Data Show Mechanism Linking Plastic Particle to DyslipidemiaPlastic use is ubiquitous and has become a part of modern life. While the products have proven useful, they also contribute to an array of health damage and can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, while the link has been identified, researchers have found the underlying mechanism contributing to the development of heart disease has remained elusive.
“We found dicyclohexyl phthalate, or DCHP, strongly binds to a receptor called pregnane X receptor, or PXR. DCHP ‘turns on’ PXR in the gut, inducing the expression of key proteins required for cholesterol absorption and transport. Our experiments show that DCHP elicits high cholesterol by targeting intestinal PXR signaling.”The scientists found that the animals exposed to DCHP had higher levels of ceramides circulating in their blood.13 This is a type of lipid molecule associated with cardiovascular disease risk. The researchers found the higher levels were PXR dependent. Zhou points out that:14
“This, too, points to the potentially important role of PXR in contributing to the harmful effects of plastic-associated chemicals on cardiovascular health in humans.”Nuclear pregnane X receptor (PXR) is part of the body's adaptive defense mechanism against foreign chemicals.15 The receptor is activated by several chemicals, including antibiotics, steroids, bile acids and antimycotics.
Artificial Chemicals Can Increase Your Risk of ObesityEndocrine disrupting chemicals are among the most destructive in our environment. Evidence links them to growth, neurological and learning disabilities, obesity, male and female reproductive dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, birth defects and some cancers.18
The researchers found emerging evidence to suggest childhood exposure can increase the risk. However, the effects appear dependent on several factors, including the level of exposure, the type of chemical and the time of exposure during childhood development.
Reviewing the chemicals as a class would also prevent manufacturers from simply swapping one phthalate with another. While industry groups have pushed back due to the “costs” associated with removing the chemicals, some retailers and manufacturers have taken voluntary action to replace them.
- Avoid plastic containers and plastic wrap for food and personal care products. Store food and drinks in glass containers instead.
- Avoid plastic children's toys. Use toys made of natural substances, such as wood and organic materials.
- Read labels on your cosmetics and avoid those containing phthalates.
- Avoid products labeled with “fragrance,” including air fresheners, as this catch-all term may include phthalates commonly used to stabilize the scent and extend the life of the product.
- Do not microwave food in plastic containers or covered in plastic wrap.
- Frequently vacuum and dust rooms with vinyl blinds, wallpaper, flooring and furniture that may contain phthalates, as the chemical collects in dust and is easily ingested by children.
- Eat mostly fresh, raw whole foods. Food packaging is often a source of phthalates.
- Use glass baby bottles instead of plastic. Breastfeed exclusively for the first year, if you can, to avoid plastic nipples and bottles altogether.
- Remove your fruit and vegetables from plastic bags immediately after coming home from the grocery store and wash before storing them; alternatively, use cloth bags to bring home your produce.
- Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets; make your own to reduce static cling.
- Bring your own mug for coffee and bring drinking water from home in glass water bottles instead of buying bottled water.
Sources and References
- 1, 7, 8 American Journal of Physiology, 20217; doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00364.2017
- 2 Environmental Health Perspectives, 2021; 129(12)
- 3, 5 Environment International, 2016;94
- 4 Cambridge Isotope Laboratories, Phthalates
- 6 Environmental Science and Pollution Research International, 2021;28(41)
- 9 Science Daily, December 1, 2021
- 10 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Phthalates Factsheet
- 11, 12, 13, 14 UC Riverside News, November 30, 2021
- 15 Endocrine Review, 2002;23(5) Abstract top lines
- 16 Expert Opinions in Drug Metabolism and Toxicology, 2008;4(7)
- 17 Biochemical Pharmacology, 2017;142
- 18 Hormone Health Network, Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
- 19 Biochemical Pharmacology, 2017;142 Abstract, top lines and last line
- 20 American Diabetes Association; 2012; 35 (7)
- 21 Pediatric Research, 2017; 82(3)
- 22 Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology 2019; doi.org/10.1111/bcpt.13214
- 23 Annals of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2014;19(2)
- 24 PLOS|One, 2014; doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0114003
- 25 American Journal of Public Health, 2021;111(4)