Phthalates, chemicals banned from children’s rubber duck toys as well as teething rings about 10 years ago, have been found in great amounts in children’s favorite meal: cheese and macaroni mixes that possess powdered cheese.
Moreover, these chemicals can wreak havoc on the human body. Namely, they can disrupt hormones. Most scientists claim that phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Furthermore, they have also been associated with birth defects and behavior and learning issues in older children.
Additionally, these chemicals may leach into the food through the packaging (plastic in the packaging or printed labels) as well as the equipment used in their production process (gaskets, conveyor belts, plastic tubing).
What’s more, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t banned these chemicals from food although they found through a 2014 report to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, that the primary source of phthalate exposure wasn’t from children’s toys but from beverages, foods, and drugs.
A study examined the safety of the ingredients found in thirty different cheese products. Researchers concluded that phthalates were present in about 97 percent of the samples with the greatest concentrations in the highly processed foods, such as the boxed mac and cheese products, which possess cheese powder.
In fact, 11 food safety and environmental groups have petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban phthalates from all types of food, their packaging and equipment involved in the production process. In addition, the latest news from the chemicals policy director for the Environmental Defense Fund (the Environmental Defense Fund is actually the petition’s organizer), Tom Neltner, is that the petition has been delayed temporarily due to some “technical” reasons.
This means that the U.S. governmental agencies may protect companies and their profits instead of protecting people.
So, you may want to prepare homemade mac and cheese in order to avoid these nasty chemicals.