I can’t stress enough how important it is to pay close attention to the personal care and cleaning products you’re using. Because trust me, dangerous chemicals are everywhere — your home, your office, your car, restaurants, stores, salons… It’s enough to make your head spin!
Most of the plastics used in your everyday life contain a dangerous family of chemicals known as phthalates. I’m sure you’ve heard the term mentioned once or twice — and a lot more than that if you’ve been a longtime reader of mine.
Here’s a quick refresher: Phthalates are the synthetic chemicals that keep plastic soft and flexible. So as you can imagine, they’re found in a lot of products: Vinyl flooring, food packaging, toiletries, medical supplies… and yes, even toys. You should actively be using other types of packaging, or removing these from your home as best you can.
I issue this warning often, I know. But I’m doing it again today, in light of some shocking new research that links prenatal exposure to phthalates with later language delays in kids.
Which means that even the womb isn’t safe from this dangerous toxic soup…
Common chemicals stunt speech
As part of this study, researchers pulled data from two different pregnancy studies: The Swedish Environmental Longitudinal, Mother and Child, Asthma and Allergy study (SELMA), which featured nearly 1,000 pregnant women and children, and the Infant Development and Environment Study (TIDES) — an American study featuring 370 mothers and kids.
Both trials took phthalate levels at the expecting mothers’ first prenatal visit, at around 10 weeks pregnant. And approximately three years after giving birth, researchers followed up to analyze the children’s’ language comprehension. Kids who understood fewer than 50 words were considered delayed.
Ultimately, ten percent of children fell into this category. And a smaller percentage — just shy of three percent — understood fewer than 25 words. In both cases, these delays were more common among boys.
But here’s where things get interesting: Data analysis showed that metabolites from two chemicals in particular — dibutyl phthalate and butyl benzyl phthalate — had strong ties to this language delay.
How strong? Well, kids with twice the exposure to these chemicals in the womb faced a 25 to 40 percent higher risk of language delay. Not exactly small potatoes…
The big take-home message is this: When a mother is exposed to phthalates in early pregnancy, it can affect the development of the brain in her child. Common, everyday chemicals — which you’ll find in makeup, plastic toys, and food — can cause brain damage. End of story.
It’s also important to note that these results only singled out different phthalates—not the ones we already know cause damage to our body. Which really shouldn’t surprise anyone…
They’re hiding everywhere
As I mentioned before, these dangerous chemicals are found in a lot of products we use every day. This is a big enough problem by itself. But it’s worse than that.
Because of their chemical structure, phthalates are also prone to leaching. Which means they’re literally everywhere — dust, food, water, and the very air we breathe.
So is it any wonder that the urine — not to mention blood, breast milk, and amniotic fluid — of both kids and adults is teeming with metabolites of these chemicals?
And unfortunately, it’s not just children’s language development that’s on the line because of them. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, which mimic estrogen and block testosterone. Enough so that prenatal exposure can also lead to genital defects in boys.
Then, of course, you have the neurological effects: Studies show that high phthalate levels during pregnancy have an effect on all sorts of factors down the line — including behavior, and mental and psychomotor development.
Yet despite it all, this stuff is still on the market. That’s why I recommend avoiding plastic at almost any cost. Because for some reason, the idiots in charge never considered taking a closer look at the effects.
Call me crazy, but this is yet another example of our government giving big business free rein at the public’s expense. Manufacturers choose whether or not they want to tell us what they’re putting in their products. And without strict labeling requirements, identifying sources of phthalates will continue to remain a deadly guessing game.
Mark my words, phthalates are the new trans fats. But instead of heart disease, we might be looking at another reason for the rise in kids on the autism spectrum.
And unfortunately, there’s no telling how long it’ll take for the powers-that-be to come around on this issue. If history is any indication, it will be far too long.
But I don’t want to end this on a doom-and-gloom note…
Because while we can’t completely eliminate toxins from our immediate environments (unless you want to invest in a hazmat suit), there are many easy things you can do to limit your exposure to them, starting today. I talked about this at length in the May 2013 issue of my Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“Two good reasons why every dieter should detox…and why you should too”).
Subscribers can go to www.DrPescatore.com and log in to browse my archives on how to detox from our world’s most pervasive toxins. Not a subscriber? No problem. Click here to learn more or sign up today.
“Common Household Chemicals Tied to Language Delays in Kids.” Medscape Medical News, 10/29/18. (medscape.com/viewarticle/904083)