Uncork the bottle, swirl the wine and let it breath, then enjoy a sip of phthalate-infused goodness…oh, wait a minute!
Russia’s Rospotrebnadzor, a consumer rights watchdog group, recently banned three types of wines from the US, according to the Moscow Times.
What? You mean the wine wasn't made in China? 🙂
59% of Wines Tested Contained Toxic Phthalates
Turns out that Rospotrebnadzor found high levels of phthalates in the Chardonnay they tested, as well as high levels of phthalates + bifenazate pesticides in Merlot and Moscato.
As Rospotrebnadzor explains, phthalates are dangerous chemicals that you certainly wouldn't want to be inhaling in the fragrances all around you, let alone ingesting in your wine:
Phthalates are the first class of danger according to the sanitary and toxicological indicators, and can cause functional and other organic changes in the central and peripheral nervous system, as well as oncological illnesses, and fertility problems in both men and women.
How Do Phthalates End Up in Wine?
The researchers investigated the polymer-based items in winemaking facilities that might be responsible for the presence of phthalates in wine, like vats, pumps, hoses, gaskets and tanks. While several things showed significant phthalate concentrations, they concluded that the epoxy resin linings used inside vats represented the major source.
Vinyl Lining Often Used in Beer Cans and Wine Vats
Remember how PVC is considered the most toxic plastic on the planet? Well, vinyl organosol coatings incorporate PVC resins with a plasticizer (hello phthalates!) to aid in film formation. Organosols have all the durable properties found in vinyl coatings but with even better resistance, so you can see why they were often chosen (especially years ago, before we knew about the damage caused by many phthalates).
As we know from numerous studies, vinyl coatings – especially those made with softener chemicals like phthalates – easily migrate into our food (see figure below). This goes for commercial plastic wrap often used for cheese and meat too.
So the longer the wine sits in the vat, the more phthalate chemicals are able to leach into the wine.
How to Avoid Phthalates in Your Wine
Normally we would simply recommend going with a certified organic wine to avoid contamination, but I'm sad to say that it may not get the job done in this case. The reason is because steel drums and concrete vats used for fermenting just might be lined with that dang vinyl coating without anyone realizing it. Grrrr.
So the short of it is that you'll need to contact your favorite organic ventnor and ask if they ferment their wine in unlined wood and stainless steel barrels or concrete vats.
Have you already located phthalate-free wines? Please share!
Figure source: Migration from Food Contact Materials By L.L. Katan