How to Go Phthalate Free: Why are Infants Consuming Twice the EPA Safe Level for this Chemical?


Our little ones are exposed to far too many chemicals in their daily life and much of that exposure comes from their diet. Phthalates, endocrine disruptors known to cause hormonal changes, are present twice as often as EPA considers safe for children. Meat, poultry in particular, as well as dairy were two of the main culprits in the study, which was published in the journal of Environmental Health. Parents should consider going phthalate free as much as possible.

“When the children’s toys were being brought up, it was specifically for kids mouthing a lot of plastic toys,” said Sathyanarayana, who is also an investigator at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. “Now that we have more information and the research has evolved, we know [there are] other sources.” In addition to diet, those would be dust tracked into homes by everyday foot traffic and the creams and lotions used mostly by women for personal care.

Researchers looked at 17 different studies on the subject and pitted four types of diets against each other: a diet high in fruits and vegetables, a meat and dairy based diet, a balanced diet, and the standard American diet. Chemical content was measured in each, and not surprisingly, the high fruit and vegetable diet had much lower, safe levels of phthalates and the high meat and dairy diet had far too many chemicals. While the standard American diet was safe for adults, it wasn’t safe for infants.

What’s the take away here? Try and go phthalate free as much as possible. Foods that are processed are full of BPA and phthalates that come from the packaging. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables rather than canned whenever possible. Use glass instead of plastic for microwave cooking, serving and packaging, especially meat and dairy. Never heat foods up in plastic containers and avoid handling receipts, which can be laden with chemicals like BPA. Additionally, buy toiletries and sunscreen that are free of chemicals like BPA, phthalates, and parabens.

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