Dear men, chemicals in everyday products puts you at risk of chronic disease

A recent study found a link between exposure to everyday chemicals and health problems in men, including cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Consumer products from food packaging and wrappings, toys, medications, and even medical devices may prove to health hazards.
Consumer products from food packaging and wrappings, toys, medications, and even medical devices may prove to health hazards. (iStock )

New Australian research has found a link between exposure to everyday chemicals and a range of health problems in men, including cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Carried out by researchers from the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the investigation looked into a possible association between chronic diseases among men and levels of phthalates.

Phthalates are a group of potentially harmful chemicals widely used in everyday consumer products, such as food packaging and wrappings, toys, medications, and even medical devices. The researchers found phthalates in 99.6 % of the samples, and a positive association between the phthalate level and cardiovascular disease, type-2-diabetes, and hypertension (high blood pressure).

There was no significant association between phthalate levels and asthma and depression. Commenting on the findings, senior author Associate Professor Zumin Shi said, “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.”

Previous research has also found that the western diet, as well as age, is directly associated with higher concentrations of phthalates, with research showing that men who ate less fresh fruit and vegetables and consumed more processed and packaged foods and carbonated soft drinks have higher levels of phthalates in their urine.


Over exposure to veryday consumer products, such as food packaging and wrappings may lead to a risk of heart attack in men. (Shutterstock )

Associate Professor Shi also pointed out that while 82 % of the men in the study were overweight or obese -- factors known to increase the risk of chronic diseases -- the significant association between high levels of phthalates and disease was not substantially altered even after taking into account the body weight of the men.
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