Phthalates: Linked to Chronic Diseases in Men
According to a recent Australian study, phthalates – a group of chemicals commonly used in food packaging, toys and medical devices – is linked to increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure in men. This study is published in the international journal Environmental Research.
Where are phthalates found?
Phthalates are used in a wide range of products, including:
- polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, which is used in various household products such as shower curtains
- medical plastics, such as PVC IV bags and tubes
- children’s toys and supplies
- cosmetics, such as nail polish and perfumes
Phthalates can leach out of products that have them; therefore, you can be exposed to phthalates by using products that have them.
Phthalates can also leach out into food products. In fact, CCN recently reported on a published analysis that found high concentrations of phthalates in the cheese powder of macaroni and cheese (see link below).
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, the average Canadian is exposed to fairly low levels of phthalates. However, more research is needed to determine safe limits.
What can you do?
Use the following tips to help reduce your exposure to environmental phthalates where possible by:
Asking your healthcare team if it’s possible to use phthalate-free (non-PVC) tubing and IV bags during medical procedures.
Checking your children’s toys and supplies. Health Canada currently restricts the levels of phthalates allowed in children’s toys and products. If you are not sure if a product contains phthalates, contact the manufacturer.
Using glass storage containers, or plastic wrap, when possible. Some foods may have low levels of phthalates from the plastics used to prepare, package and store the food.
Checking your cosmetics and personal care products. In Canada, all cosmetic products should be labelled with their ingredients, including any phthalates.