Premature births linked to plastic chemicals

Bafana seek first final in 26 years
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Bafana seek first final in 26 years
February 7, 2024
Fuel price increase confirmed
February 7, 2024

Premature births linked to plastic chemicals

New research suggests phthalate exposure during pregnancy may increase the risk of preterm birth.
Phthalates, used to soften plastics, are found in thousands of everyday items like food wrappers,
shampoos, and toys.

A study analyzing phthalate levels in over 5,000 pregnant American women found those with the
highest exposure had 50% higher odds of early delivery before 37 weeks. The authors estimate that
10% of 2018’s US preterm births – nearly 60,000 – may be linked to these chemicals.

Prematurity raises health risks and drives up medical costs. Study lead Dr Leonardo Trasande states
phthalates are “hormone disruptors” that can trigger early labour. The estimated societal costs of US
preterm births associated with phthalates range from $1.6 to $8.1 billion annually.

While more research is needed, these concerning findings suggest phthalate exposure should be
minimized during pregnancy. However, the ubiquity of these chemicals means policies limiting
phthalate use may also be warranted to protect maternal and child health.