Phthalates: The Silent Killer

Phthalates: The Silent Killer

You must have heard many cases of high blood pressure in children. One of the reasons for this can be the plastic packaging of the food that they carry to school. Sadly, the harmful effects of plastic food packaging have remained unnoticed for many years and a number of people have been affected due to this. The harmful chemicals in plastic called phthalates damage the walls of arteries and may directly damage heart cells thus altering the blood pressure and causing many long-term implications in our body. Phthalates are often added to PVC that is used for food packaging. They are added to increase the flexibility, transparency, and durability of plastics.

Phthalates are not only present in plastic wrappings and gloves but also in PVC flooring and cosmetics. Even medical devices contain phthalates which cause harm to the human body. In addition to interfering with the blood pressure, phthalates cause hormonal imbalances, allergies, and asthma. Humans are exposed to phthalates through ingestion, inhalation and dermal exposure.

Try avoiding heating your plastic packaged food in the microwave as the phthalates can leach from the packaging into the food. Even the vinyl flooring at your home is not safe as children can breathe phthalates and absorb them through their skin. It is studied that Western diet and increasing age is associated with higher concentrations of phthalates. Considering their ill effects, Phthalates have already been replaced with their substitutes in countries like Canada, Africa, and the United States.

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