Study Shows 'Safe' Plastics Are Still Harmful to Kids' Health

plastic containers

Bad news has surfaced about two supposedly "safe" chemicals used to make plastic containers, plastic wrap, and other products: Although they were once hailed as the "healthier" replacement for a more dangerous compound, a new study suggests that these new compounds are dangerous to kids, too.

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The two new compounds -- diisononyl phthalate (DINP) and diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) --  are from a class called phthalates. They'd replaced di-2-ethylhexylphlatate (DEHP), which had been linked in former studies to increased risks of high blood pressure and diabetes in kids.

Over the past ten years, U.S. manufacturers have been voluntarily replacing DEHP with DINP and DIDP. Moms across the U.S. breathed a sigh of relief ... only it was too soon.

Researchers at New York University Langone examined blood samples from 356 children and adolescents aged 12 to 19, and found a "significant association" between high blood pressure and the presence of DINP and DIDP levels in study subjects. For every tenfold increase in phthalate levels, there was a 1.1 millimeter of mercury rise in blood pressure.

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So much for these "safer" alternatives, huh? Plus, DINP and DIDP aren't just used in plastic containers and wrap, but can also be found in soap and cosmetics.

That said, the researchers did mention there are things parents can do to keep their kids safe. For starters, keep an eye out for these compounds in what you buy. With soap and cosmetics, it should be listed in the ingredients, while for plastic containers you'll see the numbers 3, 6, or 7 on the bottom inside the recycle symbol, which indicate that phthalates were used during manufacturing.

You should also avoid microwaving food in plastic containers, or covering it in plastic wrap while nuking it. Afterwards, consider hand washing these containers rather than putting them in the dishwasher, where the harsh chemicals can cause these dangerous components to leach out into the food.

Are you wary about the health effects of plastic containers?

 

Image via Evgenia Bolyukh/shutterstock

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