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SCIENCE: Phthalates and reproductive hormone levels in fetal blood

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A new Japanese study examined the association between the exposure in utero to phthalates and reproductive hormone levels in cord blood.

514 pregnant females were enrolled in this study and their blood samples analysed for Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), a major phthalate compounds used in production in Japan.

The study found that maternal DEHP exposure could negatively correlate with the levels of reproductive hormones. Another observation was that these associations were more pronounced in male than in female infants.

The researchers conclude that further investigations of other phthalates in comprehensive studies as well as long-term effects on reproductive development are needed.

The study has been published in the Journal PlosOne

More information:

Araki A, Mitsui T, Miyashita C, Nakajima T, Naito H, Ito S, Sasaki S, Cho K, Ikeno T, Nonomur. Association between Maternal Exposure to di(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate and Reproductive Hormone Levels in Fetal Blood: The Hokkaido Study on Environment and Children’s Health.

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How phthalate exposure impacts pregnancy

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In recent years, scientists have linked chemicals known as phthalates with complications of pregnancy and fetal development. Phthalates are chemicals used to make plastic materials more flexible and can also be found in personal care products such as perfumes, deodorants and lotions. They can enter the human body by being ingested, inhaled or through the skin. Most often phthalates are metabolized and excreted quickly, but constant contact with them means that nearly everyone in the United States is exposed, some more than others.

Read more at Science Daily.

PVC pipe

Residents Sue National Pipe (PVC) NY

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Nearly 50 Endicott, NY residents have banded together in a lawsuit filed last week against National Pipe & Plastics, accusing the manufacturer of having “devastated the neighborhood” where it opened a new plant earlier this year.  The lawsuit claims noise and odors wafting from the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe manufacturing plant at 15 Mills Ave. have created an “ongoing public nuisance” to residents of the West Endicott neighborhood.

Read more.

Human exposure to BPA can come from water bottles and food containers.

EPA Adds 23 Chemicals, Including BPA, to Key List for Scrutiny, Possible Action

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On October 23rd, the EPA added 23 chemicals, including BPA, seven phthalates and two flame retardants to a key list of chemicals that may be subject to stricter regulation.

Human exposure to BPA can come from water bottles and food containers.

The chemicals on this list all have properties that make them particularly hazardous, whether they are used in children’s products, have been linked to cancer, or are particularly environmentally persistent.

The EPA also removed 15 chemicals from the list.

Read the full story at Bloomberg News.

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Plastics chemical linked to changes in baby boys’ genitals

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Environmental Health News

Oct. 29, 2014

Boys exposed in the womb to high levels of a chemical found in vinyl products are born with slightly altered genital development, according to research published today.

The study of nearly 200 Swedish babies is the first to link the chemical di-isononyl phthalate (DiNP) to changes in the development of the human male reproductive tract.

Previous studies of baby boys in three countries found that a similar plastics chemical, DEHP, was associated with the same type of changes in their genitalia.

Less is known about the reproductive risks of DiNP, a chemical which scientists say may be replacing DEHP in many products such as vinyl toys, flooring and packaging. In mice, high levels block testosterone and alter testicular development.

“Our data suggest that this substitute phthalate may not be safer than the chemical it is replacing,” wrote the researchers, led by Carl-Gustaf Bornehag at Sweden’s Karlstad University, in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Levels of DiNP in U.S. adults and children have more than doubled in the past decade.

Ray Dumas/flickr
Phthalate chemicals found in vinyl products have been linked to altered genital development in baby boys.

“This study raises concern about DiNP, which is being used in increased amounts in products that contain vinyl plastics, and the impact on the developing fetus,” said Dr. Russ Hauser, a professor of environmental and occupational epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health who is not involved in the new study.

The researchers measured metabolites of five phthalates in the urine of pregnant women during the first trimester. Development of male reproductive organs begins during that period, said senior study author Shanna Swan, a professor of reproductive science at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

The researchers then measured the anogenital distance – the length between the anus and the genitals – when the boys were on average 21 months old. Boys who had been exposed to the highest levels of DiNP in the womb averaged a distance that was slightly shorter – about seven-hundredths of an inch – than the boys with the lowest exposures.

“These were really subtle changes,” Swan said.

Considered a sign of incomplete masculinization, shortened anogenital distance in men has been associated with abnormal testicular development and reduced semen quality and fertility. In men, this measurement is typically 50 to 100 percent longer than in women.

But it’s unknown whether a slightly shorter distance in infants corresponds with any fertility problems later in life.

