The chemical DEHP, a phthalate used widely in household plastics, may change how rat heart cells use energy, according to a new study by George Washington University, in the District of Columbia. By shifting heart cells to depend on fatty acids as an energy source more than usual, DEHP may ultimately increase the long-term risk of heart attack and heart failure.
The findings raise concerns about similar effects of plasticizers in humans. Earlier work from the same research team reported that DEHP causes irregular rhythms in cultured heart cells. DEHP is frequently used for medical blood bags and tubing and is found in foods packaged in plastics, especially fatty foods like milk products, oils and fish or seafood.