Navigation Links
Could Plastics Chemicals 'Feminize' Boys' Play?
Date:11/17/2009

Small study suggests a link, but others question a connection

TUESDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A new small study raises the prospect, but doesn't prove, that there's a link between pregnant women's exposure to common chemicals called phthalates and the type of toys their male children prefer to play with when they reach preschool age.

Boys with the highest potential exposures to two types of phthalates were slightly more likely to play with games and toys such as dolls that society considers more appropriate for girls, the study found.

The study was small -- it included just 74 boys -- and it's possible that factors other than phthalates could explain the differences in how the boys behaved. But its lead author, Shanna H. Swan, a University of Rochester professor of obstetrics and gynecology and environmental medicine, said it's clear that "these common chemicals have the ability to alter the development of the male fetus."

A chemical industry group, however, defended the chemicals and questioned the study.

At issue are phthalates, manmade chemicals that soften plastics and are found in a slew of products, including baby toys, shower curtains and floor coverings, Swan said. People appear to be most exposed to them through food, she said, in part because items such as milk travel through plastic tubing.

Scientists have been hotly debating whether the chemicals are dangerous. According to Swan, they reduce testosterone levels in rodents, and she suspects they may do the same thing to fetuses in the womb. Previous research she conducted suggested that high levels disrupt the development of male genitals to a small extent.

In the new study, published online Nov. 16 in the International Journal of Andrology, researchers analyzed phthalate levels in the urine of pregnant mothers and then followed up with their children when they reached preschool age.

The researchers surveyed the parents about the kids' preferences during playtime: Did they play masculine games like "cops and robbers" or feminine games like "house"? Did they play with dolls or trucks?

The boys whose mothers had the highest levels of phthalates in their urine while they were in the womb had masculinity "scores" that were 8 percent lower than those whose mothers had the lowest levels, the study reports.

Though heterosexuality in males is often linked to masculinity, Swan said the study says nothing about sexual orientation.

The research doesn't prove that more phthalates cause male children to be more feminine, and Swan acknowledged that other factors could explain the differences between the boys.

There are other caveats to the research, said Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington. The number of boys in the study is very small, she said, and it's not clear if the difference between the boys is significant.

In a statement, Steve Risotto, a senior director at the American Chemistry Council, said the study's conclusions are consistent with Swan's perspective, "which is not based on the weight of the scientific evidence surrounding the safety of phthalates."

What to do about phthalates? "The message is to be aware that there are chemicals in our homes that have the potential to affect the way our hormones function," said Kim Harley, associate director of health effects at the Center for Children's Environmental Health Research, University of California at Berkeley.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on chemicals in the workplace.



SOURCES: Shanna H. Swan, Ph.D., professor, obstetrics and gynecology and environmental medicine, and director, Center for Reproductive Epidemiology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, N.Y.; Sheela Sathyanarayana, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle; Kim Harley, Ph.D., associate director, health effects, Center for Children's Environmental Health Research, University of California at Berkeley; Nov. 16, 2009, International Journal of Andrology, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Study provides hope that some transplant patients could live free of antirejection drugs
2. Study provides hope that some transplant patients could live free of anti-rejection drugs
3. HIV denialists spread misinformation online -- consequences could be deadly; and more
4. Virus Could Help Drive Obesity
5. Discovery of sugar sensor in intestine could benefit diabetes
6. Cranberry Could Juice Up Ovarian Cancer Treatment
7. Treating Diabetes During Pregnancy Could Lead to Thinner Kids
8. High-risk behaviors could lead to HIV epidemic in Afghanistan
9. Chinas 1-child policy could backfire on its elderly
10. 1.5 million children could be saved
11. FDA Seeks to Regulate Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Products Such as Vegetable Juice Could Be Restricted for Medical Use
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... With a ... medical and food industries. Aside from its GMP accreditation, Validation Center is also ... successfully certified products, services and staff. , Validation Center is ISO17025 accredited and ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... ... There are many ways to cook a hot dog, but new research ... their dogs straight off the grill. Of the 90 percent of Americans who say ... a hot dog, far outpacing other cooking methods such as steaming (12 percent), microwaving ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... California (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2016 , ... ... associated with discovery of thousands of defective respirators, according to court documents and ... the case of William and Becky Tyler v. American Optical Corporation, Case No. ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... Georgia State University College of ... programs. , Answering to the increasing demand for curricular specializations, the Certificate in ... environmental and land use law. ,  , “The demand for lawyers with specific ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... ... On Memorial Day, Hope For Heroes and USA Medical Card ... the country. The nonprofit Hope For Heroes partnered with the leading provider of ... disabled military veterans, as well as police, firemen, and EMS professionals across the country, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... Inivata, a global clinical ... tumour DNA (ctDNA) analysis to improve personalised healthcare ... Clive Morris as Chief Medical Officer. ... development programme, scientific collaborations, and through to commercialisation ... in clinical outcomes for patients. Clive ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... --   , Study met ... cleansing and superiority in , Excellent ... of the ascending colon   , ... Norgine B.V. today announced new positive data from the phase III ... versus standard 2 litre PEG with ascorbate. The study met both ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... , May 24, 2016  Joe Marziani has joined VMS BioMarketing as senior ... executive officer, today. In his new role, Marziani will lead the company,s business development ... professionals to improve outcomes. Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160523/371089 ... ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: