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Food packaging chemicals linked to heart disease
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Phthalates—chemicals found in food packaging and pharmaceutical drugs—have been linked to a range of chronic diseases, from heart problems, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

It's been found in the urine of every single person suffering from a chronic health problem, according to tests carried out on 1,500 men—and those with the highest levels were more likely to suffer from one of the diseases, as well as having more severe symptoms.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide, who carried out the tests, say there is a direct connection between the chemicals and chronic diseases. Phthalates interfere with the endocrine system, which controls the release of hormones that regulate growth, metabolism and sexual development.

The men with the highest levels of phthalates also had increased biomarkers of inflammation, and these are warning signs of other chronic conditions, including some cancers.

The discovery may explain why 'healthy' diets, that stress the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables, are so important. While fresh foods are often sold loose and without packaging, processed foods and carbonated drinks are absorbing the phthalates from their packaging or containers, and getting into our bodies.

Interestingly, 82 per cent of the men tested were overweight or obese, again a common problem with eating processed fruits that are higher in sugars.

Although the research was restricted to men, the researchers say they can't see any reason why they wouldn't see the same reactions in women.


References

(Source: Environmental Research, 2017; 158: 366)

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