False start: Popular morning show gets it wrong on phthalates and plastics

Morning shows can be a helpful way to get our morning news and start the day – when they are accurate. But, sometimes, those seemingly harmless morning wake up shows leave you saying, “Huh?!?”

Like today… A couple of network morning shows aired segments about new studies that reported to observe a correlation between exposure to two phthalates and high blood pressure or insulin resistance. Definitely a “Huh?!?” moment not only for consumers, but also for scientists who know better.

Why? Let’s start with the fact that phthalates are among the most thoroughly studied chemistries in use today. Contrary to the study’s characterization, DINP and DIDP are not new substitutes. They have been studied for more than 50 years. Regulators and health agencies have reviewed them and have found them safe for all current consumer uses. And consumers have come to rely on them since they are used in a variety of products to make them more durable and more pliant. Furthermore, the studies fail to show that exposure to phthalates causes any particular effect, and the purported statistical correlation wasn’t even particularly strong.

But setting aside the underlying issues with the new study’s conclusions, the author seems to go off the deep end when he connects his study and microwaving plastic. Perhaps an attempt to create an alluring click-bait headline? Unfortunately, the gang at CBS This Morning, including the show’s own version of “Dr. Doom,” took the bait – hook, line and sinker.

Related: CBS Majorly Bobbles ‘Plastics in Microwave’ Story 

First, the Doc brought along some food container props and said all of them are “coated” with phthalates. NOT TRUE. In fact, phthalates aren’t even used in plastic food containers or food wraps. So, there is no exposure to the chemicals in the study from food containers, whether microwaved, put in the dishwasher or not.

But even if they were, the FDA reviews and approves as safe any material that is meant to come into contact with food – like plastic food containers and food wraps. This being the second thing their Doc got wrong. He stated that the FDA and other regulatory agencies only looks at these products when there is a problem. NOT TRUE. They cannot be sold or used until the FDA gives them the green light.

Related: Myth or Fact? Your Questions Answered about Food Containers and Phthalates

There were several other misstatements, but these two mistakes are MAJOR and they mean that all the CBS viewers have BAD INFORMATION that does them no good.

So, while morning shows are great for their summer concerts, their compilations of funny cat videos and trending styles, it’s important that viewers think twice about what they hear on more complex matters of health and science.

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