Posted on Mar 18, 2016, 6 a.m.
New-generation phthalates may pose as great a health risk as the original compounds, especially in children and teens.
Chemicals present in household cleaners, food packaging and personal care products, and utilized to soften plastics and vinyl, phthalates have recently been suggested to contribute to a range of health concerns – including asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues. Leonardo Trasandem from New York University School of Medicine (New York, USA), and colleagues report that di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) and di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP) – intended as ‘safer’ replacements to older-generation phthalates – may associate with a rise in risk of high blood pressure and diabetes in children and adolescents. The team reviewed blood samples of a diverse group of 356 children and adolescents ages 12 to 19, enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, assessing for phthalates and glucose based on their urinary levels of the substances. Blood and urine samples were collected once between 2008 and 2012, and the study volunteers' blood pressure was similarly measured. Diet, physical activity, gender, race/ethnicity, income, and other factors independently associated with insulin resistance and hypertension were also factored into the analysis. The researchers found that DINP and DIDP both associated with higher age-, sex- and height-standardized blood pressure. For each log unit increase in DIDP metabolites, the investigators observed a 0.105 standard deviation unit increase in systolic blood pressure z score; for DINP, a 0.113 standard deviation unit increment was identified. The study authors warn that: “Metabolites of low molecular weight phthalates commonly found in cosmetics and personal care products showed an association with blood pressure (≥90th percentile).”
Trasande L, Attina TM. “Association of Exposure to Di-2-Ethylhexylphthalate Replacements With Increased Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents.” Hypertension. 2015 Aug;66(2):301-8.