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Home Wellness Research Birth Common Chemical May Cause Defects in Baby Boys: Pregnant Moms’ Exposure is Key.

Common Chemical May Cause Defects in Baby Boys: Pregnant Moms’ Exposure is Key.

Wednesday, 01 June 2005 00:00

For the first time, scientists have shown that pregnant mothers exposed to high but common levels of a widely used ingredient in cosmetics, fragrances, plastics, and paints can have baby boys with smaller genitals and incomplete testicular descent. The more a mother was exposed to the chemical called phthalates (THALates), the greater the chance her boy’s reproductive development would be harmed.

Andrea Dunaif, chief of endocrinology at Northwestern University, called the findings “strong evidence in humans that this endocrine-disrupting chemical is associated with changes in boys.” The changes are subtle, but male infertility rates appear to be rising, she said, and it’s hard to know if a problem is environmental or just diagnosed more often. “The public health implications are enormous.”

Environmental Health Perspectives Journal, May 29, 2005


Pathways Issue 6 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #06.

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