Pthalates used in food packaging could be linked to childhood obesity, according to two recent studies conducted by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine that included research conducted on more than 900 children in East Harlem and surrounding communities. The studies have added to a growing body of evidence that link phthalates to health problems.
One of the studies, according to the Mount Sinai researchers, focused on 400 girls in the East Harlem community. The results showed that the heaviest girls had the highest levels of phthalates metabolites in their urine.
Another significant research project called Growing Up Healthy in East Harlem examined the diet and other factors for 520 East Harlem children aged 6-8 with the results indicating that the level of phthalates in the children tested was higher than the national average.
About 40 percent of children in East Harlem are considered to be overweight or obese. “When we say children, I’m talking about kindergarten children, we are talking about little kids,” said Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, a professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai, one of the lead researchers on one of the East Harlem studies. “This is a problem that begins early in life.”
Health concerns over phthalates have been debated for more than 10 years, as shown by a New York Times article from 1999 that describes opposing views on their use and mentions an FDA investigation into the matter. At that time, a major concern was the use of chemicals in children’s toys.
Previous reports linking phthalates to health disruptions have shown that they are connected to abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, poor semen quality in men, and changes in reproductive organs in infant boys.
Phthalates can be found in personal care products like cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, lotions, paint and pesticides. They are also used to make plastics more pliable. Phthalates are absorbed into the body and are a type of endocrine disruptor – a category of chemical that affects glands and hormones that regulate various bodily functions.
Increasingly when I am doing hair mineral testing on young children because of health issues, I am noticing higher amounts of toxic substances like lead, arsenic, mercury and tin. Substances like boron, copper and iron which are supposed to be nutritional become toxic at higher levels. The parents then ask me, “Where does it come from? How could all these heavy toxic substances and heavy metals be impacting them?” That’s when I tell them about the 100, 000 or more toxic substances that re now present in the environment that were not present before. The various authorities have not even established safety levels for multiple chemicals in the human body.
The FDA continues conducting ongoing investigations into potential risks, but notes that while there have been studies on laboratory animals demonstrating carcinogenic effects of certain chemicals, “there are no studies in humans that are adequate to serve as the basis for regulatory decision-making.”
Other packaging chemicals that have recently caused consumer concern include Biosphenol A (BPA) and perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). PFCs, which are found in grease-resistant packaging such as that used in microwaveable popcorn bags and pizza boxes, have been linked to infertility in women.
My wife’s colleague passed on this information to me. One of her friends whose father works for the government health inspection passed on his information. Their job is to inspect all hawkers, their cooked food, their store hygiene, etc. They found sugar cane juice has the highest content of bacteria among all food. In fact, it has exceeded the set limit.
Hence, these guys had to find out why. They went round all sugar cane stores and watched the way the hawkers handled their sugar cane, wash their glasses, their entire
procedure. But they couldn’t find the problem.
One day, they stayed till closing time and discovered some shocking facts! Whenever, the hawkers closed their stores, they would wash the floor with detergent.. As we know, the
remaining sugar canes will be placed at the back of the store, vertically standing and as sugar canes are very porous, they tend to absorb whatever liquid around them. Besides the soapy water, the dirt on hawkers’ boots, cats’ urine, etc, will all be absorbed?? Now, whenever I eat at a hawker centre, I would warn all my friends about this and of course I stopped drinking my favorite sugar cane juice.
A friend, who loved sugar cane juice, was pregnant. She was always drinking sugar cane juice. Anyway, one day she miscarried and the fetus was already like 6 or 7 months old,
I think. When the doctors did an autopsy to find out why all of a sudden the fetus had died inside her, they found traces of some chemical substance, which was found in cat urine… Large traces of it.
While it would not be able to harm adults, it was extremely toxic to babies, what more a fetus? So they tried to determine how this cat urine thing could have ended up in
the fetus. This meant that it had to be digested by the mother, right? And the only logical conclusion they could come up with was that since these sugar cane juice stall holders just leave the canes lying around on the wet and dirty floor, it would not be impossible to think that stray cats could have peed on those sugar canes or near those sugar canes. So think carefully the next time you order that favorite sugar cane juice!