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Many Babies Exposed to Chemicals
Date:2/4/2008

Evidence of phthalates found in urine after using shampoo, lotion and powder, study shows

MONDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- More than 80 percent of infants tested in a new study had been exposed to a potentially harmful group of chemicals known as phthalates.

Exactly what this means in terms of infant health isn't yet clear, however. Some animal studies have found these substances to be harmful to development, and one study on human infants found an association between exposure to a particular phthalate and male reproductive problems. Because the exact effects on the developing body aren't known, the researchers suggest limiting the use of products that contain these chemicals in infants as much as possible. Baby lotion, baby shampoo and baby powder were all linked to phthalate exposure in the study.

"Right now, we still don't know the true long-term effects," said study author Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, an acting assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of Washington, Seattle. But, she added, it's probably a good idea to "decrease the amounts of products used, especially in newborns."

Phthalates are a group of widely used chemicals that make plastic softer and help stabilize fragrance in personal care products. These chemicals are found in children's toys, infant care products, cosmetics, food packaging, vinyl flooring, blood storage containers and more, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Exposure to phthalates occurs when you use a product containing them, from breathing household dust containing phthalates, from medical treatments like dialysis that use products with phthalates, and from living near a manufacturing facility that uses phthalates, according to the CDC. Phthalates are banned from use in personal care products and in some toys in Europe.

For the current study, the researchers looked for nine different metabolites of phtha
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