Exposure to a synthetic group of chemicals called phthalates may contribute to about 100,000 premature deaths each year among older Americans, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Pollution.
Phthalates are used to make plastics more flexible and can be found in hundreds of products such as cosmetics, detergents, food packing, soaps, shampoos and others.
The chemicals are known to interfere with the human body’s hormonal system. Disruptions of the endocrine system have been linked to “developmental, reproductive, brain, immune, and other problems,” according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
The agency, however, notes assessing the potential health problems in humans related to phthalates has been difficult as people are exposed to multiple endocrine disruptors at the same time.