A recent study has allegedly linked di-2-ethyhexylphthalate (DEHP) exposure to elevated blood pressure (BP) in children, raising concerns about the effect of phthalates and other plastic additives on long-term heart health. Leonardo Trasande, et al., “Urinary Phthalates Are Associated with Higher Blood Pressure in Childhood,” The Journal of Pediatrics, May 2013. Researchers with the New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center, University of Washington, University of Cincinnati, and Penn State University apparently used urinary metabolite data from 3,000 children enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2008 to quantify exposure to three phthalate families, including DEHP. Although the results evidently found no association between the phthalates used in cosmetics and personal care products and increased BP, dietary exposure to DEHP was reportedly associated “with higher systolic BP in children and adolescents.”

“Phthalates can inhibit the function of cardiac cells and cause oxidative stress that compromises the health of arteries,” explained NYU Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Environmental Medicine and Population Health Leonardo Trasande in a May 22, 2013, press release. “We wanted to examine the link between phthalates and childhood blood pressure in particular given the increase in elevated blood pressure in children and the increasing evidence implicating exposure to environmental exposures in early development of disease.”