Your Pizza Might Have a Side of Chemicals: The Hidden Health Risk in Your Favorite Slice

The American Chemical Council claims your testosterone levels are safe from harm. However, medical scientists are sounding the alarm on the potential danger of pollutants found in pizza, which may interfere with this crucial hormone and lead to various health risks. Synthetic chemicals referred to as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) are known as endocrine-disrupting compounds. They are associated with developmental abnormalities in the male reproductive system after prenatal exposure. Moreover, fetal exposure to BPA has been linked to hyperactivity, anxiety, and depression in girls.

Testosterone and your health

Testosterone is a hormone that plays a significant role in various essential bodily functions. It’s responsible for managing bone density, fat distribution, muscle strength, sex drive, sperm production, and red blood cell production. Accordingly, maintaining healthy testosterone levels is vital for overall health in both men and women, as lower levels can lead to issues such as insomnia, weight gain, depression, and even diabetes or heart disease.

The research

Researchers at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Research Institute conducted a study analyzing the BPA levels of families who tried limiting their exposure to toxins [1]. An examination of their diets revealed that one of the most significant sources of BPA was dairy products, such as pizza cheese. “Chemical contamination of foods can lead to concentrations higher than deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” notes researcher Sheela Sathyanarayana. Despite families’ best efforts, controlling exposure to these harmful chemicals can be very challenging. “We have very little control over what’s in our food, including contaminants.”

Although families can focus on buying fresh fruits and vegetables, non-canned foods, and low-fat products to minimize exposure, the researchers ultimately believe new federal regulations may be necessary to reduce exposure to these toxins.

Sources of BPA

In addition to dairy products, the researchers also discovered substantial levels of BPA in spices such as coriander. BPA is a chemical found in many common consumer products, including canned foods, plastic bottles, and even cash register receipts. It has been linked to serious health problems such as heart disease, male reproductive impairment, asthma, hyperactivity, and diabetes [2]. In contrast, an American Chemical Council spokesperson claims, “The exposure values reported are below the typical values for the U.S. population… The study results are very reassuring, and don’t raise any alarms for BPA.”

The takeaway

Moderating your intake of pizza may be a helpful step in reducing exposure to these harmful chemicals in your diet [3]. Furthermore, taking proactive steps to consume more whole foods and avoiding highly processed products can improve overall health. Several resources are available to help guide your choices, such as the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15” and “Dirty Dozen” lists, which detail produce with the lowest and highest pesticide exposures [4]. Ultimately, knowing what’s in your food can be instrumental in making healthier choices and mitigating your exposure to potentially harmful toxins.


[1] University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Research Institute Study on BPA Exposure
[2] National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences – “Bisphenol A (BPA)”
[3] Environmental Working Group – “Food Additives Linked to Hormone Disruption, ADHD, Weight Gain”
[4] Environmental Working Group – “EWG’s 2021 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce”