Phthalates Linked to Heart Rhythm Disruptions

The hospital is where people go to improve their health conditions–and to save their lives. But a new medical science study has just revealed in some cases the use of plastic medical equipment containing phthalates may be doing the opposite. More specifically, phthalates leaching into the bloodstream from plastic medical equipment appears to contribute or trigger arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms) in vulnerable patients.


“Existing epidemiological research shows associations between exposure to phthalates and adverse health outcomes, including metabolic disturbances, reproductive disorders, inflammatory conditions, neurological disorders and cardiovascular disease.”  The present study investigated the role of phthalates on cardiac health.


– In a new medical science study researchers simulated medical settings and examined the role plastic exposure with phthalates (MEHP) has on heart rhythm disruptions and arrhythmias.

– Previous studies have confirmed that phthalates (DEHP, MEHP) act as hormone disruptors, mimicking hormones in the body and disrupting normal functioning.

– Previous studies have also confirmed that phthalates can leach into the bloodstream from various sources including medical equipment such as blood storage bags, tubing and catheters.

– This exposure may be particularly profound in patients undergoing complex medical procedures, including pediatric and neonatal patients.

– Exposure to these phthalates is up to 25x higher in patients undergoing complex medical procedures than exposure to phthalates from home products, children’s toys, personal care products/cosmetics and food packaging.

– The results of this study confirmed that hospital patients had phthalates enter their bloodstreams through various pieces of medical equipment (like flexible tubing) and had an increase in risk to cardiac health such as experiencing heart rhythm disruptions/arrhythmias.


Researchers call for more research and a proactive effort to change the type of plastics used for medical equipment such that they do not leach phthalates into patients’ bloodstreams.



Journal Reference: Rafael Jaimes, Damon McCullough, Bryan Siegel, Luther Swift, Daniel McInerney, James Hiebert, Erick A. Perez-Alday, Beatriz Trenor, Jiansong Sheng, Javier Saiz, Larisa G Tereshchenko, Nikki Gillum Posnack. Plasticizer Interaction With the Heart. Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, 2019; 12 (7).  Overview / Study DOI: 10.1161/CIRCEP.119.007294