new study found high concentrations of potentially dangerous chemicals known as phthalates in the macaroni and cheese powder. In the small study, researchers analyzed 30 different cheese products for phthalates, a group of plastics used to make plastics more flexible a harder to break. The analysis done by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging – the group behind KleanUpKraft.org and a consortium of environmental health advocacy groups – revealed phthalate levels were more than four times higher in macaroni and cheese powder. It found evidence of the chemical in 29 of the 30 products tested. The analysis also showed that natural cheeses had the lowest levels of the chemical, while processed cheese products had the highest levels. Phthalates can be found in a host of home and personal care products such as soaps, hair sprays, nail polishes, raincoats, detergents and flooring. The chemicals aren’t meant to be in food or find their way into human bodies, but they make their way in through the manufacturing process, body washes, cosmetics and other personal care products. Some phthalates have been banned from children’s toys and products. These chemicals are believed to pose a serious threat to the health of pregnant women and children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says human health effects from exposure to low levels of the chemicals are unknown, although some phthalates have altered lab animals’ reproductive systems. It says more research is needed to assess how phthalates impacts human health.

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