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Phthalates

Packaging Chemical Linked to Childhood Obesity

Thursday, June 11, 2009 by: Louis Lazaris
Tags: phthalates, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Phthalates used in food packaging could be linked to childhood obesity, according to two recent studies conducted by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine that included research conducted on more than 900 children in East Harlem and surrounding communities. The studies have added to a growing body of evidence that link phthalates to health problems.

One of the studies, according to the Mount Sinai researchers, focused on 400 girls in the East Harlem community. The results showed that the heaviest girls had the highest levels of phthalates metabolites in their urine.

Another significant research project called Growing Up Healthy in East Harlem examined the diet and other factors for 520 East Harlem children aged 6-8 with the results indicating that the level of phthalates in the children tested was higher than the national average.

About 40 percent of children in East Harlem are considered to be overweight or obese. "When we say children, I'm talking about kindergarten children, we are talking about little kids," said Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, a professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai, one of the lead researchers on one of the East Harlem studies. "This is a problem that begins early in life."

Health concerns over phthalates have been debated for more than 10 years, as shown by a New York Times article from 1999 that describes opposing views on their use and mentions an FDA investigation into the matter. At that time, a major concern was the use of chemicals in children's toys.

Previous reports linking phthalates to health disruptions have shown that they are connected to abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, poor semen quality in men, and changes in reproductive organs in infant boys.

Phthalates can be found in personal care products like cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, lotions, paint and pesticides. They are also used to make plastics more pliable. Phthalates are absorbed into the body and are a type of endocrine disruptor - a category of chemical that affects glands and hormones that regulate various bodily functions.

The FDA continues conducting ongoing investigations into potential risks, but notes that while there have been studies on laboratory animals demonstrating carcinogenic effects of certain chemicals, "there are no studies in humans that are adequate to serve as the basis for regulatory decision-making."

Other packaging chemicals that have recently caused consumer concern include Biosphenol A (BPA) and perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). PFCs, which are found in grease-resistant packaging such as that used in microwaveable popcorn bags and pizza boxes, have been linked to infertility in women.

Sources:
http://www.nutraingredients.com/Publications...
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/17...
http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/28/health/a-d...

About the author

Louis Lazaris is a website designer and the owner of Natural-Life.ca, a directory that provides free business listings for natural health practitioners, organic food stores, organic farms, and organic & vegetarian restaurants in major North American cities like Toronto and New York City.

Louis also maintains a web design blog where he regularly posts articles and tutorials on web development.

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