Plastic to cosmetics: Commonly used chemical linked to 100,000 US deaths per year, says study
For decades, it has been recognised that the chemicals, which may be found in hundreds of goods like toys, clothes, and shampoo, are "hormone disruptors," altering a person's endocrine system.
According to research released Tuesday by New York University, daily exposure to phthalates, a class of chemicals found in everything from plastic containers to cosmetics, may cause 100,000 deaths in older Americans each year. For decades, it has been recognised that the chemicals, which may be found in hundreds of goods like toys, clothes, and shampoo, are "hormone disruptors," altering a person's endocrine system.
According to the study published in the journal Environmental Pollution, the poisons may enter the body through such products and are connected to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The study, conducted by New York University's Grossman School of Medicine and including 5,000 individuals aged 55 to 64, found that those with greater phthalate concentrations in their urine were more likely to die of heart disease. Higher concentrations, on the other hand, did not appear to enhance the chance of cancer mortality.
"Our data show that higher phthalate exposure is associated with premature death, notably from cardiac disease," the main author Leonardo Trasande stated.
Trasande added that until now, they've known that the chemicals are linked to heart disease, and heart disease is a primary cause of mortality, but we hadn't yet linked the chemicals themselves to death.
Trasande noted that the study did not prove a direct cause and effect link between phthalate exposure and death, partly because the exact biological mechanisms behind that association are unknown.
"Our research indicates that the toll of this chemical on society is considerably higher than we initially anticipated," Trasande said, adding that "it is indisputably apparent that reducing exposure to toxic phthalates may help preserve Americans' health and financial well-being."
Other studies have already connected phthalates to almost 10,000 fatalities each year in adult males due to low testosterone levels.
The study estimates that the economic loss caused by phthalates is between $40 billion and $47 billion, which is more than four times what was previously projected.