Plasticizers Disrupt Human Hormones

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Phthalate PlasticizersResearchers from the University of Michigan have confirmed that common phthalate plasticizers DEHP, DBP and BPA disrupt human thyroid hormones associated with thyroid diseases.

The research compared and analyzed the metabolites from urine and serum thyroid levels of 1,346 adults and 329 adolescents. Higher di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and bisphenyl A (BPA) levels were associated with lower levels of the thyroid hormone metabolites of T4, free T3, total T3 and thyroglobin. Higher DEHP levels were associated with higher TSH levels, while higher BPA levels were associated with lower T3 and TSH levels.

The researchers found that lower T4 metabolite levels has the strongest association with higher phthalates. High DEHP levels were associated strongly with lower TSH levels, while BPA was associated with lower T4 and TSH levels.

This study, published in the scientific journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, is the first national human study confirming that BPA and other common plasticizers definitely disrupt hormones. Chemical industry advocates have been disputing the link between BPA and hormone disruption as coincidental. This research confirms previous research that led to the suspicion that these plasticizers disrupt hormone levels.

University of Michigan assistant professor and lead researcher, Dr. John Meeker, commented that those among the highest 20% of DEHP exposure had as high as 10% lower thyroid hormone levels.

DEHP, BPA and DBP are common among food packaging, water bottles, can linings and many other consumer goods.

Meeker JD, Ferguson KK. Relationship between Urinary Phthalate and Bisphenol A Concentrations and Serum Thyroid Measures in U.S. Adults and Adolescents from NHANES 2007-08. Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Jul 11.

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