It is found in foods and everyday objects such as clothes, cosmetics or toys. The presence of phthalates – chemical compounds – in plastics could cause the untimely death of 100,000 Americans aged 55 to 64 each year, according to a study by New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, published in review Environmental Pollution and made public Tuesday, October 12.
These phthalates are considered to be endocrine disruptors harmful to health, but the direct link between exposure to these products and deaths from cardiovascular disease or cancer in the United States has not yet been established with certainty. notes the study.
“Our findings show that greater phthalate exposure is linked to premature death, especially heart disease”, estimates one of the authors, Leonardo Trasande, quoted in a press release. “Until now, we knew that chemicals cause cardiovascular disease, which is a leading cause of death. But we had not yet linked these chemicals directly to mortality.”, added this scientist from New York University, who signed this work with two colleagues from the University of Iowa, Buyun Liu and Wei Bao.
“Other studies should corroborate these observations and identify the mechanisms [à l’œuvre], but regulatory authorities must act urgently “, argues the study of New York University.
The researchers analyzed the effects of exposure to phthalates on a population of 5,303 adults over the age of 20. The study and the biological analyzes of the participants took place between 2001 and 2010, before the mortality statistics were analyzed until the end of 2015. The data analyzes were extracted in July 2020. In “extrapolating [les résultats] in the age group of the US population 55 to 64, we identified 90,761 to 107,283 attributable deaths “ to phthalate exposure, the study explains.
The researchers also calculated the economic cost of these premature deaths for the United States, in terms of lost productivity: “from 39.9 to 47.1 billion dollars per year”, according to them.