According to a study conducted by researchers at Columbia University, children in the womb exposed to moderate levels of phthalates (plasticizers) had a 72-78% greater chance of developing asthma. Phthalates are commonly found in cosmetics and household products (i.e. plastic containers, lotions, flooring, toys, electronics) and are used to increase products’ flexibility, transparency and durability.
These chemicals have been connected to several health defects when ingested, some of which include airway inflammation, attention and learning disabilities, premature births, etc. The allergy team at The Allergy & Environmental Treatment Center, LLC want to educate patients on products, chemicals and environmental factors that could be detrimental to the health of themselves and their loved ones. From this study, it is our hope you’ll be aware of what may or may not be safe around your family, and how you can prevent overexposure from these chemicals.
During the Environment and Childhood Asthma study released in 2009, researchers supervised a cross-sectional analysis of urine sample data from more than 600 children. Analyses and interviews of both parents and children involved: blood tests, lung function tests, clinical examinations and skin prick tests for children.
Di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) and butyl benzyl phthalate (BBzP) were the two chemicals that derived some of the highest, most common asthma-related symptoms. Mothers, whose exposure to DnBP was higher than others, resulted in their children’s increased chance of an asthma diagnosis by 78 percent. Additionally, children whose mothers had high levels of BBzP in their bloodstream were 72 percent more likely to have asthma.
Furthermore, the measurement of four phthalate metabolites in the urine of 300 pregnant women concluded more than half of children in the study visited a doctor for asthma-related symptoms between the ages of 5 to 11 years old. Lastly, 31 percent of children involved in the study were diagnosed with asthma.
Despite the seemingly unfortunate news regarding plastics and increased allergy diagnoses, a study conducted in 2013 reported that levels of both DnBP and BBzP are decreasing in Americans. This could be due to a ban that was placed on this chemical in 2008. It’s been removed in widely used children’s toys and products today, to prevent such adverse health effects.
Nevertheless, phthalates still exist today and exposure to them can be limited. Avoiding number three (3) and number seven (7) plastics is a great start, and storing items/food in glass containers helps! Additionally, it’s important to never microwave food in plastic containers. It’s very easy to ingest these plasticizers when eating food that has come into contact with a contaminated source (i.e. plastic food packaging, plastic bottles that leach the chemical into foods and liquids) so heat those meals on ceramic, glass or stainless steel plates please.
Moreover, purchase lotions and fragrances that are marked “phthalate-free” will limit your exposure via absorption. You should be able to buy these “natural” body care products from your local health food store.
Providing the most comprehensive testing, diagnosis, and treatment of allergy diseases, The Allergy & Environmental Treatment Center, LLC is the leading allergy clinic in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. If you suffer from environmental, food, or chemical allergies, don’t wait any longer and call us now at (480) 634-2985!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.
@The Allergy & Environmental Treatment Center, LLC, 2014
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