.
Why should we care? They have been associated with a slowdown in testosterone production, with birth defects in infant boys, and with learning and behavior problems.
It’s assumed the chemicals migrate during food production and into the food. The New York Times reports they may pose a special risk to pregnant women and young children, at the age where mac and cheese is a top favored food.
Of the 30 cheese products tested, all had detected phthalate levels but the boxed mac and cheese mixes had four times the amount of phthalates.
Even the organic products had higher phthalate levels.
The University of Adelaide Medical School researchers confirm it’s not known why phthalates are linked to disease but they seem to have an impact on the endocrine system which oversees the release of hormones.
Hormones regulate growth, metabolism and sexual development.
A diet of processed food and carbonated soft drinks with fewer fruits and vegetables is associated with the higher levels of phthalates ingestion.
In men, the everyday chemicals are linked to type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure. There was no significant association with asthma and depression.
Inflammatory biomarkers increased with higher phthalate levels along with chronic disease. Chronic inflammation is a biomarker that indicates disease.
The research is published in the international journal, Environmental Research.
It’s estimated about two million boxes of mac and cheese are sold in the U.S. every day.
Consumers have the ultimate power so let your favorite mac and cheese maker know your concerns.
A petition by the Environmental Defense Fund demands the Food and Drug Administration remove all phthalates from food processing, packaging, manufacturing equipment and food.