New research, published today, finds that there is a link between the exposure of pregnant women to the phthalate DEHP and the development of their baby boys.
As the press release for the research states:
“Our findings show that even at low levels, environmental exposure to these ubiquitous chemicals can adversely affect male genital development, which in turn may impact male reproductive health later in life,” said Dr. Swan, who is also a faculty member of The Mindich Child Health and Development Institute at Mount Sinai. “Because most pregnant women are exposed to phthalates, our findings not only have a profound effect on public health, but on the public policies meant to protect women as well as the general population.”
Specifically, the study found that male children of mothers who were exposed to phthalates during the first trimester of pregnancy had significantly shorter anogenital distance (AGD) at birth. AGD, usually 50 to 100 percent longer in males than females, is an indicator of reproductive health. Animal and human studies have recently implicated phthalates, a class of environmentally pervasive industrial chemicals used extensively in various consumer products, including flooring, wallpaper, lacquers and personal care products, in a spectrum of male reproductive disorders, including shortened AGD.
This is the largest study to date examining the link between phthalates and AGD, with 753 infants included in the analysis.
This new research is particularly timely given that the European Commission is currently deciding whether to authorise continued, widespread, use of DEHP in PVC plastic, despite the existence of safer alternatives – see our blog post on the case for more details.
Dr Michael Warhurst, Executive Director of CHEM Trust, said:
The EU is currently deciding whether to continue to allow DEHP in PVC plastics, and unfortunately at the moment it looks like they may allow it.
This new research shows why EU regulators should put a stop to our exposure and refuse to allow industry to put this chemical in our homes.
No parent would want their baby boy exposed to a chemical that can affect their development. We know that safer alternatives are available – it’s time to get this chemical out of our lives
ENDS Europe have covered this research (as the second half of a item on Bisphenol A in till receipts):
The European Commission is currently deciding whether to approve continued use of DEHP in PVC after its phase-out date, as recommended by ECHA. NGO ChemTrust said the new research showed that the Commission should not allow this use.