December 29, 2011
By Anthony Gucciardi
“More proof that going as natural as possible is extremely important to your health.” –KTRN
Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalate metabolites, usually associated with plastic products and canned goods, have been found to harden your vital arteries. Research linked the two chemicals to a disorder known as atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries through the buildup of unwanted hard structures known as plaques. Over long periods of time, the plaque buildup stiffens the arteries and negatively impacts your blood flow.
While shocking, the research is not the first of its kind to link BPA exposure to thickened artery walls. Bisphenol A has been previously linked to coronary heart disease in more than one instance, with one team finding that those with the highest levels of BPA in urine tests were more than twice as likely to suffer from coronary heart disease than those with the lowest concentrations. In the second instance, scientists evaluated the data from 1,455 United States adults tested between 2003 and 2004. What they found was an association between increased BPA levels and not only your likelihood of heart disease, but also diabetes and abnormal liver function.
November 15th, 2010
By: David Gutierrez
The average mattress is a cocktail of toxic substances, warns Barry Cik of Naturepedic, in an article published on www.GreenBiz.com.
“My rude awakening came when my wife sent me to buy a crib mattress for our first grandchild,” Cik writes. “I was appalled by what I found; the crib mattresses were full of industrial chemicals. Because of my environmental engineering background, I knew how harmful these chemicals could be to a developing child.”
Cik describes how one bad manufacturing decision leads to another to produce a toxic nightmare. For example, most mattresses are covered with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to keep water out. Because PVC is naturally hard, however, it is combined with phthalates to make it softer.
“One short-sighted decision leads to another and, before you know it, you’ve got a very unhealthy baby mattress,” Cik writes.
Phthalates, however, are estrogen mimics that have been linked to asthma, cancer and reproductive disorders. They have been proven to leach from mattresses and into the surrounding environment.
“Phthalates … aren’t quite identical to the natural hormone molecules in men’s or women’s bodies, but they come close enough that they occupy the same receptors on estrogen-sensitive tissues and exert their own unique effects on human health,” writes David Steinman in his book Safe Trip to Eden.
Cik draws attention to the fact that the safety of most chemicals used in mattresses — or any other consumer product — is simply unknown, because the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 considers all new chemicals safe until proven otherwise, and does not require companies to do any testing of their products. This means that companies such as Naturepedic, which markets non-toxic mattresses, are forced to pay to individually test nearly any component they want to include in a product. This drives up the prices of their products, making a healthy mattress a luxury only the wealthy can afford.
“Our … challenge is to turn frustrated consumers into vocal citizens who will support Congress in making non-toxic the norm, not a market niche,” Cik concludes.
October 19th, 2010
By: Ethan A. Huff
Much of the concern surrounding plastic products these days is centered around bisphenol-A (BPA), a plastics chemical that numerous studies have found disrupts proper hormonal function and interferes with proper sexual development, among other things. But phthalates, another type of plastics chemical, are also highly dangerous, and are found in all sorts of consumer products that contain plastic and rubber components.
A recent study conducted by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) found that all sorts of products — including pencils, toys, shoes, erasers, shower curtains, vinyl flooring, paint, electric cables, snack bags, and clothing — contain phthalates. According to a recent Reuters report, there are roughly 25 different phthalates used in various products, and while their purpose is to make plastics more flexible, their effects on health are devastating.
Phthalates are literally everywhere, from the plastics in cars to food packaging, and everything in between. And like BPA, phthalates are linked to sexual dysfunction, particularly male infertility. According to scientists and many governments, global sperm counts have decreased by roughly 50 percent over the past 50 years as a result of phthalates. Some phthalates have been shown to directly inhibit the production of testosterone in developing fetal rats.
“[Phthalates] are endocrine disrupting and medical literature suggests they may be linked to some reproductive defects in the male fetus,” says Allison Tannis in her book Probiotic Rescue: How You Can Use Probiotics to Fight Cholesterol, Cancer, Superbugs, Digestive Complaints and More. “Phthalates are gaining attention as a possible cancer-causing chemical that should be avoided.”
The European Union (EU) banned phthalates from children’s toys back in 1999, but there are many products children use that fall outside the regulations. In the U.S., phthalates are widely used, but some manufacturers have voluntarily dropped phthalates from their products.
April 7, 2010
By Alastair Jamieson
Researchers investigating the use of phenols, phthalates and phytoestrogens, used in packaging as well as perfumes, lotions and shampoos, has found evidence they can cause harm by interfering with the body’s hormones.
