Phthalates, *cough* *itch* *wheeze*, Who Would Have Guessed

Phthalates are bad for you:

Bornehag, CG, J Sundrell, CJ Weschler, T Sigsgaard, Björn Lundgren, Mikael Hasselgren, Linda Hägerhed-Engman. 2004. The Association between Asthma and Allergic Symptoms in Children and Phthalates in House Dust: A Nested Case-Control Study, Environmental Health Perspectives, in press.

This study links exposure to phthalates found in household dust to rhinitis, eczema, and asthma in children.

Phthalates are industrial chemicals used widely in modern commerce. Over the last several decades, exposure to phthalates has become ubiquitous and virtually unavoidable. There are many types of phthalates, each with its own chemical and physical properties and toxicological characteristics.

This sounds like it may be a signficant finding. Eczema and asthma are rising very fast in developed countries (especially the UK), but no one is really clear as to why. This might explain it: phthalates are emissions from plastic bottles, plastic wrap, PVC, many cosmetics, vinyl tile, and many other ubiquitous modern creations.

And this is more than just a correlation — there's a biological mechanism suspected.

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2 Responses to Phthalates, *cough* *itch* *wheeze*, Who Would Have Guessed

  1. Brett Bellmore says:

    Actually, there IS a pretty well established linkage between asthma, and excessive cleanliness during childhood; Seems the immune system really does need something to do while you’re growing up, or it finds make-work.

  2. Barry Freed says:

    The asthma and eczcema correlations are interesting. (I don’t know what the hell rhinitis is though and I’m too tired to google it now, Ionesco’s disease?) I do recall some rather alarming studies a while back concerning phthalates. That they mimic hormones, specifically estrogen (the term “environmental estrogens” comes to mind.) My brother, who resides in your state, just had his second child. I’ve told him about the problems with phthalates before. I hate how all baby and kid’s stuff like bottles, plates, bowls, cups, mugs is plastic. I wonder if they are of the kinds of plastics which contain phthalates. Personally, I’ve always hated eating or drinking out of plastic and I’ve avoided such for as long as I can remember.
    I know that polyethelene is phthalate-free.

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