“Safer” Replacements for DEHP Found to Exhibit Similar Negative Health Effects

The negative health effects of DEHP are well documented, and recently, more and more companies are choosing to voluntarily moving away from phthalates altogether. Congress has banned three phthalates in children's toys and products (DEHP, DBP, and BBP), and has issued a temporary ban on three additional phthalates including DINP and DIDP, pending additional research. This new research on di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) and di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP) supports the Congressional action, and raises concerns about the use of these chemicals in other consumer products. For years, these chemical cousins of DEHP were considered to be “safer alternatives,” however, an increasing number of studies has found that higher levels of exposure to DINP and DIDP are also associated with adverse health effects.

In a study published in May in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, investigators found an association between DINP and DIDP concentrations and increased insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. In a more recent study published in the journal Hypertension this July, investigators reported a "significant association" between high blood pressure and the presence of DINP and DIDP in study participants. Specifically, they found that for every tenfold increase in the amount of phthalates consumed, there was a 1.1 millimeters of mercury increase in blood pressure.

Although it can be disheartening to learn that safer alternatives are not actually as safe as we originally thought, this research reaffirms the importance of thoroughly testing all chemicals before they enter the market. Furthermore, innovations in alternative materials, already on the market, may hold more promise than the development of alternative phthalates for use in medical applications, including IV bags and tubing. 

Check out The Health Hospitals Initiative’s Safer Chemicals Challenge to learn more about reducing exposure to DEHP.

[Source: Science Daily]