An article published on July 4, 2017 in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research reported on the association between phthalate exposure and risks of several chronic diseases in Australian men. Phthalates are industrial chemicals widely used as plasticizers and solvents, and commonly found in food packaging and a variety of other consumer products.
Peter Bai from Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide, Australia, worked with urban-dwelling men enrolled in the Men Androgen Inflammation Lifestyle Environment and Stress (MAILES) study. From the 2,038 men enrolled in the study, 1,504 individuals provided a urine sample, and phthalates could be detected in 99.6% of these urinary samples. The researchers found a positive association between total phthalates and cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and increased levels of biomarkers indicative of chronic low-grade inflammation. On the contrary, no significant association was found between total phthalate concentration and asthma or depression.
According to an article published on July 12, 2017 in ScienceDaily, senior author Zumin Shi said that “although the studies were conducted in men, the findings are also likely to be relevant for women.” He further stated that “while further research is required, reducing environmental phthalates exposure where possible, along with the adoption of healthier lifestyles, may help to reduce the risk of chronic disease.”
ScienceDaily (July 12, 2017). “Everyday chemicals linked to chronic disease in men.”
Bai, P., et al. (2017). “The association between total phthalate concentration and non-communicable diseases and chronic inflammation in South Australian urban dwelling men.” Environmental Research 158:366-372.