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Phthalates and their effect on human health

Phthalates are one of the most ubiquitous chemicals in our environment today. The effect of phthalates on human health has been the source of research for many years. What has surprised me over the years is the amount of denial from both the medical field and industry. In this blog post, I will link the reader to a number of studies on the effect of phthalates on human health. If you want to review the long list of studies on phthalates, you can click here.


The Phthalate Molecule

Part of the activity of phthalates is its depressing effect on testosterone. This may be why I’ve been approached by a number of universities asking why they are seeing young males between the ages of 18-25 having testosterone levels of 60-70 year old men. I thought it was likely due to exposure to phthalates and lo and behold, when a mid west university tested a number of boys, they indeed had high urinary phthalate levels.

The question that needs answering of course is, ‘where are they getting all of those phthalates?’ The answer that we came up with was a popular body spray that is marketed to young males which contains five  different forms of phthalates. The ads for the product tout how using it will attract women to the user but the problem is the males won’t know what to do when they get there.

Here are a few links to show the negative effect of phthalates.

There was a study published in my favorite journal, Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), that suggested a link between breast cancer and phthalates, in particular, diethyl phthalate, in 2010. You can read it here

In the September 2012 issue of, data gathered from NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), showed a link between urinary phthalate levels and diabetes in women. Click here to read the paper.

Allergy in adults has been linked to urinary phthalate levels in an October 2013 paper you can read by clicking here.

Phthalates effects on adults is considerable, but the issues it causes with children and developing fetuses is even more dramatic. In this study, published in October of 2011, phthalates were negatively implicated in mental and psychomotor development in infants, with the greatest impact on males.

May of 2014 was when a study showing a mothers exposure to phthalates linked to behavioral problems in young 6-10 year old boys.

Next time, I will link a few more studies implicating phthalates and other illness and negative health and behavioral outcomes.

Don’t forget to click on the library link above to see what books I’ve recommended.


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Pesticide Exposure and Health

In my blog about about Dr. Oz and his hypocritical statement that eating organic foods are elitist all the while he tells people to eat organic foods to avoid pesticide exposure, I’ve had a couple of comments that claim that pesticide exposure has never been shown to cause illness in people. The person also claimed that the journal Environmental Health Perspectives has no relevant studies showing what I claimed. I guess the person didn’t want to actually go to the journal’s website to verify his claim.

What made me smile this morning when I went to the journal’s website was the fact that the three papers of the year for 2012, per the editors of the journal are all on the subject of pesticide exposure on unborn children. As the editors said (you can see the references by clicking on the link), ” All three studies reported associations between prenatal OP pesticide exposures and adverse effects on cognitive function that continued into early childhood. The fact that three research groups reached such similar conclusions independently adds considerable support to the validity of the findings.”

Understand that association is not the same as causation, but if it smells like a fish, looks like a fish and tastes like a fish, chances are it is a fish. These are not the only studies that have reported associations between pesticide exposure from food and neurodevelopmental issues in children as well as many other health issues, there are hundreds. Does that mean we can stop research and claim that we have all the answers? Of course the answer is no. We need to have a better understanding on the mechanisms of how pesticide exposure affect health.

In this article posted this month by the editors of EHP, you can also read about their comment on the Stanford Study that dismissed the need to eat organic food. One issue they bring up is the epigenetic effect of low dose pesticide exposure on multiple generations. We are still finding new problems with pesticide exposure, not fewer.

Now, we could go on the merry go round of denial, which is something that BigAgra has been doing for years, but I won’t go their. They are using the exact same arguments (along with some of the same scientists) that Big Tobacco used to deny the link between smoking and cancer. We now know that there is a direct relationship. If you chose to deny that, well I guess you don’t need to come to this blog and waste your time. My goal with my blog is to give people information and resources that they can use to help themselves achieve optimal health.


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