Plastic chemicals can increase the risk of premature death


MA recent study found a disturbing link between phthalate exposure and premature mortality in American adults, and especially deaths due to heart disease. The study, conducted on more than 5,300 people (aged 55-64) with sustained exposure to high molecular weight phthalates common in plastics for flooring, food packaging and pipes, showed a 14% higher risk of mortality compared to the rest of the population.

“Our findings reveal that increased exposure to phthalates is associated with early death, especially due to heart disease,” said Leonardo Trasend, one of the researchers. “Until now we have understood that chemicals bind to heart disease, and heart disease on their part is a leading cause of death, but we have not yet linked the chemicals themselves to death. There is no clear evidence that limiting exposure to toxic phthalates can help maintain our physical and financial well-being.”

Phthalates They are chemicals developed in the last century for use in the plastics and skincare industry. You can find them in countless products that we encounter all the time like plastic packaging, cosmetics, cleaning products and toys for children. In Israel, there is a standard that restricts the use of phthalates in toys and defines the maximum concentration allowed in food packaging.

In studies done so far on laboratory animals, it has been found that exposure to phthalates affects the reproductive system. Many phthalates are also known as hormonal disruptors, and the most sensitive populations to phthalates are pregnant women, infants and children under 3 years of age. Article Published last year conducted a comparison between different factors to test who is more exposed during day-to-day to phthalates with a high risk of damage, the study found that Babies who learn about the world through touching and inserting many objects into their mouths are at high risk.

It is important to pay attention to the games that go into the baby’s mouth | צילום:
Photo by MHIN, Shutterstock

Ways to avoid increased exposure to phthalates

Because phthalates are found in such a wide variety of products, it is almost impossible to avoid them completely. But there are some steps we can all take to reduce personal exposure, at least until comprehensive and binding guidelines are formulated.

Less processed food

Food is the leading source of exposure to phthalates, especially in fatty foods with an increased propensity for chemicals. High concentrations of phthalates have been found in dairy products, meats, fish, oils and fats, pastries, baby formulas, processed foods and fast foods.

In addition, processed food is exposed to plastic at almost every stage in the supply chain, from the PVC pipe used for the processing process to the gloves of food service workers.

Less takeaway

Research Find that ordering food at home increases exposure to phthalates. According to the data, People who reported consuming more food from restaurants, fast food, and cafeteria meals had nearly 35 percent higher phthalate levels than people who reported eating food purchased primarily at the grocery store, due to the fact that fast food often calls for plastic packaging and exposure to many substances along the way. In addition, the association between phthalate exposure and outdoor eating was significant for all age groups but the association size was highest among adolescents.

Proper use of the kitchen

Avoid storing in plastic boxes as much as possible. Glass, stainless steel, ceramic or wood utensils can be used to hold and store food.

It is recommended to heat food in the microwave only with products marked as safe for the microwave and preferably not in plastic packaging. It is also recommended not to heat food in plastic containers intended for food storage such as containers of margarine, yogurt and ice cream, or in away-from-restaurant packaging.

Super-Pharm (Photo: Eyal Toug)
Today there is a wide range of natural care products | Photo: Eyal Toug

beauty products

Phthalates are also found in many skin care products, and the chemicals cause odors to stick to the body for longer. When purchasing cosmetics it is advisable to read the product labels on which the product composition is detailed. It is best to avoid products that contain: DBP in skin care products and DEHP in plastic.

In addition, it is best to avoid soaps, shampoos, creams or perfumes that contain synthetic fragrances. There are also quite a few companies that sell personal care products that are marketed as “phthalate-free”, look for them on the shelves.

By Editor

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