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Common Chemicals Linked to Chronic Disease in Men

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Chemicals found in everyday plastics have been linked to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure in men.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute investigated the independent association between chronic diseases among 1500 men and concentrations of phthalates, which are widely used in common consumer products such as food packaging and wrappings, toys, medications and even medical devices.

The study, published in Environmental Research, detected phthalates in the urine samples of 99.6% of those aged 35 and over. “We found that the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure increased among those men with higher total phthalate levels,” says senior author A/Prof Zumin Shi.

“While we still don’t understand the exact reasons why phthalates are independently linked to disease, we do know the chemicals impact on the human endocrine system, which controls hormone release that regulates the body’s growth, metabolism, and sexual development and function. In addition to chronic diseases, higher phthalate levels were associated with increased levels of a range of inflammatory biomarkers in the body,” he says.

Age and western diets are directly associated with higher concentrations of phthalates. Previous studies have shown that men...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.