Your macaroni and cheese may contain toxic chemicals

It's no secret that kids can't get enough of their mac and cheese, but parents may want to think twice before serving up this comfort food.

A new study, paid for by four separate advocacy groups and conducted by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging, found America's favorite boxed meal contains the harmful chemical phthalates.

They studied 30 cheese products and found about four times the amount of the chemical in dry cheese packets than in natural cheese.

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Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastic. That's why their use was banned in baby products such as toys and teething rings about a decade ago.

However, foods packaged in plastic also carry the chemical.

Forbes reports phthalates are linked to genital birth defects in baby boys and learning problems in older children. They also pose a risk for pregnant women.

To avoid this harmful chemical, experts advise limiting packaged goods and instead opting for fruits, vegetables and low fat cheeses.

You'll also want to avoid heating up plastic containers with food inside.

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