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在一个塑料无处不在的世界,如何保持健康?

The Types of Plastics Families Should Avoid
在一个塑料无处不在的世界,如何保持健康?

Take a look around your home and count the items that are made with plastic. Then, consider the less obvious sources: the dust accumulating on your bookshelf, the linings of soup cans, food packaging, cosmetics, even your tap water and beer. Plastic is everywhere, and like many parents, I worry about the danger it poses to my kids’ health, as well as to my own.

在家中环顾四周,数一数你看到的塑料制品。然后,再看看塑料成分不那么明显的东西:书架上堆积的灰尘、汤罐头的内层、食品包装、化妆品,甚至是自来水和啤酒。塑料无处不在,和许多父母一样,我担心它对我孩子以及我自己的健康构成的危险。

On Jan. 27, the Environmental Defense Fund, along with several other organizations, submitted a petition to the Food and Drug Administration that urged the agency to limit the use of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in food packaging. BPA is just one of many chemicals used in plastics that are concerning because of their links to certain health conditions, said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a pediatrician and director of the Center for the Investigation of Environmental Hazards at the N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine.

1月27日,环境保护基金会与其他几个组织一起向食品和药物管理局(简称FDA)提交了一份请愿书,敦促该机构限制在食品包装中使用化学物质双酚A(BPA)。纽约大学格罗斯曼医学院环境危害调查中心的主任、儿科医生莱昂纳多·特拉桑德说,双酚A只是塑料中使用的众多化学品中的一种,因为与某些健康问题有关而引起担忧。
 

But while Dr. Trasande supports stricter limits on the use of BPA, he said that the F.D.A. is “woefully outdated” in its approach to regulating chemicals used in food packaging. Focusing on a single chemical like BPA rather than the entire suite of harmful chemicals in plastics and other materials leads to “chemical whack-a-mole, in which one chemical gets replaced with something very similar that may be equally problematic,” he said. For now, the burden of reducing exposure to many of these chemicals remains with consumers.

虽然特拉桑德支持对BPA的使用进行更严格的限制,但他表示,FDA使用“严重过时”的方法来监管食品包装中的化学成分。他说,专注于像BPA这样的单一化学物质,而不是塑料和其他材料中的一系列有害化学物质,会使监管变成“打地鼠,当一种化学物质被非常相似的物质取代后可能同样有问题”。目前,减少对这些化学物质的接触仍是消费者的工作。

Given this reality, here’s what you need to know about how chemicals in plastics and other consumer products might affect your health and how you can lower your exposure.

鉴于这一现实,关于塑料和其他消费品中的化学物质对你健康的影响,以及如何降低暴露风险,以下是你需要知道的。

Understand which plastics are worrisome.

了解哪些塑料需要引起注意


Plastics may look inert, but the chemicals inside them are not. “There are chemicals used in plastics that are not tightly bound to the material, which means they easily leach away,” especially when exposed to heat, said Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, a pediatrician and researcher at the University of Washington and the Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

塑料可能看起来没有活性,但其中的化学物质并非如此。华盛顿大学和西雅图儿童研究所的研究员、儿科医生席拉·萨蒂亚纳拉亚纳说:“塑料中使用的化学物质与材料没有紧密结合,这意味着它们很容易流失,”尤其是在受热时。

The two most concerning types of chemicals in plastics are phthalates and bisphenols, Dr. Trasande said. Phthalates, which are typically added to plastics to make them pliable and soft, are used in plastic food wrap, vinyl flooring and personal care products like deodorants, nail polish, hair gels, shampoos, soaps and lotions. Bisphenols, including BPA, are more typically found in hard polycarbonate plastics such as water and juice bottles, food containers, eyeglass lenses and the linings of food and soda cans.

特拉桑德说,塑料中最令人担心的两种化学物质是邻苯二甲酸盐和双酚。塑料中通常会添加邻苯二甲酸盐以产生柔韧性,用于塑料食品包装、乙烯基地板和个人护理产品——如止汗用品、指甲油、发胶、洗发水、肥皂和乳液。包括BPA在内的双酚更常见于硬质聚碳酸酯塑料中,例如水瓶和果汁瓶、食品容器、眼镜片以及食品和汽水罐的内层。

A large body of research suggests that phthalates and bisphenols can act as endocrine disruptors, meaning that they either mimic or interfere with hormones in the body. The early troubling studies of phthalates and bisphenols were on rodents, but more recently, researchers have begun linking the chemicals to worrying effects on humans, Dr. Trasande said.

