Sometimes reading the label isn't enough. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston found that samples of prepackaged foods and beverages contained industrial chemicals called phthalates. These are synthetic compounds used to make shampoo, soap, perfumes and other common household products. Phthalates have been linked to reproductive and endocrine damage, premature breast development in girls and premature birth.
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The amount of phthalates found in the food is below what the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe. However, this is not the first time researchers have found industrial chemicals in food. Other studies have revealed that certain foods are contaminated with bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used to make plastics and resins, as well as flame retardants hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and Polybrominated diphenyl ether.
The study is published in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives.