What we’re saving today by a quick fast-food run, we might lose to cancer down the road, a new study suggests. Fast-food is not the healthiest restaurant choice by any standard, but new research gives us a cancer-causing reason to trade it for something less risky, like eating at home, or a place where food is served and not processed and packaged in cancer-causing chemical containers.
Yes, fast-food can be a life-saver on those days when we have no time to eat. The problem is that we default to this time-and/or money-saving strategy more than we realize and our health is paying a deadly price. According to the CDC, more than 34% of U.S. kids between the ages of 2 and 19 eats fast food every day.
The study out of the University of Michigan School of Public Health reports:
Research showed that people who eat a lot of fast food had almost 40% higher amounts of these chemicals in their blood compared to people who rarely or never ate fast-food. And, people who got more than a third of their total calories from fast food had 24% more of one chemical, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), and 39% of a second one, diisononyl phthalate (DINP), than those who did not eat any fast food.
Are we doing the math here? This means that 34% of our children are now at a 25% – 39% higher risk for liver cancer and other conditions because of too much fast food. We can do something about this. Eat less fast-food.
These chemicals, phthalates, have been used for years to soften plastics in our cosmetics, and are used in cosmetics and personal care products, including perfume, hair spray, soap, shampoo, nail polish, and skin moisturizers. They are used in consumer products such as flexible plastic and vinyl toys, shower curtains, wallpaper, vinyl mini-blinds, food packaging, and plastic wrap. Phthalates are also used in wood finishes, detergents, adhesives, plastic plumbing pipes, lubricants, medical tubing and fluid bags, solvents, insecticides, medical devices, building materials, and vinyl flooring.
They are everywhere.
In its Thirteenth Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program, it says:
Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate is listed as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”
In 1999, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requested U.S. manufacturers to stop using phthalates in making pacifiers, soft rattles and teethers. This was great; we can make positive policy change, but, why did we stop there?
Apparently, not all of us are satisfied that this stuff is harmful. It’s harmful enough to keep it away from children; it causes liver cancer and fertility complications in research; the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that DEHP may reasonably be anticipated to be a human carcinogen; and the EPA has determined that DEHP is a probable human carcinogen. These determinations were based entirely on research results. However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has stated that DEHP cannot be classified as to its carcinogenicity to humans.
The EPA limits the amount of DEHP that may be present in drinking water to 6 parts of DEHP per billion parts of water (6 ppb). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets a maximum average of 5 milligrams of DEHP per cubic meter of air (5 mg/m3) in the workplace during an 8-hour shift. The short-term (15-minute) exposure limit is 10 mg/m3.
We aren’t sure how harmful this stuff is? So, this is saying, ‘yes’ it’s harmful, but it depends on how much exposure? Let’s go back to our study stats: ‘People who eat one-third of their daily food from fast food have 39% more of this dangerous stuff in them than those who don’t eat a lot of fast food.’
And, isn’t this the same mistake we made with lead? And, other once-brilliant discoveries that time, experience/use, and research have proved not so good, such as asbestos?
So, this one’s on us; ‘they’ won’t stop using this stuff, possibly for years, but ‘we’ can stop using this stuff today, by limiting our use of these things that have this bad stuff in them. Plus, eating at home is more fun. And, there is no ‘they.’ They is just us over there.
We are all doing our best and learning by trial and error; we learn as much from our failures as our successes.
News: The Mind Aware Show, hosted by author, speaker, and radio host, Dana Wilde, has invited me to be an expert guest and interviewed on the show! This will be a recorded podcast so updates will follow. Fitness is really fun!
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