大量研究表明,邻苯二甲酸盐和双酚可以起到激素干扰物的作用,这意味着它们可以模仿或干扰体内的激素。特拉桑德说,早期关于邻苯二甲酸盐和双酚的令人不安的研究是在啮齿动物身上进行的,但最近,研究人员开始将这些化学物质与对人类的令人担忧的影响联系起来。

For example, human studies have found that exposure to higher phthalate levels in the womb is associated with asthma in childhood. And in boys, it’s linked to more behavioral problems and shorter distances between their anuses and genitals — a measure linked to lower testosterone levels and semen quality later in life. In men, higher phthalate exposures in adulthood have been associated with lowered sperm counts; and exposures in pregnant women have been linked to lower thyroid hormone levels and more preterm births.

例如,人体研究发现,胎儿暴露于较高水平的邻苯二甲酸酯与儿童时期的哮喘有关。在男孩中,这与更多的行为问题有关,还与肛门和生殖器之间的位置更近有关——这一指标与后来的睾酮水平和精液质量降低有关。在男性中,成年后较高的邻苯二甲酸酯暴露与精子数量减少有关;孕妇对该物质的暴露与较低的甲状腺激素水平和更多的早产有关。

BPA, on the other hand, can mimic estrogen — another hormone important to reproductive development and function — and has been linked to reduced fertility in men and women, later puberty in girls, earlier puberty in boys and behavioral problems in children.

另一方面,双酚A可以模仿雌激素——另一种对生殖发育和功能很重要的激素——并且与男性和女性的生育能力下降、女孩的青春期延迟、男孩的青春期提前和儿童的行为问题有关。

There’s also growing evidence that exposure to hormone disruptors like phthalates and bisphenols is associated with a greater risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. In a 2021 review, researchers noted that exposure to these and other endocrine disruptors from food, consumer products and the environment may increase the risk of obesity by a similar magnitude as more commonly cited culprits like lack of exercise or following a poor diet.

还有越来越多的证据表明,接触邻苯二甲酸盐和双酚等激素干扰物会增加患2型糖尿病、心脏病和肥胖症的风险。在2021年的一篇评述中,研究人员指出,在食物、消费品和环境中接触到这些和其他内分泌干扰物可能会增加肥胖的风险,其程度大致相当于缺乏运动或饮食不良等和肥胖相关的更常见因素。

The research is compelling and alarming, but the science is ongoing, and some findings are inconsistent and controversial. Together, though, the evidence is convincing enough that avoiding endocrine-disrupting chemicals is worthwhile, especially during sensitive periods of development like pregnancy, infancy, early childhood and puberty, said Kim Harley, a reproductive epidemiologist and an associate director at the center for environmental research and children’s health at the University of California, Berkeley.

这些研究具有说服力且令人担忧,但科学始终在前进,有些研究结果不一致且存在争议。不过,加州大学伯克利分校环境研究和儿童健康中心副主任、生殖流行病学家金·哈利说,这些证据足以令人相信,远离干扰内分泌的化学物质是值得的,尤其是在孕期、婴儿期、儿童早期和青春期等敏感发育时期。

The good news is that phthalates and bisphenols don’t stay in your body permanently, so making changes has a near-immediate effect. “If you reduce your exposure, you can wash out these chemicals from your body within a matter of days,” Dr. Harley said. And while it’s impossible to completely eliminate such chemicals from your life, she added, a little reduction may go a long way.

好消息是,邻苯二甲酸盐和双酚类物质不会永久留在你的体内,因此做出改变会产生近乎立竿见影的效果。“如果你减少接触,你可以在几天内把这些化学物质从你的身体里排掉,”哈利说。她还说,虽然不可能从你的生活中完全消除这些化学物质,但减少一点可能会起到很大的效果。

Prioritize fresh, whole foods.

优先考虑新鲜的全食物。


Studies have shown that people who consume more fresh foods and fewer processed and packaged foods have lower urinary concentrations of BPA and phthalates.

