Thus the phthalates present in plastics and food additives destroy the endocrine system of children

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Elia Tabuenca García
@eliatabuencagarcía

According to new research, exposure to phthalates during pregnancy can have serious effects on the development of the fetus.

Don't store avocado like this: it's dangerous

- Phthalates are chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system, and are used in plastics and also as food additives. A recent study examined whether prenatal exposure to phthalates in maternal blood and umbilical cord could affect the growth and development of children.





The results, involving 65 mother-infant pairs, suggest that phthalates have potentially estrogenic effects in females and anti-androgenic effects in males. Additionally, higher levels of different phthalates were associated with one smallest head circumference in all children.

According to the researchers, therefore, follow-up of study participants could help clarify the long-term impacts of phthalates on children's growth and health. (Read also: Thus, exposure of pregnant women to phthalates slows down the cognitive abilities of their babies)

A systematic review

Although many phthalates alter the endocrine system at birth, the relationship between maternal exposure to phthalates and outcomes in newborns is not yet conclusive. The objective of the present study was to investigate theassociation between prenatal exposure to phthalates in maternal blood and umbilical cord blood, and outcomes at birth of children

Sixty-five mother-infant pairs were recruited in Taipei City and New Taipei City, and the results at birth were recorded. Twelve phthalate metabolites were measured in maternal and cord blood samples. According to scholars, this exposure during pregnancy can cause the potential disruption of the endocrine system

Phthalates from prenatal exposure disrupt thyroid, sex hormone and 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in pregnant women or offspring, which results in preterm delivery, preeclampsia, maternal glucose disorders, infantile cryptorchidism, infantile hypospadias and anogenital distance shorter in infants, as well as the growth restriction not only in children but also in early adolescence and childhood. 

Due to the potentially harmful influence of phthalates on the fetus, measures must be taken to prevent or reduce exposure to these substances during pregnancy.


How phthalates work

- phthalates they are gradually released from their substrate materials and accumulate to a measurable concentration in different environments such as atmosphere, water, sediment, soils and landfills due to their refractory characteristics. Σdi-2 (ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and Σdibutyl phthalate (DBP) are the main pollutants in the environment. For example, DEHP has been detected in atmospheric particulate matter, freshwater and sediment, soil and landfills.


From here, they can enter the human body and accumulate through diet, inhalation, and skin contact. Based on the molecular weight, the metabolites of phthalates are divided into two groups: low molecular weight phthalates (LMWP) and higher molecular weight phthalates (HMWP). THE metabolites of phthalates they can cross the placenta and be found in placental tissue, amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood, and neonatal meconium, and participate in the development and growth of the embryo.

Pregnancy is a critical period for fetal development, and when exposed to phthalates it can lead to severe and even permanent adverse effects in both infants and children.

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Photos: Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemestry

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