Mac & Cheese is a long-time American classic and kid-favorite. Popular brands like Kraft, Velveeta, or even the "organic" competitors such as Annie's and Horizon, are found in households nationwide. However, did you know the easy and convenient go-to for your kiddo's picky palate is likely contaminated by a harmful industrial chemical called phthalates? Phthalates are not mixed directly into the food, but rather, a result of using food packaging containing the chemical, which then contaminates our food via contact. Read here to learn more about how phthalates get into our food.
This post was inspired by the latest headline published by The New York Times this past week: The Chemicals in Your Mac and Cheese. The article is based on a recent study that tested 30 samples of cheese products and found phthalates in all but one sample. The study reports the highest levels of phthalates were found in processed cheese powders of boxed mac and cheese. The study was completed by Kleanup Kraft, an advocacy group, part of a larger Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging.
Fact: Most of us are exposed to phthalates daily--consumer packaging, labels, manufacturing processes, etc. We're also exposed to heavy metals, radiation, BPA, pesticides, and many other harmful substances via our food, water, homes, air, household products, electronics, and more.
Fact: Phthalate toxicity is linked to developmental delays, ADHD, mental illness, neuro-degeneration, hormones imbalances, and even genital birth defects.
Fact: Phthalate levels have been found highest in children and women, though, men are still at risk for adverse effects as well.
Fact: Phthalate exposure among pregnant women is linked to increased risk of miscarriages and gestational diabetes.
Fact: More research is needed to understand how various levels of phthalates affect the body and the long-term effects.