Link Between Plastic & Cosmetic Chemical Exposure and Preterm Births Revealed in New Study

Regular exposure to phthalate chemicals found in plastic food containers and cosmetics is linked to an increased risk of preterm births in the United States, according to a study published in The Lancet Planetary Health, highlighting significant health concerns and the need for regulatory action.

  • Association with Phthalate Exposure
  • Key Findings and Health Implications
  • Call for Regulatory Action and Further Research

A recent study published in The Lancet Planetary Health sheds light on the concerning association between regular exposure to phthalate chemicals found in plastic food containers and cosmetics, and an increased risk of preterm births in the United States, underscoring significant health implications and costs. Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the analysis highlights the pervasive impact of these chemicals, known to disrupt hormone function, on maternal and infant health outcomes.

The study, analyzing data from over 5,000 American mothers, identifies a significant link between phthalate exposure and increased risk of lower birth weight and gestational age among newborns. These factors are known to heighten the risk of infant mortality, academic performance issues, and long-term health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. With approximately 10% of preterm births in 2018 attributed to phthalate exposure, the study underscores the urgent need to address the health risks posed by these chemicals.

Lead author Dr. Leonardo Trasande emphasizes the importance of regulatory action to address phthalates as a class, rather than individually, to mitigate the health risks associated with their widespread use. The study’s findings advocate for safer plastic materials and reduced plastic usage, emphasizing the potential for significant improvements in maternal and infant health outcomes. Furthermore, ongoing research aims to expand the analysis to other countries and evaluate the health effects of preventing phthalate exposure, highlighting the importance of global efforts to address chemical hazards in consumer products.