Just before Christmas, I wrote this post to warn people against buying children plastic toys for Christmas or using excessive amounts of plastic-coated wrapping paper due to the presence of phthalates (toxic plasticising chemicals that may cause birth defects, fertility problems and endocrine disorders).
Now, researchers at the Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York claim to have found evidence linking phthalates to childhood obesity.
The researchers measured phthalate concentrations in the urine of 387 black and Hispanic children in New York City, followed a year later by comparative measurements of waist and BMI.
The study revealed that more than 97 percent of the children had been exposed to phthalates. After analysing the research, they found a direct correlation between concentrations of certain phthalates with BMI (body mass index) and waist circumference in children who were overweight.
“Research has shown that exposure to these everyday chemicals may impair childhood neurodevelopment, but this is the first evidence demonstrating that they may contribute to childhood obesity,” said the study’s lead author Susan Teitelbaum, PhD.
Phthalates are not only found in toys and wrapping paper. They’re also in many non-certified organic brands of perfume, eye shadow, moisturiser, liquid soap, nail polish and hairspray, as well as PVC products like shower curtains.