BOSTON (CBS) – Dining out could be riskier to your health than you might think.

Researchers at George Washington University looked at data on more than 10,000 people and found that levels of certain chemicals called phthalates were 35% higher in those who regularly ate out at fast food places, cafeterias and restaurants.

burger2 e1522360666638 Dining Out Could Be Riskier Than You Think

People who tend to eat out more, are more likely to have a high phthalate count. (WBZ-TV)

Phthalates are found in many products including food packages like takeout boxes.

We don’t know all of the long-term effects of phthalate exposure but these chemicals can disrupt hormones and could possibly lead to fertility problems or pregnancy complications.

Pregnant women, children and teens are most susceptible to the effects. In fact, the researchers found teens who ate the most amount of food outside of the home had the highest levels of phthalates in their urine.

Bottom line? You can eat out from time to time but probably best to prepare meals at home whenever possible.

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