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Extramural Research

Phthalates in Plastics Raise Risk of Asthma in Children

Soybean plants growing in a UCSB greenhouse Credit: Laurie C. Van De Werfhorst, UCSB STAR researchers at Columbia University's Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Research Center have found that children exposed to phthalates have elevated risk of asthma-related airway inflammation. These findings were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The study looked at 244 children (ages 5 to 9) all of whom had varied but detectable levels of phthalates in their urine. Higher levels of phthalates were associated with airway inflammation, through nitric oxide levels in exhaled breath. Nitric oxide has been shown to be a reliable biological marker of airway inflammation in response to known asthma triggers like vehicle emissions. This the first study to use exhaled nitric oxide in a study of phthalate exposure in children.

Phthalates are used widely in consumer products, including plastics, vinyl flooring, and personal care products. Phthalates enter the body through ingestion, inhalation, and absorption through the skin.

EPA committed to supporting children’s environmental health, has in a joint program with NIEHS, awarded research grants establishing over a dozen Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Research Centers around the country. Scientists at these centers work to understand how vehicle exhaust, air pollution, diet, social and other factors impact children’s health. Their research is a key component in the EPA’s long-term campaign to improve the lives of children around the nation.

Press Release: Children Exposed to Two Chemicals in Plastics Have Elevated Risk of Asthma-Related Airway Inflammation Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer

For more info on this research see:
Centers of Excellence in Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research
Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health
The Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health

For more info on the Columbia and Other Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Research Centers


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