You may have thought that plastic was relatively safe, didn’t you? Well find out that for adults, there are safe chemicals in plastics, but not for children. It may be very dangerous to use plastic containers for food we give to our kids, so be very careful.
Here’s what we know: children and teens have an increased risk of high blood pressure and of diabetes when they are exposed to two compounds which for adults are relatively safe. The two chemicals are called di-isononyl phthalate, shortened DINP, and di-isodecyl phthalate, or DIDP. These belong to the phthalate class of chemicals, just like the previous plastic which was used in their stead – di-isodecyl phthalate, or DEHP.
DEHP was shown to have toxic effects on our health, similar to those of the other two, yet on a larger scale. The new elements have replaced this latter one in plastic products like soaps, wraps, food containers, and cosmetics.
Dr. Leonardo Trasande, lead investigator, believes that this new research he and his colleagues have done can help raise awareness to the dangers of plastic chemicals. The biggest of these, they found, was that the chemicals are independent contributors that raise resistance to insulin, found in diabetics, elevate blood pressure, and overall set the stage for other diseases of a metabolic nature.
The concrete numbers were published in the Hypertension journal yesterday, July 9th, show that if the intakes of the DINP or DIDP rise by ten percent, then there is an increase in blood pressure equivalent to 1.1 mm Hg.
As for insulin resistance, one in three children with high DINP or DIDP levels, had increased levels, while one in four of those with decreased concentrations of the chemicals had levels above the norm.
The history of the struggle against harmful chemicals shows that in 2004, EU regulations banned the aforementioned DEHP because of these same reasons. As a response, American manufacturers of plastics started using the other two, DINP and DIDP.
The problem with this, Trasende mentioned, was that these elements were not tested for toxicity, although it was known that the phthalate class of chemicals cause problems like the ones mentioned above. The lead researcher hopes that their study will force federal action against the widespread use of certain chemicals without corresponding toxicity tests. Currently, there is no federal law obligating manufacturers to do so.
The best ways to protect your kids from harmful plastics is to not microwave foods in plastic, wash containers by hand, and look for the numbers 3, 6, or 7 on their backs, as they show which plastics contain the two harmful chemicals.
Image source: healthychild.org