As if it weren’t already enough of a headache to find non-toxic, safe and healthy food to eat, a recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspective reveals that the packaging used to contain certain food products can impact your hormones. Researchers for the study found that people who eat more fast food have significantly increased rates of phthalates—industrial chemicals used to make plastics—in their systems. The study authors attribute the trend to those chemicals seeping from plastic packaging into foods.
The study asked 8,877 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examinations Surveys between 2003 and 2010 to report all the food they had eaten within last 24 hours. Participants also donated a urine sample to the study. Researchers tested each urine sample for the industrial chemicals di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), diisononyl phthalate (DiNP) and bisphenol A (BPA)—all of which are suspected to impact health and hormones.
The results showed people for whom fast food made up 35% or more of their daily food consumption had higher rates of DEHP (24%) and DiNP (40%), compared to those who did not eat fast food. There was no significant correlation between BPA and fast food.