Credit: © Miroslav Beneda / Fotolia

Credit: © Miroslav Beneda / Fotolia

Controversial plastic ingredient increases risk of allergies in children

A controversial plastic ingredient increases risk of allergies in children, according to new research from Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ).

Phthalates, also called plasticizers have been the subject of controversy for a while. According to Tox Town, an environmental website from the National Institutes of Health, phthalates are used to make plastic and vinyl more flexible.

We reported back in April of last year that phthalates are also found in fast food.

Also recently, it was found that children’s toys and some flooring materials contain phthalates, which may be absorbed through the skin.

The new research from UFZ shows that when a mother is highly exposed to phthalates during pregnancy or breastfeeding, the child has a higher risk of developing allergic asthma.

It is a well-known fact that phthalates affect our hormone system and can thereby have an adverse effect on our metabolism or fertility. But that’s not the end of it,” says UFZ environmental immunologist Dr Tobias Polte. “The results of our current study demonstrate that phthalates also interfere with the immune system and can significantly increase the risk of developing allergies.”

The UFZ researchers analyzed urine samples of the participants from the LINA (lifestyle and environmental factors and their influence on the newborn-allergy-risk). They found an association between higher phthalate levels and allergic asthma risk.

There was a clearly discernible relationship between higher concentrations of the metabolite of benzylbutylphthalate (BBP) in the mother’s urine and the presence of allergic asthma in their children,” explains Dr Irina Lehmann, who heads the LINA study.

For the full study press release.

The study showing that a controversial plastic ingredient increases risk of allergies in children was published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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REFERENCES:
1. “Phthalates Increase the Risk of Allergies among Children.” Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research. Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research, n.d. Web. 04 May 2017.
2. “Maternal Phthalate Exposure Promotes Allergic Airway Inflammation over Two Generations Via Epigenetic Modifications.” The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, n.d. Web. 4 May 2017.

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