A study of the effects of the three compounds on 1,151 pre-pubescent girls in the US found they caused a variety of problems in puberty.
Dr Mary Wolff, an oncologist at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, said: “Research has shown that early pubertal development in girls can have adverse social and medical effects, including cancer and diabetes later in life.
“Our research shows a connection between chemicals that girls are exposed to on a daily basis and either delayed or early development. While more research is needed, these data are an important first step in continuing to evaluate the impact of these common environmental agents in putting girls at risk.”
The chemicals increase durability in nail polishes and add fragrance to perfumes, lotions, and shampoos. Some are also used to increase the flexibility of plastics such as PVC, and as coatings on medications and nutritional supplements.
Phthalates are banned in cosmetics in Europe but are allowed in the United States.
The girls were aged between six and eight when they were recruited and seven to nine when their urine samples were analyzed for phenols, phthalates and phytoestrogens.
The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found all three chemicals were widely detectable and high exposure to certain ones were associated with early breast development. The strongest links were seen with phthalates and phytoestrogens, which were also among the most common.
One phenol, two phytoestrogens, and a subset of phthalates found in building products and plastic tubing were associated with later puberty. But the phthalates found in personal products such as lotion and shampoo, especially those with fragrance, were related to earlier breast and pubic hair development.
However, the overall association between the chemicals and the outcome of the girls in the research was weak.
Dr Wolff said: “We believe there are certain periods of vulnerability in the development of the mammary gland, and exposure to these chemicals may influence breast cancer risk in adulthood. Dietary habits may also have an impact. Further study is needed to determine how strong the link is.”
Consistent with previous studies, the researchers also found that BMI (body mass index) played a role in the onset of puberty. About a third of the girls were considered overweight, which is also an indicator of early breast development.
As a result, some of the chemical associations differed in more or less obese girls. Researchers are continuing to study the impact of diet on pubertal development and eventual breast cancer risk.
Dr Wolff added: “Exposure to these chemicals is extremely common. As such, while the association between chemicals and pubertal development seems small, the impact on the overall population is significant.”
March 15, 2010
By David Gutierrez
The government of Denmark has released a 326-page report affirming that endocrine disrupting chemicals are probably continuing to the birth of fewer males and the “feminization” of existing ones.
The report centers on chemicals like PVC, flame retardants, phthalates, dioxins, PCBs and bisphenol-A, all of which mimic the action of estrogen in the body. The researchers concluded that due to the prevalence of these chemicals, children could easily be exposed to high enough levels to place them at “critical risk” of harm.
The chemicals have been blamed for falling sperm counts among men worldwide, and their full effects remain unknown. A study by researchers at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands, found that male children who had been exposed to PCBs and dioxins while in the womb were more likely to dress up in female clothes and play with dolls than boys who had not been. Other research has documented a connection between prenatal phthalate exposure and “feminization” of male genitals, including smaller penises.
Evidence is increasingly emerging that estrogen mimics might also be responsible for a puzzling phenomenon: fewer boys are being born than ever before. Typically, 106 male children are born for every 100 females in most populations. In recent years, however, this distribution has been shifting in favor of females, with endocrine disruptors a likely culprit.
For example, a Canadian Inuit community living on Lake Huron and surrounded by chemical factories produces two girls for every boy born. Similar phenomena have been observed in contaminated communities in Brazil, Israel, Italy, Taiwan and the Arctic Circle, as well as among workers in Russian pesticide factories.
Many hormone-mimicking chemicals build up in the body and resist environmental degradation, meaning that they are now widely distributed across the planet.
“There is very little, if anything, individuals can do to prevent contamination of themselves and their families,” the environmental group WWF said.
November 17, 2009
By Mike Adams
(NaturalNews) In a bombshell finding that has far-reaching implications for society and culture, scientists at the University of Rochester have found that phthalates — the chemical found in many vinyl and plastic products — tends to “feminize” boys, altering their brains to express more feminine characteristics. The study has been published in the Journal of Andrology.
Phthalates are found in vinyl products (including vinyl flooring), PVC shower curtains, plastic furniture and even in the plastic coating of the insides of dishwashing machines.
The feminization process happens during pregnancy when phthalate exposure causes hormone disruptions in the unborn baby. This chemical feminizes males by disrupting the action of the hormone testosterone.
