Eating out more toxic than cooking at home, study says



People who dine out had higher levels of toxic chemicals called phthalates than those who ate home-cooked meals, according to a new study.

Researchers at George Washington University and the University of California at Berkeley found people who eat more fast-food or food prepared at restaurants or cafeterias had phthalate levels almost 35 percent higher than those who said they mostly cooked and ate their own food. The researchers published their findings Thursday in the journal Environment International.

"This study suggests food prepared at home is less likely to contain high levels of phthalates, chemicals linked to fertility problems, pregnancy complications and other health issues," Dr. Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at George Washington, said in a press release. "Our findings suggest that dining out may be an important, and previously under-recognized source of exposure to phthalates for the U.S. population."

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