A new study has revealed that dietary exposure to phthalates that can leach from plastic packaging and mix with food is expected to result in metabolic and hormonal abnormalities in kids.
The study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, also suggests that certain types of phthalates could compromise heart health in kids.
Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center, in partnership with researchers at the University of Washington and Penn State University School of Medicine, have documented a link between dietary exposure to di-2-ethyhexylphthalate (DEHP) by drawing on data from a survey of nearly 3,000 children and teens.
Six years of data has been examined by the researchers from a nationally representative survey of the US population, administered by the National Centers for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Phthalates were measured in urine samples using standard analysis techniques, and it was found that every threefold increase in the level of breakdown products of DEHP in urine correlated with about one-millimeter mercury increase in the blood pressure of a child.
NYU Langone Medical Center associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine and population health Leonardo Trasande said at an individual level the increment may seem modest, but such shifts in blood pressure on a population level, can increase the number of children with elevated blood pressure substantially.
"Our study underscores the need for policy initiatives that limit exposure to disruptive environmental chemicals, in combination with dietary and behavioral interventions geared toward protecting cardiovascular health," Trasande said.
DEHP is a common class of phthalate widely used in industrial food production, and elevated systolic blood pressure, a measure of pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts.