Chemicals found in common household products found to cause serious disease in men

A group of researchers from the University of Adelaide and the South Australian and Medical Research Institute discovered that common household products – which include a variety of consumer goods such as children’s toys, food packaging, and medication – inside the house could be contributing to the onset of grave medical conditions that have the possibility of impairing a person for life.

The researchers said these products contain phthalates, which are chemicals that have been been “known to the state of California (in the United States) to cause cancer” by California’s Office of Environment Health Hazard Assessment in December 2013 under Proposition 65 or the Safe Drinking Water and Enforcment Act of 1986. (Related: Phthalates should be added to state’s list of regulated chemcials says parents and doctors in Maine.)

The researchers concluded that high phthalate levels were found in the urine of 99 percent of men who were 35 and above in a pool of 1,500 urban-dwelling Australian men who were observed for this study. Lead author and Adelaide Medical School and the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health associate professor Zumin Shi noted, “We found that the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and high blood pressure increased among those men with higher phthalate levels.”

Professor Shi said that even if most of the men tested were already obese to begin with, “the significant association between high levels of phthalates and disease was not substantially altered.” Such findings would also most likely be the same if they tested a group of women, he added.

Phthalates are found in products all around us. They’re in car-care products, adhesives, plastic wrap, plastic containers, wallpaper, lotions, perfumes and other kinds of sprays, jewelry, electronics (yes, your laptop also has them), insecticides, flooring materials, furniture, things that are made of vinyl and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), cosmetics, air fresheners, clothing, and even medical devices.

Aside from the ailments that the new research has associated with phthalates, earlier studies showed that too much exposure to phthalates can cause birth defects, a decrease in intelligent quotient (IQ) levels, behavioral problems, and obesity.

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