More Evidence on Connection Between Phthalates and Respiratory Health
A new study from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health finds that Children exposed to diethyl phthalate (DEP) and butylbenzyl phthalate (BBzP)—phthalate, two chemicals found in personal care and plastic products—have greater risk of asthma-related airway inflammation.
Phthalates Found in All Children Studied
All 244 children aged 5 to 9 in the study had detectable levels of phthalates in their urine, levels varied over a wide range. What was clear is that higher levels of both phthalates were associated with higher levels of nitric oxide in exhaled breath, a biological marker of airway inflammation.
The association between BBzP exposure and airway inflammation was especially strong among children who had recently reported wheeze, a common symptom of asthma.
The study is the first to use exhaled nitric oxide in research of phthalate exposure in children. Using the biomarker in exhaled breath, allowed the researchers to overcame a significant hurdle. “Many asthma patients only have asthma exacerbations a few times a year, making it difficult to discern short-term associations between environmental exposures and the disease,” explains Matthew Perzanowski, PhD, senior author . “To solve this problem, we used nitric oxide, which has been shown to be a reliable marker of airway inflammation in response to known asthma triggers like vehicle emissions.”