Everyday chemicals linked to chronic disease in men

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CHEMICALS found in everyday plastics materials are linked to cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure in men, according to Australian researchers.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) investigated the independent association between chronic diseases among men and concentrations of potentially harmful chemicals known as phthalates.

The results of the study are now published in the international journal Environmental Research.    Phthalates are a group of chemicals widely used in common consumer products, such as food packaging and wrappings, toys, medications, and even medical devices.

Researchers found that of the 1500 Australian men tested, phthalates were detected in urine samples of 99.6% of those aged 35 and over.

“We found that the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and high blood pressure increased among those men with higher total phthalate levels,” says senior author Associate Professor Zumin Shi, from the University of Adelaide’s Adelaide Medical School and the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health, and a member of SAHMRI’s Nutrition & Metabolism theme.

“While we still don’t understand the exact reasons why phthalates are independently linked to disease, we do know the impact of the chemical on the human endocrine system, which controls hormone release that regulates the body’s growth, metabolism, and sexual development and function.

“In addition to chronic diseases, higher phthalate levels were associated with increased levels of a range of inflammatory biomarkers in the body,” he says