Researchers have identified a direct link between substances that make plastics more pliable, and inflammation in newborns. They are encouraging limiting the use of the plasticizers.
Premature babies are exposed to extraordinarily high concentrations of phthalates due to exposure to plastic medical equipment used during neonatal intensive care.
Many of the diseases unique to premature babies, including the lung disorder bronchopulmonary dysplasia and the intestinal ailment necrotizing enterocolitis, are associated with excessive inflammation.
"... [There is] direct evidence that the presence of phthalates prolongs the survival of white blood cells, which supports the idea that they are contributing to damage and to inflammation ... phthalates encourage cells to produce hydrogen peroxide, which ... can kill cells and damage tissue."