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I found this article while trying to find a new rhuemy (mine recently retired). I was shocked:eek: by what I read. I hope this link works.


http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/538287Do plastics trigger lupus?
Janis Kelly

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Terre Haute, IN - Phthalates, the "plasticizers" that soften plastics, form the enteric coatings of many medications, and give some cosmetics a special feel, are ubiquitous in the modern environment, and phthalate exposure is starting to worry public-health experts. Data reported in May 2005 link maternal phthalate levels to genital abnormalities in male children [ 1 ]. Now Drs So-Yun Lim and Swapan K Ghosh (Indiana State University, Terre Haute) report in the August 2005 issue of the Journal of Autoimmunity that phthalates also can trigger systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in genetically susceptible mice [ 2 ].

"Our findings clearly suggest that lupus can be caused by an environmental factor like phthalate, which is present in toys, in many other plastic products, including PVC pipes, in medical devices, and in beauty products," Ghosh tells rheuma wire.




All phthalate isomers can induce autoantibodies
Our findings clearly suggest that lupus can be caused by an environmental factor like phthalate, which is present in toys, in many other plastic products, including PVC pipes, in medical devices, and in beauty products.
The search for lupus triggers has largely focused on infectious agents such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), but the phthalate data suggest that chemical triggers might also play a role. Lupus patients have abnormally high EBV viral loads in blood [ 3 , 4 ], and molecular mimicry between EBV antigens and "self" antigens may contribute to the development of autoantibodies that cause clinical symptoms such as leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and renal dysfunction [ 4 ]. Lim and Ghosh report that a similar process of molecular mimicry accounts for the anti-DNA antibodies induced by exposure to phthalates.

In a series of experiments, the researchers discovered that phthalates induce serum anti-self DNA antibodies in several mouse strains. These antibodies have a striking homology with the anti-DNA antibody BV04-01 isolated from lupus-prone NZB/W F1 mice [ 5 ].

Some mouse strains, such as BALB/c, develop the autoantibodies but are basically unharmed by them. The investigators discovered that the resistant mice produce autoreactive CD8+ cytotoxic (suppressor) T cells that quickly bring the autoantibody-producing B cells under control [ 6 ].







Dr Swapan K Ghosh (Source: Indiana State University)






Lim and Ghosh's third set of studies show that all phthalate isomers studied are able to induce anti-DNA antibodies in all of the mice tested, but with different long-term effects [ 2 ]. Kidney pathology worsens in lupus-susceptible mouse strains, but resistant strains are able to overcome the harmful autoimmune reaction. They deploy suppressor T cells to downregulate B-cell production of the autoantibodies. However, in lupus-susceptible mice, the autoimmune reaction continues unabated, resulting in major kidney damage and other SLE-like effects.

Ghosh emphasizes that these data require confirmation in additional animal studies and in humans, but he expects to find similar processes at work. "Since the mouse system is a model for immunology studies in humans, it seems likely that the same events may occur in humans who are susceptible to lupus," he says.

Ghosh tells rheuma wire that his group has begun work on interventions that might prevent development of the anti-DNA antibodies in mice exposed to phthalates and that "preliminary results are encouraging."

Meanwhile, however, Ghosh and some of his colleagues are working at reducing their own exposure to phthalates. "We have been so flooded with plastic products, and relatively little is known about the effects of the phthalates that leach out of these compounds. Baby bottles are now plastic. Our drinking water is carried in PVC pipes. Even synthetic fibers in clothing contain phthalates. I try to avoid exposure as much as possible. I try not to wear polyester shirts. And I note that Congress is considering legislation to require more safety information about many compounds, including phthalates," Ghosh says.

Phthalate exposure has also been linked to allergic rhinitis and asthma in children [ 7 ], with decreased pulmonary function in adult males [ 8 ], and with reduced sperm motility and concentrations [ 9 ].





US Congress seeks tighter regulation of phthalates
Public concern about exposure to possibly dangerous chemicals appears to be increasing in the US following reports by Swan et al on the effects of maternal phthalate exposure and the recently released US Centers for Disease Control report on human exposure to environmental chemicals [ 10 ]. About one quarter of US women have urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations above those linked to male fetal genital abnormalities in the Swan study, and the CDC exposure report shows that women have higher levels than men for eight of the 12 phthalates studied, an interesting finding in view of the female predominance of SLE.

On July 13, 2005, several heavy-hitting US senators (including Frank R Lautenberg [D-NJ] and Hillary R Clinton [D-NY]) introduced the Child, Worker, and Consumer Safe Chemicals Act (S1391), designed to "reduce the exposure of children, workers, and consumers to toxic chemical substances." This legislation would empower the U S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require chemical manufacturers and processors to conduct and report safety tests on many compounds used in consumer products, rather than assuming a substance is safe until proven dangerous.

Most people assume that those chemicals have been proven safe for their families and children. Unfortunately, that assumption is wrong.
"Every day, Americans use household products that contain hundreds of chemicals," said Lautenberg. "Most people assume that those chemicals have been proven safe for their families and children. Unfortunately, that assumption is wrong."

