A new study led by NYU researchers estimates phthalates may be associated with somewhere between 91,000 and 107,000 premature deaths in the U.S. among adults ages 55 to 64. Phthalates are used as plasticizers, i.e., substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. The study conducted showed that those with higher levels of phthalates were more likely to die prematurely from any cause, especially from heart problems. Somehow researchers have conducted more research into the matter and said the study does not establish a direct cause-and-effect association between phthalates and premature deaths.
Exposure to a synthetic group of chemicals called phthalates may contribute to about 100,000 premature deaths each year among older citizens. According to a new study, Phthalates are used to make plastics more flexible and are found in hundreds of products such as cosmetics, detergents, food packing, soaps, shampoos, and others. Such chemicals (phthalate) are known to interfere with the human body’s hormonal system. Disruptions of the endocrine system have been linked to “developmental, reproductive, brain, immune, and other problems,” was cited by the National Institute of Environment health service.
The study estimates the deaths could cost the country between $40 billion and $47 billion annually.
Researchers back in 2010 analyzed data and confirmed that more than 5,000 adults between the ages of 55 and 64 participated in a U.S. National Health and Nutrition Survey from 2001 to 2010 provided their urine samples so their phthalate levels could be measured. The analysis also involved those whose cause of death had been tracked through 2015.
“Until now, we have understood that the chemicals connect to heart disease, and heart disease, in turn, is a leading cause of death, but we had not yet tied the chemicals themselves to death,” Trasande said.
The chemicals are known to disrupt hormones, leading to a range of health problems. They’re commonly found in food storage containers, toiletries, and some children’s toys. The man-made chemicals are found in literary hundreds of products including food-storage containers, shampoo, makeup, perfume, and children’s toys.
For decades, scientists have known that phthalates can interfere with important hormone functions. Even the smallest hormonal disruptions can cause significant effects – including developmental and reproductive issues, as well as problems with the brain and immune system
Phthalates exposure has been explicitly linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart problems in several studies. The study calculated that between 91,000 to 107,000 American adults a year suffer premature deaths which are estimated to be $40 billion to $47 billion each year in lost economic productivity.
‘Everywhere chemicals’ can pose a risk if eaten or inhaled
Phthalates are typically added to products to make them longer-lasting. Various plastic tubing and some children’s toys might contain the chemicals so they’re harder to break, and toiletries and cosmetics commonly include phthalates to maintain fragrance.
The chemical class is so common that phthalates are nicknamed “everywhere chemicals.” The chemicals pose a threat if inhaled or ingested, so children are at higher risk of exposure as they tend to put their hands in their mouths.
- Use unscented lotions and laundry detergents.
- Use cleaning supplies without scents.
- Use glass, stainless steel, ceramic, or wood to hold and store foods.
- Buy fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead of canned and processed versions.
- Avoid air fresheners and all plastics labelled as No. 3, No. 6, and No. 7.
- Avoid microwaving and machine dishwashing plastics.