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Kills 90 people annually: how a very dangerous element gets into our food

Everyone knows that we need to be careful about the food we eat. But, as it turned out, you should pay attention to certain types of packaging materials. In particular, it is best to avoid foods in plastic containers, as exposure to phthalates, or toxic chemicals found in many plastic food packaging, can have serious health consequences. A new study shows that phthalates cause 91 to 000 deaths a year. Writes about it Eat This Not That.

Photo: Shutterstock

Experts compared data from participants in the US National Health and Nutrition Survey for 2001–2010. with information on deaths by the end of 2015. They looked at all-cause mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality. Ultimately, the researchers found that phthalates increased the risk of all-cause death and death from cardiovascular disease.

"Phthalates disrupt metabolism in many ways, especially by disrupting hormones," said study lead author Leonardo Trasande, MD. "They also promote inflammation, a key process in heart disease."

Although inflammation is a vital part of the healing process, chronic inflammation can have serious health consequences. In addition to being linked to heart disease, it may also increase the risk of cancer, arthritis, type II diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease.

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“This is an important study on the health effects of exposure to chemicals associated with plastic,” says Monica Lind, Ph.D., an environmental toxicologist and associate professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Uppsala University. "Research tells us to take steps to minimize exposure to phthalates."

This is probably a good idea, given that phthalates are associated with a myriad of daunting health effects. A 2012 study published in the journal Gene found a link between the endocrine-disrupting effects of phthalates and an increased risk of genital, prostate, ovarian, and breast disease. A 2016 article in Environment International highlighted the link between phthalates and fertility problems, respiratory diseases and brain disorders.

On the subject: Modern man eats kilograms of plastic: how it happens and how it threatens

Thus, keeping these risks in mind will help protect you from some of these negative health effects. Reducing your consumption of plastic-packed foods can be a good start, even if you think packaged foods are good for your health.

"People might assume that phthalates only contaminate unhealthy foods," Trasande says. "That's not true - plastic wrappers are used in all types of food."

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