Most of us are aware of the health risks associated with pesticides, fake air fresheners, and parabens, but research is showing a chemical that’s found in even the healthy stuff may be sabotaging our waistlines. After doing my best to buy natural, and organic everything, am I the only one who feels like they can’t win?
Phthalates pronounced f-thalates are present in plastic products including kids toys, medical supplies, and food containers, but have also made their way into beauty products, the water supply, and even organic foods. Love that new car smell? Yup, you’re inhaling phthalates.
Phthalates act as potential carcinogens, and endocrine disrupters that increase insulin resistance, and may raise the risk of obesity. In a journal article by the US National Library of Medicine, a study found elderly persons were at higher risk of developing insulin resistance after exposure to the chemical. In the study, the group exposed to phthalates experienced oxidative stress, and increased insulin resistance particularly in women, and those with diabetes. Why are women more susceptible? Think of all the products we use like body wash, and cosmetics that are dispensed out of… plastic.
Obviously we can’t escape the world around us, but there are a few tips to reduce your exposure to this noxious chemical. Number one? Ditch the plastic whenever possible. Foods that are typically sold in plastics like milk, or meats are risky even when choosing organic. Source dairy products in glass bottles, and ask your butcher to wrap meats in paper instead. A good quality filtration system is also helpful to filter out phthalates present in water pipes.
Read product labels, and choose those that are listed phthalate free. This includes hair products, and anything you’re putting on your skin. The Environmental Working Group has an extensive list of chemical free brands from sunscreen to detergent helping take the guesswork out of trying to identify ingredients. Visit http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
If you’re still microwaving plastic, stop what you’re doing. Replace plastic food storage containers with BPA and phthalate free plastic, or better yet choose glass. If you buy foods stored in plastic bags or bottles transfer them to glass containers when you bring them home. Mason jars are the new Tupperware, and are fantastic for storing everything from milk to pasta.