研究表明,在食用更多新鲜食品和较少加工和包装食品的人的尿液中,BPA和邻苯二甲酸盐的浓度较低。

Processed meals, like those purchased from fast food restaurants or grocery stores (think boxed macaroni and cheese) can be convenient and sometimes necessary, but they can contain high levels of phthalates. Studies also suggest that higher-fat foods — like certain meat and dairy products — can accumulate more phthalates than others. Bisphenols lurk in the linings of cans, so soups and sauces in glass jars are safer choices; as are fresh or frozen fruits and veggies. The plastic bags used for frozen produce don’t contain phthalates or bisphenols, and cold temperatures make leaching of chemicals from plastic much less likely, Dr. Sathyanarayana said.

加工食品,如从快餐店或杂货店购买的食品(例如预制奶酪通心粉)可能很方便,有时也很有必要,但它们可能含有较高的邻苯二甲酸盐。研究还表明,高脂肪食物——比如某些肉类和奶制品——会比其他食物积累更多的邻苯二甲酸盐。双酚潜伏在罐头的内层中,因此用玻璃罐装的汤和酱汁是更安全的选择;新鲜或冷冻的水果和蔬菜也更安全。萨蒂亚纳拉亚纳说,用于冷冻农产品的塑料袋不含邻苯二甲酸盐或双酚类物质,并且低温使塑料中的化学物质不太可能浸出。

Avoid using certain types of plastic containers.

避免使用某些类型的塑料容器。


Bisphenols can hide in the plastics used to store food and drinks, so when possible, use metal or glass versions of baby bottles, sippy cups, food storage containers and water bottles. The F.D.A. banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups in 2012 and in infant formula packaging in 2013, but products labeled “BPA-free” might be made with other bisphenols with similar health effects.

双酚可以隐藏在用于储存食物和饮料的塑料中,因此尽可能使用金属或玻璃制造的婴儿奶瓶、吸管杯、食物储存容器和水瓶。FDA在2012年禁止在婴儿奶瓶和吸管杯中使用BPA,并在2013年禁止在婴儿配方奶粉包装中使用BPA,但即使产品标有“不含BPA”,也可能由产生类似健康影响的其他双酚制成。

When you use plastic, look at the recycling code on the bottom for clues about what’s in it. Dr. Trasande recommended avoiding items labeled 3 for phthalates, 7 for bisphenols and 6 for styrene. (Styrene, which is found in Styrofoam and other plastic products, is “reasonably anticipated” to be a human carcinogen, according to the National Institutes of Health.) Dr. Trasande also suggested avoiding plastic wrap and tossing plastics that are scratched or showing signs of wear.

当你使用塑料时,请查看底部的回收代码以了解其成分。特拉桑德建议避开标记3的邻苯二甲酸酯、标记7的双酚和标记6的苯乙烯。(根据美国卫生研究院的数据,人们认为苯乙烯——存在于聚苯乙烯泡沫塑料和其他塑料产品中——成为人类致癌物是“合理的预期”。)特拉桑德还建议避免使用保鲜膜并扔掉有划痕或有磨损迹象的塑料。

Avoid heating plastics.

避免加热塑料。


Warming plastics by heating them in the microwave, using them for hot foods or washing them in the dishwasher can increase the chance that harmful chemicals will leach from them and end up in your food or liquid.

在微波炉中加热塑料制品,用它们盛放热的食物或用洗碗机清洗,都会增加有害化学物质从塑料中渗出,并最终进入食物或液体的几率。

Swap out vinyl products.

换掉乙烯基产品。


If you have a vinyl shower curtain, switching to one made with fabric is an easy way to reduce phthalates in your home, Dr. Harley said. Also watch out for vinyl in products like anti-slip bathtub mats, baby play mats and place mats, and choose products made from other materials.

哈利说,如果你有乙烯基浴帘,那就改用织物制成的浴帘,这是减少家中邻苯二甲酸盐的一个简单方法。还要注意防滑浴缸垫、婴儿游戏垫和餐垫等产品中的乙烯基,改为选择其他材料制成的产品。

Avoid handling store receipts more than necessary.

避免不必要地接触购物小票。


Receipts are usually printed on thermal paper, which contains bisphenols that can be absorbed through the skin. Limiting how much you touch receipts and not allowing kids to play with them is a small step that can reduce exposure, said Joseph Braun, an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Children’s Environmental Health at Brown University.

小票通常采用的是热敏纸,其中含有可以通过皮肤吸收的双酚类物质。布朗大学儿童环境健康中心主任、流行病学家约瑟夫·布劳恩说,减少接触收据小票的次数,不要让孩子玩这些收据,这些举手之劳可以减少接触。

Reduce exposures from toys.

