(This article originally appeared on Healthfooddaily.)
A study of ten families found that the ones who ate organic, catered meals had higher levels of chemicals in their bodies. It wasn’t because the food they were eating is organic, the high levels of phthalates were traced to imported coriander, and bottled dairy milk. Dairy products can be high in phthalates regardless of whether or not they are organic, so it wasn’t the organic aspect that was the problem.
DEHP was also found in the coriander in high levels. The FDA has said this about DEHP, ‘Exposure to DEHP has produced a range of adverse effects in laboratory animals, but of greatest concern are effects on the development of the male reproductive system and production of normal sperm in young animals. We have not received reports of these adverse events in humans, but there have been no studies to rule them out. However, in view of the available animal data, precautions should be taken to limit the exposure of the developing male to DEHP.’ (Source: FDA.gov)
A research study indicated prenatal exposure to it could cause reduced penis size in male babies. ‘The researchers found significant associations between higher levels of one or more DEHP metabolites in the pregnant mothers and shorter AGD, smaller penile width, and incomplete descent of the testes in their sons.’ (Source: Environmental Science and Technology)
In other words, children are more susceptible to potential damage from exposure to DEHP. Exposure can also come from medical supplies made of plastic, like intravenous tubing and bags. It is also in hydraulic fluid and glowsticks. Very high levels of DEHP are found in some creams and cheeses.
One issue with spices if they are imported from other countries, is that we don’t know where they were grown and made exactly and under what conditions. It might be better to buy spices where the quality control is of a certain standard and it is disclosed. Coriander is the seeds of Cilantro plants, but you can grow your own cilantro organically and collect the seeds to have your own coriander. If you bought organic cilantro seeds and grow your own plants without using pesticides or other noxious chemicals, you will have organic cilantro, and presumably not DEHP in your coriander seeds.
It would be something of a travesty to spend more on organic food to avoid chemical exposure, only to flavor it with spices with high levels of those chemicals.
Image Credit: Thamizhpparithi Maari, Wiki Commons