A newly release study found that a chemical found in popular consumer products may cause the premature deaths of an estimated 91,000 to 107,000 people aged 55-64 each year in the US.
Phthalates –– a group of synthetic chemicals –– can be found in hundreds of consumer goods like food storage containers, shampoo, perfumes, children’s toys, perfumes, and much more. The study, published Tuesday (October 12) in Environmental Pollution, showed the people with the highest levels of the chemicals were at greater risk of dying from any cause, especially cardiovascular mortality.
“This study adds to the growing data base on the impact of plastics on the human body and bolsters public health and business cases for reducing or eliminating the use of plastics,” Dr. Leonardo Trasande, the study’s lead author said. The study measure the urine concentration of the chemicals of 5,000 adults between 55 and 64 and compared the risk of early death over an average of 10 years.
“However, I’m never going to tell you this is a definitive study,” Trasande told CNN. “It is a snapshot in time and can only show an association.”
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, phthalates are known to interfere with the human body’s hormone production system, known as the endocrine system and have been “linked with developmental, reproductive, brain, immune, and other problems.”
Phthalates are sometimes called “everywhere chemicals” because they can be found in so many different items from vinyl flooring to medical tubing, soap, hair spray, clothing, furniture, and automotive plastics and have been also been attributed to a host of issues including childhood obesity, asthma, cancer, and cardiovascular issues, according to a report by CNN.
“These chemicals have a rap sheet,” Trasande, who also leads NYU’s Center for the Investigation of Environmental Hazards, told the news organization. “And the fact of the matter is that when you look at the entire body of evidence, it provides a haunting pattern of concern.”
The American Chemistry Council, which represents the US plastics, chlorine, and chemical industry told CNN that the study is “inaccurate” because it puts all phthalates together without noting the lesser toxicity of certain phthalates.