Wine is renowned for its history, its deliciousness and even its antioxidant benefits. A good thing in moderation, right? Well, turns out there may actually be some phthalates--endocrine disruptors--in wine.
That’s the news out of France, where researchers have found traces of dibutyl phthalate (DBP), diethylhexl phthalate (DEHP), and butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)—hormone disrupting phthalates in wine samples.
The chemicals are being leached into the wine during production. "In wineries, various polymer-based items are used for pumping, storing, and handling wines and spirits (vats, pumps, hoses, gaskets, tanks, and so forth)," the researchers noted. According to Rodale, the length of time the liquid is in contact with the chemical-laden containers, the more it’s likely to contain higher levels of the contaminants. Synthetic wine corks may also be a source of chemical contamination, note the researchers, "The presence of small quantities of DiBP was noted in certain synthetic corks, whereas it should not be present at all in a material intended for contact with beverages."
It’s not just wine, either. Spirits pose an even greater risk of contamination, notes the researchers: "Due to their low solubility in water, phthalates migrate more easily into products with a high ethanol content," They explained. "Spirits are, therefore, likely to contain higher concentrations than wines."
Should organic food and beverages be required to be free from chemicals such as phthalates? This is an ongoing problem in the processed food and beverage industry that will hopefully soon be addressed with government regulations. Food packaging chemicals contribute to health risks from contaminating chemicals like phthalates. These chemicals obstruct normal hormone function, namely causing fertility issues and development problems for newborns. As well, there are links to certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer.
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