New Study Raises Health Concern About Synthetic Chemicals Found In Everyday Life

By Jeffrey J. Downey, P.C., medical malpractice attorney serving Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC

Plastics are everyone these days.  Not only in our oceans, but in our bodies.  New data now suggests that this  comes with a cost, often unknowingly.

The chemical phthalates, (pronounced THa-Luts), has raised much concern among researchers and was the subject of a recent study.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Pollution, concluded that phthalates found in food storage containers, shampoo, makeup, perfume, and children’s toys, may have contributed between 90 to 107,000 premature deaths among people ages 55 to 64 in the United States.  That’s a large number and a serious health concern explains personal injury attorney Jeffrey J. Downey, who practices in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

In terms of economic costs, the study estimates that between $40 to $47 billion each year is lost to a decrease in economic productivity.  Dr. Leo Transande, a professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine and popular health at the New York University’s Langone Health says that the study adds to the growing database on the impact of plastics on the human body and bolsters the case for reducing or eliminating the use of plastics.

Dr. Transande says phthalates have a “rap sheet.”

Some have called phthalates “the everywhere chemicals” as they are added to PVC plumbing vinyl flooring, rain- and stain-resistant products, medical tubing, garden hoses, and children’s toys.

Phthalates can be found in food packaging, detergents, clothing, furniture, and automotive plastics.

And people are exposed to the chemical when they breathe contaminated air or drink foods that came into contact with the plastic.

In the same article, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences says phthalates are linked with developmental, reproductive, brain, immune concerns, just to name a few.

The fact is that phthalates are found in everyday activity, such as using a microwave for instance.  Dr. Transande is quoted as saying that heating food using plastic products in a microwave or washing plastic in a dishwasher can break the lining allowing phthalates to be absorbed.

In general, here are a few ways to avoid phthalates in your food and daily lives:

  • Use unscented lotions and laundry detergents.
  • Use cleaning supplies without scents or made with natural ingredients.
  • Use glass, stainless steel, ceramic or wood to hold and store foods instead of plastic.
  • Buy fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead of canned and processed versions.
  • Encourage frequent hand washing to remove chemicals from hands.
  • Avoid air fresheners and all plastics labeled as No. 3, No. 6 and No. 7


If you or a loved have been injured as a result of negligence on the part of a consumer product, contact the Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey, P.C.

Contact Information:

The Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey, practicing in Virginia, Maryland and D.C.

8270 Greensboro Drive, Suite 810

McLean, VA 22102

Phone: 703-564-7318 or 703-564-7357

Fax: 703-883-0108