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The "Everywhere Chemical" and risk of childhood cancer

A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute links phthalates, commonly called the “everywhere chemical”, to an increased incidence of specific childhood cancers. Phthalates are chemical additives that are used to make plastics more durable and are used in hundreds of consumer products such as shampoos, detergents, cosmetics, building materials, and plastic packaging. They can also be found as inactive ingredients in certain medicines, such as in enteric-coated extended or delayed-release formulations. Phthalates are also present in IV bags, tubings, and other medical equipment.

Tapping into data from the Danish Medicines Agency, the Danish Cancer Registry, and the Danish Birth Registry, the researchers studied 1.3 million live births between 1997 and 2017. Analysing the 2,027 cases of childhood cancers, they found that childhood phthalate exposure through prescription fills for phthalate-containing medications was associated with a 20% higher rate of childhood cancer, specifically lymphoma and osteosarcoma.



Source Article: Ahern TP, Spector LG, Damkier P, Öztürk Esen B, Ulrichsen SP, Eriksen K, Lash TL, Sørensen HT, Cronin-Fenton DP. Medication-Associated Phthalate Exposure and Childhood Cancer Incidence. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2022 Feb 18.

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