some of the patients’ fibroid tumors to different types of phthalate metabolites or molecules left behind after phthalates are metabolized in the body.
They discovered that high phthalate levels stimulated a hormone pathway that enabled fibroid cells to survive and grow.
What We Know About Endocrine Disruptors and Our Health
Previous studies have linked endocrine-disrupting chemicals to uterine fibroids, leading to the conclusion that the higher the phthalate concentration in the body, the greater the risk of uterine fibroids.
These compounds have also been related to breast cancer, endometriosis, ovarian aging, and impaired sperm production and function.
Scientists have believed that phthalates promote fibroid cell growth by mimicking or preventing the production of estrogen and progesterone, two chemicals that increase fibroid growth during people’s reproductive years, but evidence has been lacking.
These new findings provide some light on how environmental pollutants alter certain of our hormonal processes and lead to the development of uterine fibroids and other reproductive health issues.
Because the development and growth of uterine fibroids are poorly understood, this new study is crucial in revealing how a woman’s environmental exposures may raise her risk for uterine fibroids.
Unfortunately, while routinely used chemicals are assessed for toxicity, their propensity to disrupt endocrine function is not thoroughly investigated, mostly because the health implications can be difficult to assess.
The effects aren’t usually dose-related, and sometimes large effects are noticed at low or high levels, and the effects of endocrine disruptors aren’t always obvious.
RELATED: What Black Women Need To Know About Fibroids Endocrine Disruptors
Should We Stay Away from Specific Products?
It’s something to think about. Some scientists advise against using plastic bottles and food packaging; instead, use glass containers whenever possible and avoid polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-containing products that include phthalates.
Because phthalates are ubiquitous, it is more difficult to avoid them totally. These chemicals are found in hundreds of items, yet in most cases, they are not stated on the product packaging labels.
Check the components of any foods, makeup, or home products you use. Look for phthalate-free labels on microwave-safe containers, toys, and consumer products.
Because phthalates are included in so many medical goods, it may be worth asking your healthcare practitioner whether they have any phthalate-free options.
This study is an important step in laying the groundwork for future research into how phthalate exposure affects health and illness risk, allowing women to advocate for safer products.