Everything you need to know about ‘chemicals everywhere’ related to 1 lakh of premature deaths in us | Business Top stories

Everything you need to know about ‘chemicals everywhere’ related to 1 lakh of premature deaths in us

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Daily exposure to synthetic chemicals called phthalates may have contributed to the premature death of 100,000 people between the ages of 55 and 64 in the US, a study revealed.

Often referred to as “chemicals everywhere,” this group of toxins can be found in children’s toys, clothing, furniture, and food storage containers, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Pollution on 12 October.

They are also used in consumer products such as PVC plumbing, garden hoses, rain and stain resistant products, vinyl flooring, and medical tubing.

Apart from this, phthalates are used in personal care items like shampoo, cosmetics, soap, and hairspray to make the fragrances last longer.

How do these toxins affect the human body?

Phthalates, known as “hormone disruptors,” interfere with the body’s mechanism and affect the endocrine system. The toxins are linked to immune, developmental, brain, reproductive and other problems, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The New York University Grossman School of Medicine study surveyed 5,000 adults ages 55 to 64. Research revealed that people who had higher amounts of phthalates in their urine were more likely to die from heart disease.

“Our findings reveal that increased exposure to phthalates is related to premature death, particularly due to heart disease,” lead study author Leonardo Trasande told AFP.

Until now, the chemicals had not been linked to death, although they were known to cause heart disease.

However, higher concentrations of phthalates did not increase the risk of death from cancer, according to the study.

“Our research suggests that the cost of this chemical in society is much higher than we think,” Trasande said.


In reaction to the study, Eileen Conneely, senior director of the American Chemistry Council, told CNN: “Much of the content of the latest Trasande et al study is demonstrably inaccurate.”

According to Conneely, the study put all phthalates into one group and failed to identify high molecular weight phthalates like DINP and DIDP, which the industry believes have lower toxicity than other phthalates. The American Chemistry Council represents the chemical, plastics, and chlorine industries in the US.

What can be done

You can reduce your exposure to phthalates by avoiding plastics. “Never put plastic containers in the microwave or dishwasher, where heat can break down the coatings so they can be more easily absorbed,” Trasande said, citing CNN.

Apart from this, people can use unscented lotions and laundry detergents, use glass, wood, ceramic and stainless steel to store food, refrain from buying canned and processed foods, wash their hands frequently, and avoid air fresheners.

(Edited by : Shoma bhattacharjee)

First published: IST



Everything you need to know about ‘chemicals everywhere’ related to 1 lakh of premature deaths in us

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