Azara Blog: Phthalates are allegedly evil chemicals

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Date published: 2005/05/28

The BBC says:

Chemicals found in many everyday products can harm male reproductive development, research suggests.

Phthalates are used in the manufacture of plastics, lubricants and solvents, and are found in cosmetics, medical equipment, toys, paints and packaging.

The University of Rochester team, New York, found exposure to the chemicals was linked to a higher risk of genital abnormalities in baby boys.

The study features in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Previous research on animals has suggested phthalates may damage reproductive development by disrupting hormone levels.

But until now evidence of a similar effect on humans has proved inconclusive.

The Rochester team, who examined 134 boys, found women with higher levels of phthalate-related chemicals in their blood were more likely to give birth to boys with undescended, or small testicles, small penises, or a shorter distance than usual between the genitals and anus.
The conservation group WWF, which campaigns against harmful environmental chemicals, described the findings as "startling".

Gwynne Lyons, toxics advisor to WWF UK, said: "This research highlights the need for tougher controls of gender bending chemicals.

"At the moment regulation of the chemicals industry is woefully inadequate, and something needs to be done about this immediately."

One assumes the scientists did the research properly and made sure there was no correlation with any other chemicals (and of course, correlation does not prove causation, although the case here would on first sight be strong). The WWF makes the expected comments, presumably describing all findings that support their anti-chemical campaign as "startling". And is there any cause they support where they don't say "something needs to be done immediately".

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