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Phthalates Cause Inflammation in At-Risk Babies

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.
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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.

Newswise reports:

“… [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 tissues.


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Health Risks of Phthalates

Resources:
Newswise July 20, 2010
Pediatric Research August 2010; 68(2):134-9

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Mothers’ Exposer to Chemicals may Affect Boys’ Masculinity

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Elevated levels of two plastic-softening chemicals in pregnant women‘s urine are linked to less-masculine play behavior by their sons several years later, according to a study published in the International Journal of Andrology. Phthalates, which are used in everything from vinyl floors to plastic tubing and soaps and lotions, are pervasive in the environment and have increasingly become associated with changes in development of the male brain as well as with genital defects, metabolic abnormalities and reduced testosterone in babies and adults.

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A team of U.S. and British researchers posed a standard play questionnaire to the parents of 145 preschool-age children. Then they ranked the types of play on a scale from most masculine (such as play fighting or using trucks) to most feminine.

An effect was identified among the sons of women with higher concentrations of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) in their prenatal urine. On average, those boys scored 8 percent further away from the masculine end of the scale than other boys.

Resources:
The Washington Post November 24, 2009
International Journal of Andrology November 16, 2009 [Epub Ahead of Print]

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