Phthalates are chemical additives commonly found in plastic containers. Colorless and odorless, they were previously considered harmless. However, reports that researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center, University of Washington, and Penn State University School of Medicine have found that some phthalates may threaten the cardiovascular health of children and teens.

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The six-year study analyzed data from approximately 3,000 participants. Urine samples were tested for phthalates, and other information such as age, race, body mass indexes, caloric intake, and activity levels were taken into account.

The results showed that "every three-fold increase in the level of breakdown products of DEHP (di-2-ethyhexylphthalate, a kind of phthalate) in urine correlated with a roughly one-millimeter mercury increase in a child's blood pressure."

While it's hard to live completely without plastic, there are precautions parents can take to lower the risks. They can opt to use glass bottles whenever possible, keep their children's diet well-balanced, and encourage them do sports and to join extra-curricular activities to keep them in good shape.

(Photo by Aidan via Flickr Creative Commons)

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