14 June 2024
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Potassium Dichromate Linked to Premature Births: A study released Wednesday revealed that one in ten premature births in the United States are linked to pregnant women’s exposure to chemicals found in widely used plastic products.

Phthalates and Premature Births: A Serious Connection



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A recent study revealed a startling connection between premature births and exposure to chemicals found in everyday plastic products. In the United States, an estimated 10% of premature births were linked to these chemicals, known as phthalates.

What are Phthalates?

Phthalates are a group of chemicals commonly used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic. They are found in a wide range of consumer products, including plastic containers, food packaging, toys, personal care products, and even some medical devices.

Health Effects of Phthalates

Phthalates have been identified as “hormone disruptors,” meaning they can interfere with the body’s endocrine system. They have been linked to various health problems, including obesity, heart disease, certain cancers, and fertility issues.

Premature Births and Phthalates

The study, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, analyzed the phthalate levels in the urine of over 5,000 pregnant women in the United States. Researchers found that women with higher levels of phthalates had a significantly increased risk of giving birth prematurely, before 37 weeks of gestation. This risk was particularly pronounced among women exposed to certain replacement phthalates, which are often used as alternatives to traditional phthalates.

Health and Economic Costs

Premature births can have severe and long-lasting consequences for both the baby and the family. Babies born prematurely are more likely to experience health problems, including respiratory issues, developmental delays, and lifelong disabilities. The study estimated that the medical and social costs associated with phthalate-related premature births in the United States could range from $1.6 to $8.1 billion annually.

Reducing Exposure to Phthalates

To reduce exposure to phthalates, consumers can take several steps:

– Avoid using plastic containers for food storage, especially when microwaving or dishwashing.

– Opt for glass, stainless steel, or ceramic containers for food and beverages.

– Choose personal care products that are phthalate-free.

– Avoid plastic toys and teethers for children.

– Support policies aimed at reducing the production and use of phthalates.

Conclusion

The study highlights the urgent need to address the widespread use of phthalates in plastic products and their potential impact on public health. By reducing exposure to these chemicals, we can help protect pregnant women and their unborn children from the risks associated with premature birth..

FAQ’s

1. What are phthalates?

Phthalates are a group of chemicals commonly used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic. They are found in a wide range of consumer products, including plastic containers, food packaging, toys, personal care products, and even some medical devices.

2. How are phthalates linked to premature births?

Studies have shown that exposure to phthalates during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birth, before 37 weeks of gestation. This risk is particularly pronounced among women exposed to certain replacement phthalates, which are often used as alternatives to traditional phthalates.

3. What are the health and economic costs associated with phthalate-related premature births?

Premature births can have severe and long-lasting consequences for both the baby and the family. The medical and social costs associated with phthalate-related premature births in the United States could range from $1.6 to $8.1 billion annually.

4. How can I reduce exposure to phthalates?

To reduce exposure to phthalates, consumers can take several steps, such as avoiding using plastic containers for food storage, opting for glass, stainless steel, or ceramic containers for food and beverages, choosing personal care products that are phthalate-free, avoiding plastic toys and teethers for children, and supporting policies aimed at reducing the production and use of phthalates.

5. What is being done to address the widespread use of phthalates?

There is a growing movement to address the widespread use of phthalates in plastic products and their potential impact on public health. Some countries have implemented regulations to restrict the use of certain phthalates in consumer products, and some manufacturers are voluntarily reducing or eliminating the use of phthalates in their products.

Links to additional Resources:

1. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/preterm-birth 2. https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pretermbirth.htm 3. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preterm/conditioninfo/Pages/default.aspx

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Phthalates, Premature birth, Hormone disruptors

Phthalates
Phthalates (US: , UK: ), or phthalate esters, are esters of phthalic acid. They are mainly used as plasticizers, i.e., substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. They are used primarily to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Note that while phthalates are usually plasticizers, not all...
Read more: Phthalates

Preterm birth
Preterm birth, also known as premature birth, is the birth of a baby at fewer than 37 weeks gestational age, as opposed to full-term delivery at approximately 40 weeks. Extreme preterm is less than 28 weeks, very early preterm birth is between 28 and 32 weeks, early preterm birth occurs...
Read more: Preterm birth

Endocrine disruptor
Endocrine disruptors, sometimes also referred to as hormonally active agents, endocrine disrupting chemicals, or endocrine disrupting compounds are chemicals that can interfere with endocrine (or hormonal) systems. These disruptions can cause numerous adverse human health outcomes including, alterations in sperm quality and fertility, abnormalities in sex organs, endometriosis, early puberty,...
Read more: Endocrine disruptor

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