Billions of Dollars Lost Due to Early Deaths Linked to Phthalate Chemical Interfering with Hormones
A new study concludes that daily exposure to phthalates, which are used in the making of plastic food containers and a variety of cosmetics, may result in approximately 100,000 untimely deaths among the elderly each year. As a result, the annual economic burden is around $40 billion to $47 billion, more than quadruple prior estimates.
Chemicals at Fault: Phthalates
For decades, phthalates have been suspected of posing a risk to human health due to their ability to interfere with hormones’ functionality, which is signaling compounds produced in glands and circulated throughout the body, according to specialists. Obesity, diabetes, as well as heart disease have all been related to exposure to these chemicals, which are thought to occur as a result of the breakdown and consumption of consumer products.
The latest study, led by NYU Grossman School of Medicine experts, found that people with the highest phthalate concentrations in their urine were much more likely to perish of heart disease than those with fewer or lesser exposure.
Similarly, those in the high-exposure group were much more likely than the lower-exposure groups to perish for any reason. However, elevated levels of the toxins did not seem to raise the chance of cancer-related death.
Their findings indicate that increased phthalate exposure is associated with an increased risk of premature death, particularly from heart disease, according to study lead author Leonardo Trasande. Until today, they had established a connection between the chemicals and heart disease, and heart disease is a major cause of death. However, they had not established a connection between the chemicals themselves and death.
Dr. Trasande cautions that the new study does not show a direct cause and effect relationship between phthalate exposure and untimely death, partly because the particular biological mechanism that would explain the correlation is still uncertain. According to the study’s investigators, they intend to further study the role these chemicals may have in regulating hormones and the inflammation in the body.
However, Dr. Trasande notes that the latest findings accumulate proof of societal costs associated with prolonged high levels of contact with the chemicals. For instance, a previous study has connected almost 10,000 annual deaths to decreased testosterone levels in adult men caused by phthalate exposure. In addition, Americans have lost roughly $9 billion in economic productivity due to these fatalities.
Economic Costs Associated with Phthalate Mortality
To determine whether there were similar mortality and economic costs associated with other disorders, the new study, which was published online on Oct. 12, 2021, through the journal Environmental Pollution, was intended to further assess links between phthalate exposure and deaths from all causes throughout the United States and quantify the associated economic costs, according to Dr. Trasande.
The research team studied data from urine samples acquired from adults who participated in the United States National Health and Nutrition Survey between 2001 and 2010. The researchers analyzed only those whose causes of death were tracked until 2015. Additionally, they concentrated on a subgroup of Americans aged 55 to 64, as earlier studies had estimated phthalate-related fatality rates in this category. This enabled the team to make reliable comparisons between their study’s findings and past estimations.
Additionally, the study’s investigators used data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wonder database, the United States Census Bureau, and models from previous studies to estimate the economic impact of premature death for this group.
Their research indicates that the cost of phthalates to society is significantly more than previously believed, according to Dr. Trasande, who is also the director of NYU Langone’s Center for the Investigation of Environmental Hazards. Additionally, he asserted that the evidence is clear that restricting Americans’ exposure to hazardous phthalates can safeguard their health and financial well-being.
National Institutes of Health funds R01 ES022972, R01 ES029779, R01 ES032214, P30 ES000260, and P30 ES005605 supported this study.
Along with Dr. Trasande, the study included Buyun Liu, MD, Ph.D., and Wei Bao, MD, Ph.D., both of the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
Editor’s Note on the Phthalates Hormone Chemical & Its Related Early Deaths Responsible For Loss Of Over $45 Billion Dollars:
This article is written to inform you of the phthalates-related deaths in America and the billions of dollars of the economic burden associated with it.
What do you think can be used in place of phthalates to prevent early deaths? Click the “Contact Us” button below and share with us your thoughts!