In a new study, researchers found common household products contain chemicals that are linked to a higher risk of heart disease and cancer.
The chemicals are dichlorophenols (DCPs) that can be found in deodorizers, antibacterial additives, and even chlorinated drinking water.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Minnesota.
Previous research has found that DCPs can disrupt hormone systems, but it is unknown how the chemicals are linked to cancer and heart disease.
In the current study, the team focused on two types of DCPs (2,5-DCP and 2,4-DCP).
They examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
NHANES is a program of the National Center for Health Statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The researchers surveyed 3,617 participants and collect information from their self-reported history of illness and urine tests that estimated their exposure to DCPs.
Previous NHANES research showed that 81% of people tested positive for the presence of 2,4-DCP and 2,5-DCP in urine tests.
In the current study, the team found that exposure to these chemicals was linked to a higher prevalence of heart disease and cancer.
Higher urinary 2,5-DCP concentrations were linked to a greater prevalence of heart disease and a greater prevalence of all cancers combined.
In addition, participants with higher concentrations of 2,5-DCP and 2,4-DCP in their body tended to be obese.
The team did not found associations between 2,5-DCP and lung diseases (e.g., asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema), thyroid problems or liver conditions.
The team hopes their findings will increase awareness of DCPs and other chemicals that may potentially make people sick.
The researchers recommend that environmental health researchers should continue examining the effects of DCP exposure.
It is important to determine if and how the chemicals actually cause such diseases in people.
The lead author is Ph.D. candidate Mary Rooney.
The study is published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
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