Fast Food Identified as a Significant Source of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals

Dr. Joseph Mercola | | April 27, 2016

Fast food contains many ingredients that compromise health, but did you know these convenience meals also come with an extra serving of endocrine-disrupting chemicals? According to recent research, people who eat drive-through hamburgers and take-out pizzas have higher levels of phthalates in their urine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected data on nearly 8,900 Americans of all age groups between 2003 and 2010 as part of a nationwide survey on health and nutrition. Participants reported everything they'd eaten in the past 24 hours and provided a urine sample.

While other studies have investigated exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals from processed food in general, this is the largest study looking at exposure specifically from fast food meals. "Fast food" was broadly defined as food from restaurants without table service and/or those with takeout or drive-through service. So besides McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and similar establishments, it also includes sandwich shops, Starbucks, and other "casual dining" restaurants.

As reported by Time magazine: "The new report, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that people who ate more fast food also had higher levels of two substances that occur when phthalates — which make plastic more flexible — break down in the body. " The two phthalate metabolites identified in this particular study were: Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), a highly lipophilic (fat-soluble) chemical that is loosely chemically bonded to the plastic, allowing it to leach out into other fat-containing solutions in contact with the plastic...