Mothers exposed to phthalates during pregnancy may give birth to boys with incomplete genital development and impaired testicular function.
Shanna Swan, a professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, authored a study recently, testing 106 expecting mothers’ urine for pthalates. They also looked at their babies at 12 months old, and found a correlation between the levels of pthalates in the mother’s body and certain physical traits, such as undescended testicles, smaller penis, and immature genital development.
Phthalates are an endocrine disruptor found in many everyday items, from PVC shower curtains to furniture to personal care products. Endocrine disruptors are seen by the body as hormones, and interfere with normal development, starting in the womb. If a male baby is exposed to something that lowers testosterone through interference, proper reproductive system growth doesn’t happen.
However, the American Chemistry Council says this about phthalates:
In their long history of use in consumer products, there has never been any reliable evidence that the phthalates found in nail polish, or in any other cosmetics, have ever caused anyone any harm. Using estimates of the average amounts of DBP found in nail polish, if a person were to absorb all the DBP in almost five bottles of nail polish, or all the DEP in two quarts of perfume, every day, the resultant exposure would still be a level at which no effect is seen in laboratory animals.
I mean, really. What else are they going to say… “Our products are harmful.”? They lobby for the guys selling us this crap!
What can we do to reduce our phthalate exposure?
- The Environmental Working Group has a Parent’s Buying Guide for children’s products.
- Pollution in People has a guide to Less Toxic Product Choices.
- Read labels closely.
- Avoid all PVC products
- Avoid any product that lists “fragrance” as an ingredient.
Some common phthalates to look for and avoid:
- DEP (diethyl phthalate) – personal care products, like nail polish, perfumes, shampoos, deodorants and lotions)
- DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) and DEP (diethyl phthalate) – in personal care products
- DEHP (di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) – from PVC plastics
- BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate) – vinyl flooring, car and personal care products.
- DMP (dimethyl phthalate) is used in insect repellent and some plastics (as well as rocket propellant).
More posts about Toxic Chemicals:
- Toxic Teens: Common Cosmetics Chemicals Alter Hormones, Disrupt Puberty
- New Study Finds High Levels of Toxic Fire Retardants in Children’s Blood
- 10 Ways To Avoid Toxic Plastic – BPA, Synthetic Estrogens and Your Child
- More Bad News: Your Child’s Car Seat May Be Toxic
Image: Public Domain Wikimedia Commons