The new legislation would require the EPA to determine the safety of the 300 chemicals of greatest concern within the next four years. By 2020 all chemicals distributed in commerce would need to meet the safety standard. Phthalates are widely expected to make the short list if the bill passes.

The bill would dramatically change the way more than 82,000 chemicals are regulated in the US. It is modeled on the controversial European REACH (registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals) proposal now at final stage of adoption before the European Parliament. Both moves shift the burden of proof from the regulatory authorities to the chemical manufacturer (which would be required to test and report toxicity and safe exposure levels).

As might be expected, the manufacturers are not delighted by this prospect. A statement from the American Chemistry Council charges that the proposed act "appears to be based on inaccurate assumptions about the current regulatory framework, ignores time-honored scientific findings, and duplicates existing regulations. The bill appears designed to make it easy to ban essential and often life-saving products without considering the benefits these products provide."

Clinton replies, "We lack the most basic information about the hundreds of chemicals that children are exposed to in the products we use every day. This legislation helps protect kids by requiring manufacturers to provide health and safety information prior to distributing a chemical in consumer products, instead of using kids and others as guinea pigs by presuming a substance is safe until proven dangerous."





Sources

1. Swan SH, Main KM, Liu F, et al. Decrease in anogenital distance among male infants with prenatal phthalate exposure. Environ Health Perspect 2005; 113:1056-1061.

2. Lim S-Y, Ghosh SK. Autoreactive responses to environmental factors: 3. Mouse strain-specific differences in induction and regulation of anti-DNA antibody responses due to phthalate-isomers. J Autoimmun 2005; 25:33-45.

3. Moon UY, Park SJ, Oh ST, et al. Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus have abnormally elevated Epstein-Barr virus load in blood. Arthritis Res Ther 2004; 6(4):R295-R302.

4. McClain MT, Heinlen LD, Dennis GJ, et al. Early events in lupus humoral autoimmunity suggest initiation through molecular mimicry. Nat Med 2005; 11:85-89.

5. Lim SY, Ghosh SK. Autoreactive responses to an environmental factor: 1. Phthalate induces antibodies exhibiting anti-DNA specificity. Immunology 2003; 110:482-492.

6. Lim SY, Ghosh SK. Autoreactive responses to an environmental factor. 2. Phthalate-induced anti-DNA specificity is downregulated by autoreactive cytotoxic T cells. Immunology 2004; 112:94-104.

7. Bornehag CG, Sundell J, Weschler CJ, et al. The association between asthma and allergic symptoms in children and phthalates in house dust: a nested case-control study. Environ Health Perspect 2004; 112:1393-1397.

8. Hoppin JA, Ulmer R, London SJ. Phthalate exposure and pulmonary function. Environ Health Perspect 2004; 112:571-574.

9. Duty SM, Silva MJ, Barr DB, et al. Phthalate exposure and human semen parameters. Epidemiology 2003; 14:269-277.

10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005. Available at www.cdc.gov/exposurereport.







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Authors and Disclosures
Author(s)
Janis Kelly
Janis Kelly is a freelance writer for Medscape. She has been a medical journalist since 1976, with extensive work in rheumatology, immunology, neurology, sports medicine, AIDS and infectious diseases, oncology, and respiratory medicine.
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Authors and Disclosures
Janis Kelly
Janis Kelly is a freelance writer for Medscape. She has been a medical journalist since 1976, with extensive work in rheumatology, immunology, neurology, sports medicine, AIDS and infectious diseases, oncology, and respiratory medicine.


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afraid it doesnt work it asks you to log in xxx
 

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I had read that article or a similar one a few years ago. I do believe that all these new chemicals being produced in the last few decades probably do contribute to a lot of the different and increasing disorders we have today in children and adults.

Thanks for posting it!
 

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I'm currently reading a book that discusses how environmental toxins are contributing to an increase in autoimmune disorders. It's titled The Autoimmune Epidemic: Bodies Gone Haywire In A World Out Of Balance And The Cutting-Edge Science That Promises Hope by Donna Jackson Nakazawa, a highly respected journalist who is diagnosed with several autoimmune diseases, with contributions and/or endorsements from physicians and scientists at NIH and Johns Hopkins, among others, c.2008. Well researched, easy to read, with many case histories. I highly recommend it.

Also, the seventh edition of Dubois' Lupus Erythematosusc. 2007, discusses how certain drugs and environmental toxins can cause lupus in susceptible people. While there are some sections that only someone with a medical background would understand, most of the book is easily understood, especially if you already have some knowledge about lupus and/or other autoimmune disorders. I learned more from this book than all of the previous material I have read on the subject combined. Reading the book also helped me understand things from my physicians' perspective.

I was able to obtain both books through my public library. I obtained the Dubois book via interlibrary loan from a medical library at a teaching hospital.

Barb
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I haven't heard of those books, so thanks for letting all of us know about them:). The first one you listed is very interesting to me, I like to read about the case history of other people.......I seem to learn a lot more that way.
 
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