Your Health the Week of July 13th

Nancy Heppwritten by Nancy Hepp, MS
Research and Communications Specialist

Phthalates

Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl; some are also used in cosmetics and personal care products. Six phthalates are currently banned from use in many products for children due to evidence of reproductive and neurodevelopmental harm. A Time Magazine article, These plastic chemicals may be just as dangerous as what they replace, reported that as research about one particular phthalate, DEHP, showed it to be a probable human carcinogen and associated with other health effects, manufacturers began to replace it with DINP and DIDP, two other phthalates. Two recent studies have shown a connection between adverse effects from these two replacement chemicals. The first study links high blood pressure in children 6-19 years old and the presence of DINP and DIDP in urine. The second study, from the same researchers, found a link between the replacement phthalates in urine and insulin resistance in adolescents 12-19 years old. Neither study was designed to determine if the phthalates caused the conditions.

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Exposing the Beastly Side of Beautiful Nails

written by Elise Miller, EdM
Director

This past week something rather remarkable happened: First, the New York Times published two major investigative pieces on the pervasive exploitation and occupational health hazards experienced by workers in the nail salon industry. And then the really astonishing part—Governor Cuomo of New York issued emergency measures two days later to combat the horrendous inequities and toxic chemical exposures that manicurists face. Rarely do we see such swift, decisive government action in response to reports highlighting environmental and social injustices—and rarely do we see the convergence of evidence-based science, skilled health advocacy, first-rate journalism, and responsive government result in such an immediate, positive outcome. Of course it will take much longer yet for large scale changes that fully protect these workers to take place, but this is an impressive first step.

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