A new study has found that two ‘phthalate’ chemicals – Di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) and Di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP) that are used to strengthen plastic containers for foods and plastic food wrap (plus they can be added to soap and cosmetics) are just as bad as the old Di-2-ethylhexylphlatate (DEHP) they had replaced. All 3 are associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure and diabetes in children and teenagers.
Lead investigator Dr L Trasande said, “Our research adds to growing concerns that environmental chemicals might be independent contributors to insulin resistance, elevated blood pressure and other metabolic disorders”.
In the study published last week in the journal Hypertension, the researchers said that for every 10-fold increase in the amount of DINP or DIDP consumed, there was a 1.1 mm of mercury (mm Hg) increase in blood pressure.
In another in study published in May in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the researchers said they discovered a link between DINP and DIDP concentrations and increased insulin resistance, the ‘prelude’ state that often develops into diabetes.
European regulators banned DEHP in 2004, and manufacturers began to replace DEHP with DINP and DIDP over the last decade.
3 top tips how to reduce these chemicals getting into your food
There are a number of “safe and simple” ways you can limit exposure to phthalates, Trasande said.
- Never microwave food in plastic containers or covered by plastic wrap.
- Wash plastic food containers by hand instead of putting them in the dishwasher, where harsh dishwasher chemicals and higher temperatures could increase the transfer of the chemicals into the food.
- Consider using pyrex or pottery containers to re-heat food, and wrap food in greaseproof paper or foil instead of clear plastic film.
Which plastic containers contain these chemicals?
Look at the PE value triangle on the bottom of plastic containers. Those with the numbers 3, 6 or 7 on the bottom, contain phthalates.
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