New research is shedding new insight into how harmful compounds contained in plastic may disrupt hormone function and women’s health.
Approximately 80% of reproductive-aged women have uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous tumors that form in the uterus, but the source is typically unknown.
Scientists have long assumed that genetics, hormones, food, and major life stressors all have a role.
According to new research from Northwestern University, substances we are exposed to in our daily lives may also contribute to the formation of uterine fibroids in many women.
According to the paper, these compounds are found in plastics used in food packaging, medical products (such as IV bags), and cosmetics, alter the endocrine function, and can contribute to the growth of hormone-sensitive tumors such as uterine fibroids.
Despite the fact that these chemicals are hazardous and can cause direct injury to human tissue when consumed or inhaled, they are legal in the United States and are widely utilized.
Previous studies have found a link between endocrine-disrupting chemicals and uterine fibroids, as well as other hormone-sensitive health issues such as breast cancer and endometriosis.
However, this study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is one of the first to show how these pollutants disrupt hormone function.
The researchers tested the level of DEHP, the most commonly used endocrine-disrupting phthalate, in the urine of 712 individuals for the study. According to the paper, we are regularly exposed to DEHP through medical items, food, beverages, and airborne dust.
The researchers discovered that those who had higher amounts of DEHP traces in their urine were more likely to have a symptomatic uterine fibroid. Each 10% increase in phthalate levels was associated with a 6% increase in the risk of fibroid formation.
The researchers also investigated whether phthalates affect fibroid growth by exposing cells from