As WHO studies show, plasticizers (phthalates) have been found in rain, river water, and also groundwater. With bottled water, phthalates are present, not so much due to the bottles themselves, but more the seals in the caps. Often phthalates enter bottled water during the bottling process, for example, when the water passes through plastic hoses.
It was previously assumed that the main way plasticizers got into human bodies was through food. Lately, however, it has become clear that there is a more relevant source of human exposure: the plastic capsules in which drugs are packaged legally contain phthalates (plasticizers). Each kg Capsules may contain up to several mg of dibutyl phthalate. There are many dietary supplements on the market that can also contain phthalates, but no reliable data has yet to be published in the scientific literature.
In animal experiments, some phthalate esters were shown to affect the liver, kidney, and testicles and also to cause reductions in body weight. Laboratory rats suffered a wide range of effects, such as changes to their liver, proliferation of peroxisomes, decreased cholesterol synthesis, and reduced glycogen levels.
Various studies have shown effects on fetal development, including lower birth weight, a reduced number of offspring, and various abnormalities. After oral intake of plasticizers, rats and mice showed testicular atrophy, where the effect depended on the dose, the age of the animals (juveniles are more sensitive), and the timing of the exposure. Long-term feeding studies for DEHP also saw an increase in the incidence of liver tumors in rats and mice.
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