Household Chemicals Raise Chronic Disease Risk
Researchers in Australia have discovered that chemicals commonly used in plastic consumer products are associated with an increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes in men. A study involving 1,500 men linked high levels of these harmful chemicals—called phthalates—to several chronic health problems.
Phthalates are chemicals that can be found in food packaging, toys, medications, and some medical devices. Among the men in the study, which was conducted at the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and published in Environmental Research, phthalates were detected in urine samples of 99.6 percent of men over age 35.
Earlier studies showed that men who eat less fresh fruit and vegetables and more processed foods and carbonated soft drinks have higher levels of phthalates. Age and Western diets are directly linked to higher concentrations of the chemicals, which affect the endocrine system and increase inflammatory biomarkers in the body.