减少接触玩具的机会。


Phthalates used to be in soft plastic toys, but they were banned in 2008 from toys in the United States. Still, if your baby is in a stage from 6 months to a year when they want to put everything in their mouth, try to direct them toward wooden or silicone toys instead, Dr. Sathyanarayana said. Simply playing with plastic toys is fine, she added.

软塑料玩具曾经含有邻苯二甲酸盐,2008年美国禁止玩具中使用该物质。尽管如此,如果你的宝宝正处于六个月到一岁的阶段,喜欢把所有东西都往嘴里放,那就还是尽量选择木头玩具或者硅胶玩具,萨蒂亚纳拉亚纳说。她还表示,塑料玩具只是拿来玩一玩也是可以的。

Take care with personal care products.

注意个人护理产品。


Cosmetics, nail polish, shampoo, body wash, lotions and powders often contain phthalates, and use of these products may explain why women have higher phthalate levels in their bodies than men. Recent research has also found that Black and Hispanic women in the United States have greater phthalate exposure, including during pregnancy.

化妆品、指甲油、洗发水、沐浴露、乳液和粉末通常含有邻苯二甲酸盐,因为使用这些产品,所以女性体内的邻苯二甲酸盐含量高于男性。最近的研究还发现,美国黑人和西语裔女性接触邻苯二甲酸酯较多,包括在怀孕期间。

Choosing personal care products labeled “phthalate-free” or “fragrance-free” (phthalates are often found in fragrances) can significantly reduce phthalate exposure. In a 2016 study conducted by Dr. Harley and her colleagues, 100 Latina teen girls in California were provided with such low-chemical personal products for three days, and the levels of several urinary phthalate compounds dropped by 27 to 45 percent.

选择标有“不含邻苯二甲酸盐”或“不含香精”(香精中经常含有邻苯二甲酸盐)的个人护理产品,可以显著减少相关接触。在哈利和她的同事于2016年进行的一项研究中,加州的100名拉美裔少女连续三天获得的都是该化学成分较低的个人用品,结果尿液中几种邻苯二甲酸酯化合物的含量下降了27%至45%。

Keep in mind that products labeled “unscented” may still contain fragrance chemicals to cover up other smells, and aren’t guaranteed to be phthalate-free. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is a useful resource for identifying phthalate-free products.

请记住,为了掩盖其他气味,标明“无香味”的产品可能仍含有香料化学物质,并且也不能保证不含邻苯二甲酸盐。环境工作小组的皮肤深层化妆品数据库是识别无邻苯二甲酸盐产品的有用资源。

Reduce exposure to dust.

减少接触灰尘。


Phthalates can be found in glues, adhesives (such as those found on tape), carpet backings, vinyl shower curtains and floors, and other soft pliable plastics, Dr. Braun said. These chemicals can wind up in the dust in your home, and then enter the body by inhalation or absorption through the skin, or hand-to-mouth activity of babies and young children, he said.

布劳恩说,在胶水、粘合剂(如胶带上的)、地毯背衬、乙烯基浴帘和地板,以及其他柔软的塑料中都含有邻苯二甲酸盐。他表示,这些化学物质会进入家中的灰尘里,然后通过呼吸或皮肤吸收,或者通过婴幼儿的手对嘴活动进入人体。

In one 2021 study, Dr. Braun and his colleagues found that improving the homes of pregnant women so that they were easier to keep clean, like replacing broken floor tiles and refinishing wood floors, resulted in their babies having lower urinary phthalate concentrations at 1, 2 and 3 years of age when compared with children living in dustier households.

在2021年的一项研究中,布劳恩和他的同事们发现,改善孕妇的居住状况,使她们远离有害物质,比如更换破损的地砖和修补木地板,她们的婴儿在一岁、两岁和三岁时尿液中邻苯二甲酸盐的浓度会低于生活在灰尘更大的家庭中的儿童。

Dr. Braun also recommended using a vacuum cleaner outfitted with a HEPA filter; without the filter, the vacuum just blows the fine phthalate particles out the back end, he explained.

布劳恩还建议使用配备HEPA过滤器的吸尘器;他解释说,若是没有这种过滤器,吸尘器就会把细小的邻苯二甲酸盐颗粒从机器后部吹出。
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