In an article published July 17, 2013 in the magazine Women’s Health, news editor Robin Hilmantel points to food containers as an important source of phthalates and advises women wanting to be pregnant to avoid this exposure. In a study presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, scientists linked increased urinary phthalate levels with increased odds of implantation failure following IVF. The researchers sampled the blood of women receiving in vitro fertilization and measured urinary phthalates in all subjects. This points to the ubiquity of phthalates in the environment.
Irene Souter, MD at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and co-author of the study, states in the article that minimizing exposure would be preferable. However, this is very difficult as phthalates are present in a wide variety of products. Based on an advice by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Sciences (NIES), news editor Hilmantel suggests avoiding vinyl food contact plastics with the recycling number 3 and the heating or re-heating food in plastic containers of unknown identity.