Expert interviewed: Professor Ding Xuejia, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology
Global Times health client reporter Wang Bingjie
Uterine fibroids are one of the most common tumors in women of childbearing age. Patients may experience irregular bleeding, anemia, miscarriage and other problems. This is a hormone-dependent tumor, which is related to the formation of uterine smooth muscle tissue hyperplasia. Both estrogen and progesterone can stimulate its growth, but most of them are benign tumors. An epidemiological and mechanistic study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States shows that a metabolite of a synthetic chemical substance, phthalate, is a risk factor for promoting the growth of uterine fibroids.
Professor Ding Xuejia from the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology told “Global Times Health Client” reporter, phthalate is a chemical substance known to interfere with endocrine, and you may be more familiar with its other name: plasticizer (plasticizer). The so-called “ubiquitous chemical” is found in thousands of products people use every day, such as soaps, nail products, fragrances, shampoos and hairsprays, shoes, shower curtains, car interiors, lunch boxes , and medical products to increase the functionality and comfort of these products. It can be said that human beings will be affected by phthalates in the whole process of life. Usually, air inhalation, dietary intake, dust inhalation, skin absorption, etc. are the main routes of ingestion. After being metabolized in the body, it is finally excreted in urine.
In the above study, the concentrations of phthalates and their metabolites (9 species in total) in the urine of adult females were determined as Biomarkers. The results of the analysis found that phthalates and their metabolites were positively correlated with the incidence of uterine fibroids, and the urinary concentration of metabolites increased by 10%, and the risk of uterine fibroids increased by 6%. When women are exposed to phthalates, an environment-responsive receptor (AHR) may be activated , thereby increasing the risk of women suffering from uterine fibroids.
Experts said that in life, phthalates Formate is widely distributed and it is impossible to completely eliminate it from our lives, but we can minimize our exposure. There are 6 kinds of phthalates commonly used in daily necessities, and their abbreviations and common areas are shown in the following table:
In order to minimize exposure to phthalates, Professor Ding Xuejia said that we can start from the following aspects:
Recognize material. The triangle logo with numbers at the bottom of the plastic products represents different plastic materials. Among them, compared with Nos. 1, 2, 4, and 5, “No. 3” has the most plasticizer content; if it is used for infants, it is best to choose “No. 5”. In addition, avoid using PVC floors and shower curtains. You can choose wood, tile, concrete or natural linoleum for floors, and cloth or linen for shower curtains; instead of plastic toys, play with wooden toys.
Choose fragrance-free body care products. Shampoo, perfume, hair spray, cosmetics and other daily necessities, phthalates are often used as “fixatives”. Therefore, it is best not to choose products with long-lasting and strong fragrances, especially during pregnancy or breastfeeding. But be warned, this doesn’t mean you have to buy “fragrance-free” products, they may instead use phthalates to counteract the obvious smell, opt for essential oils or fragrance-free products.
Keep plastic out of contact with fatty foods. Because plasticizers are easily soluble in oil and alcohol, they can seep out of the plastic, and then enter the human body through food, and the higher the temperature and the longer the time, the more migration. Therefore, avoid using plastic products to hold hot food or water for a long time, and do not heat food in plastic bags. It’s best to stay away from plastic bottles or food packaging in favor of glass, stainless steel containers, and avoid polyvinyl chloride products, Brun advises.
Currently, uterine fibroids have no clear preventive measures, Dr. Nathaniel DeNicola, an environmental health expert at the American College of Obstetricians It is recommended that women of childbearing age should undergo regular gynecological ultrasound, CT or MRI examinations,Helps detect uterine fibroids. Patients with obesity, menstrual disorders, and reproductive system inflammation (vaginitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, cervicitis, endometrial polyps, etc.) are at risk of uterine fibroids. If there are abnormal menstruation, lower abdominal mass, lower abdominal pain, infertility, and miscarriage , abnormal delivery, postpartum hemorrhage or frequent urination, dysuria and other oppressive symptoms, you need to seek medical treatment in time. At present, most fibroids can be left untreated, but follow-up observation is required.
Professor Ding Xuejia said that materials that can replace phthalates have been successfully developed, such as the National Twelfth Five-Year Science and Technology Support Project The non-toxic and environmentally friendly plasticizer synthesized in “Biomedical Materials with New Plasticizers” solves the problem of migration of phthalates in disposable polyvinyl chloride medical products, food packaging and children’s toys. I believe that in the future, “zero application” of phthalates will be realized slowly. ▲
Source: “Life Times”