The familiar boxed mac & cheese found in most American pantries may cause birth defects. A recent study has shown that these boxed meals contain potentially harmful chemicals called phthalates. Phthalates are a chemical utilized in most plastics, sealants, adhesives and other processed items. Once the risks were known, phthalates were removed from plastic children’s toys to keep them from being ingested. But, eating these chemicals may be easier than you think.
Can Phthalates Affect My Family?
Phthalates can travel to certain food products during their packaging stages, making them a food additive that we unknowingly consume. Boxed mac & cheese meals, such as Kraft Easy Mac, have specifically been linked to the phthalates. The coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging’s recent study found chemicals in 29 out of the 30 boxes that were tested. Fattier, less natural foods tend to have the most levels of phthalates. So, the chemicals in Easy Mac, for example, were found to be four times higher than in other more natural packaged cheeses.
What Can Phthalates Do?
When high levels of phthalates are ingested, they can cause dangerous hormone disorders. This is especially damaging to pregnant women and children. They can keep prenatal brain and reproductive systems from developing normally. Food safety groups have petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to eliminate all phthalates from foods, food packaging products and food processing tools. But, to make a change, the FDA wants more evidence proving the chemicals are unsafe. Until then, monitoring your mac & cheese intake may be wise.