Chemicals banned from babies’ teething toys are present in macaroni and cheese products, according to a new study.
The study was published by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging, a group of consumers, doctors, scientists, and health advocates. According to The New York Times reports, the group tested 30 cheese products, and found phthalates — which have been linked to genital birth defects in baby boys and behaviour problems in older kids — in 29 of them, including shredded cheese and string cheese.
The highest concentrations of phthalates were found in boxed mac and cheese — the kind that comes with powdered cheese mix. This includes brands that are advertised as organic.
The concentration of the chemicals in those products was four times higher than in other cheese products, Mike Belliveau, one of the researchers and the executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, told the Times.
“Our belief is that it’s in every mac ‘n’ cheese product — you can’t shop your way out of the problem,” Belliveau said.
The study was funded by four advocacy groups, including the Environmental Health Strategy Center, the Ecology Center, Healthy Babies Bright Futures, and Safer States.
Phthalates have not been banned from foods in the US. But as the Times points out, in 2014 the Consumer Product Safety Commission asked federal agencies to consider the chemicals’ risks “with a view to supporting risk management steps.”
Read more about the study at The New York Times.