Toxic effects of the easily avoidable phthalates and parabens.


"Some environmental toxins like DDT and other chlorinated compounds accumulate in the body because of their fat-soluble nature. Other compounds do not stay long in the body, but still cause toxic effects during the time they are present. For serious health problems to arise, exposure to these rapidly-clearing compounds must occur on a daily basis. Two such classes of compounds are the phthalate plasticizers and parabens, both of which are used in many personal care products, some medications, and even foods and food preservation. The phthalates are commonly found in foods and household dust. Even though they have relatively short half-lives in humans, phthalates have been associated with a number of serious health problems, including infertility, testicular dysgenesis, obesity, asthma, and allergies, as well as leiomyomas and breast cancer. Parabens, which can be dermally absorbed, are present in many cosmetic products, including antiperspirants. Their estrogenicity and tissue presence are a cause for concern regarding breast cancer. Fortunately, these compounds are relatively easy to avoid and such steps can result in dramatic reductions of urinary levels of these compounds."

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PPAR-mediated activity of phthalates: A link to the obesity epidemic?


"The endocrine disruption hypothesis asserts that exposure to small amounts of some chemicals in the environment may interfere with the endocrine system and lead to harmful effects in wildlife and humans. Many of these chemicals may interact with members of the nuclear receptor superfamily. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are such candidate members, which interact with many different endogenous and exogenous lipophilic compounds. More particularly, the roles of PPARs in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism raise the question of their activation by a sub-class of pollutants, tentatively named "metabolic disrupters". Phthalates are abundant environmental micro-pollutants in Europe and North America and may belong to this class. Mono-ethyl-hexyl-phthalate (MEHP), a metabolite of the widespread plasticizer di-ethyl-hexyl-phthalate (DEHP), has been found in exposed organisms and interacts with all three PPARs. A thorough analysis of its interactions with PPARgamma identified MEHP as a selective PPARgamma modulator, and thus a possible contributor to the obesity epidemic."