March 02, 2013
High Phthalates In Some Common Spices?

In a University of Washington study people were fed catered organic foods which had no exposure to plastic containers in an attempt to reduce urinary pthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), which are endocrine system disruptors. Surprisingly, the special diet had an effect opposite of what was intended.

The urinary concentration for pthalates were 100-fold higher than the those levels found in the majority of the general population, The comparison comes from a study conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a program of studies managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The concentrations were also much higher for children as compared to the adults.

The dairy products, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper supplied high concentrations of phthalates. So avoid these foods?

Then, the researchers tested the phthalate concentrations in the food ingredients used in the dietary intervention. Dairy products—butter, cream, milk, and cheese—had concentrations above 440 nanograms/gram. Ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper had concentrations above 700 ng/g, and ground coriander had concentrations of 21,400 ng/g.

"We were extremely surprised to see these results. We expected the concentrations to decrease significantly for the kids and parents in the catered diet group. Chemical contamination of foods can lead to concentrations higher than deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency," said Sathyanarayana.

Readers, do you have any tips on how to cut exposure to endocrine disruptor chemicals?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2013 March 02 09:32 PM 

David Friedman said at March 2, 2013 11:00 PM:

It's worth noting that spices are consumed in much smaller quantities than butter, cream, milk and cheese, so those numbers actually imply that cinnamon and cayenne are much safer than diary products.

What about coriander? A tbsp of coriander, which is a lot, weights about 5g. So a tbsp of coriander has about as much phthalate as 250 g of butter, cream, milk or cheese--say about a cup. I conclude that most people will get considerably less exposure to phthalate from coriander than from diary products.

Bruce O'Neil said at March 6, 2013 8:17 AM:

They avoided the wrong plastic containers. Polypropylene for example is many times safer than polycarbonate which is the worst typical container for BPA trace. Perhaps they selected the wrong non-plastic containers and "organic" sources of spices.

Their organic sources could have processed the spices with methods that promote mixing in BPA and phthalates that are not used by non organic and perhaps much larger and higher throughput companies.

I buy organic turmeric from an internet company that arrives in a sealed blue polyethylene bag. The ink on paper label starts disappearing after a month unlike other spices in similar bags. In this case the plastic container is a polyolefin where only plastic processing aids like stearic acid are added - from what I have read. This is a very safe additive. The point is that some spices are probably extracting any extractables from any surfaces they contact and that this extraction capability and amount could be related also to mere "humidity" and residence time against the wrong plastic surfaces.

Randall Parker said at March 8, 2013 9:59 PM:

Bruce O'Neil,

You sound knowledgeable about this. Some questions if you are still there: I've got Rubbermaid plastic containers that have recycle #3. What are they most likely made of?

What I'd really like to know since I live in an earthquake zone: Is there a plastic container that is safe for long term water storage? I'd like to be able to put at least 20 gallons of water in unbreakable containers. After a severe earthquake central water could be knocked out for weeks. So how to prepare for that?

One could use glass bottles and package it in some sort of plastic bubble or foam to prevent the glass from breaking.

Randall Parker said at March 9, 2013 9:58 PM:

Bruce O'Neil,

Do you have any idea what kind of plastic is used by olive oil makers when they sell olive oil in big clear plastic bottles? I'm seeing #1 as the recycle type in one of them. I usually pay more for varieties that come in glass bottles.

SmartDogs said at March 10, 2013 7:49 PM:

I wonder if the fats in dairy products and volatile oils in spices might act as solvents that strip phthalates off and keep them in solution. Phthalates are only very sparingly soluble in water, but they dissolve readily in oils and even more so in volatile compounds. Were the constituents of the two diets the same other than one being organic and the other not? If they were, perhaps the other compounds - like pesticides and herbicides - took the place of phthalates as solutes in oils and volatile compounds. Interesting...

ann said at March 25, 2013 12:14 AM:

The global elites know exactly what is going on. They discussed putting endocrine disruptors in the food and water supply back in the 30's to control the population. It was discussed at global meetings and published in their books as well. Charles Galton Darwin spoke about adding endocrine disruptors and sterilizers to the food and water supply in his book,’ the next million years’. More recently, John P. Holdren, (America’s appointed science czar) mentioned adding chemicals to the food supply to sterilize the public in his 1977 book ‘Ecoscience’. It’s called depopulation folks, And you are all part of it. This is part of a well planned global culling. Sperm counts are down 75%. Go check it your self. By 2050 the population is supposed to plummet. The program has been very successful. Don’t believe me, check out your self. If the elite cared about BPA and phtalates, they would have been taken them out of the environment decades ago. They are not stupid at the top.

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