In this recent study, researchers found a strong correlation between the types of toys that male children play with and the level of phthalates found in their mothers when they were pregnant. Researchers discovered that boys exposed to high levels of phthalates in the womb tend to avoid playing with cars, trains or toy guns. They also avoided rough play, instead preferring more feminine toys and activities. (Barbie?)
Phthalates used in pharmaceutical coatings
What very few people know about phthalates is that they are used in the coatings of pharmaceuticals to create “enteric” coatings. This means that many people taking certain pharmaceuticals are unknowingly eating phthalates. If expectant mothers take such pharmaceuticals during pregnancy, they may then feminize their unborn male babies.
How do we know phthalates are used in pharmaceuticals? This Google Books link (http://books.google.com/books?id=e7) shows a page from the Handbook of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Formulations: Over-the-counter products. In it, a recipe is given for manufacturing a clear enteric coating. The ingredients are:
Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose Phthalate
This combination of highly toxic chemicals is cooked, stirred and then used to coat pharmaceutical pills that people actually swallow!
November 16, 2009
By Julie Deardorff
Preschool boys exposed in utero to high levels of certain chemicals called phthalates may be less likely to play with male-typical toys and games, such as trucks and play fighting, according to a small pilot studypublished in the International Journal of Andrology. Girls’ play behavior was not associated with phthalate levels in their mothers, the study found.
The two phthalates that were linked to boys’ play behavior, diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), are the phthalates of most concern to scientists because they have been shown to lower testosterone in humans and animals.
Because testosterone produces the masculine brain, researchers are concerned that fetal exposure to anti-androgens such as phthalates has the potential to alter masculine brain development, said lead author and phthalate expert Dr. Shanna Swan, director of the University of Rochester Medical Center for Reproductive Epidemiology.
Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastics. They’re primarily used in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and found in vinyl and plastic tubing and personal care products such as soaps and lotions. But studies have shown a major source of human exposure to DEHP and DBP is through food and the way it’s processed, packaged, stored or heated.
A federal law passed in 2008 banned six phthalates from use in toys such as teethers, play bath items, soft books, dolls and plastic figures. Research increasingly associates them with genital defects, metabolic abnormalities and reduced testosterone in babies and adults.
In the study of 145 preschoolers, the mothers’ urine was previously collected and analyzed for phthalate metabolites around the 28th week of pregnancy by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Play behavior was measured using the Pre-School Activities Inventory (PSAI), which is designed to measure differences in play behavior within and between the sexes.
In the past, it has been shown to reflect the endocrine-disrupting properties of other toxins, such as PCBs and dioxins, according to a press release by the University of Rochester. The PSAI addressed three aspects of play: types of toys children choose (trucks versus dolls), activities (rough-and-tumble play, for example), and child characteristics.
The researchers controlled for a number of variables, including parental age, education and their attitudes towards children’s play.
”In particular, we asked whether the mother would discourage a boy from playing with “girl-typical” toys (and conversely),” Swan said. “It is possible, however, that other uncontrolled factors could influence how the mother completed the questionnaire, but these are unlikely to be related to the mother’s phthalate exposure.”
The American Chemistry Council, which is currently promoting its “Plastics Makes it Possible” campaign, criticized the study design. The group e-mailed a statement charging that Swan used “unproven methods to compile questionable data” in order to reach her own conclusions. The study “is not based on the weight of the scientific evidence surrounding the safety of phthalates,” said Steve Risotto, senior director, phthalate esters, American Chemistry Council.
Risotto also said that “the researchers biased the results by using mothers from their previous study. These mothers may have had much higher levels of concern about their young boys’ behavior, because Dr. Swan has repeatedly declared that phthalate exposure is reason for alarm.”
But the mothers weren’t told that phthalaltes were the subject of the study. And “since none of the mothers knew their own phthalate levels, there is no way that their participation in the earlier study coould bias these results,” Swan said. Also, “the researchers at the CDC, where phthalate metabolite levels were determined, had no knowledge of any subject data, including the results of the PSAI.”
Earlier studies by Swan and others have shown that phthalate exposure during pregnancy might affect the development of genitals of both male rodents and baby boys. Scientists refer to this cluster of genital alterations as the “phthalate syndrome,” and research suggests that in rodent pups, the syndrome can have adverse consequences for later sexual development.
If endocrine disrupters such as phthalates can impair genital development and hormone levels in the body, the play-behavior study noted, then a deeper examination of how these chemicals impact the brain is warranted, the researchers said.