“More research is needed to understand the extent to which shorter anogenital distance at birth is associated with impaired reproductive function later in life in humans,” said Emily Barrett, a reproductive health scientist at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

For other phthalates, the study found shorter anogenital distance with higher concentrations, but the findings were not statistically significant, meaning they may have been due to chance. The Swedish women in the new study had phthalate levels similar to U.S. women in Swan’s previous studies. Those studies, published in 2005 and 2008, linked several phthalates to shorter anogenital distance.

Thomas van Ardenne
Pregnant women may be exposed to phthalates through food or through skin contact with home products.

A spokesperson for the American Chemistry Council, a group representing chemical manufacturers, said the study “reports small changes that are associated with exposure to DiNP” but does not prove that the chemical caused the changes.

The spokesperson said the new findings “seem to contradict” the authors’ earlier findings as well as two other studies that found no association between DiNP and men’s anogenital distance. In addition, the study is based on a single urine sample from the mothers. As a result, the “plausibility is low,” the industry group said. “To demonstrate causal associations in the field of epidemiology, there are criteria that should be evaluated and considered…We found that this study scores low for many important considerations.”

The industry group did not answer questions about what types of products DiNP is used in. The scientists said exposures to the chemical can come from food or through skin contact with home furnishings or child-care articles.

In 2008, the United States temporarily banned use of DiNP and two other phthalate plasticizers in toys and other children’s products. “This ban does nothing to protect the developing fetus,” Swan said.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommended in July to make the ban permanent and urged that “U.S. agencies responsible for dealing with DiNP exposures from food and other products conduct the necessary risk assessments.”

While it’s nearly impossible to eliminate exposure to phthalates, Swan suggested that pregnant women may be able to reduce their exposures by incorporating unprocessed, unpackaged foods into the diet and by avoiding heating or storing foods in plastic containers.

Read the original story at Environmental Health News.

Follow Lindsey Konkel on Twitter.

EHN welcomes republication of our stories, but we require that publications include the author’s name and Environmental Health News at the top of the piece, along with a link back to EHN’s version.

For questions or feedback about this piece, contact Editor in Chief Marla Cone at mcone@ehn.org.

 

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Credit: Anthony Berenyi | Shutterstock

BPA Exposure During Pregnancy Linked to Lung Problems in Children

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A new study reports that children of women who are exposed to BPA during pregnancy may face an increased risk of lung problems. Read more from Agata Blaszczak-Boxe at LiveScience.com

Credit: Anthony Berenyi | Shutterstock


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Global PVC Market 2014-2018

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Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is one of the most widely used plastics across the world. Properties such as lightweight, high mechanical strength, abrasion resistance, and toughness make PVC a widely used material in the Construction, Packaging, Automotive, and Electrical industries.

PVC is widely used in consumer products and building. Image from iplasticsupply.com


PVC is extensively used in many products, such as pipes and fittings, rigid films, rigid plates, cables and wires, flooring, automotive parts, and packaging. It has an excellent cost to performance ratio, and hence, it is very popular among all consumer segments.

For more information please click on:  http://www.researchandmarkets.com/publication/mw88f4j/global_pvc_market_20142018

Photo by Ashley L. Conti | Bangor Daily News

Chemical safety advocacy group protests against LePage in Bangor

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Photo by Ashley L. Conti | Bangor Daily News

A 25-foot-long yellow inflatable duck has been drawing attention to chemical regulation in Bangor, Maine. The “Fear the Beard” campaign was launched by members of Prevent Harm, a public health political advocacy group, to protest against Governor Paul LePage’s history of lax chemical regulation. The name of the campaign stems from LePage’s comments in 2011 that the worst possible impacts from BPA would be that some women “may have little beards” – a reference to the chemical’s endocrine-disrupting properties, which may cause effects ranging from cancer to infertility.


“We’re out here today with our little beards [on sticks] to make sure that our next governor will put Maine kids ahead of the chemical industry, not the other way around,” Emma Halas-O’Connor, Prevent Harm advocacy manager, said.

Read more from Nok-Noi Ricker at Bangor Daily News.

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This isn’t a trick: Toxic chemicals in Halloween costumes

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Parents across the country are stocking up on this year’s hottest costumes for their little ghouls, goblins, and princesses, but some costumes may contain hidden toxic chemicals harmful to our children’s health. I wish I were tricking you.

A new study released today by HealthyStuff.org found elevated levels of toxic chemicals in popular Halloween costumes, accessories and even “trick or treat” bags.  Dangerous chemicals like phthalates, flame retardants, vinyl (PVC) plastic, organotins, and even lead.  

TAKE ACTION: Tell big retailers – our children deserve a safe toxic-free Halloween.

They tested 105 types of Halloween gear for chemicals linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity and cancer.  The products were purchased from top national retailers including CVS, Kroger, Party City, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens.

These chemicals have no place in products for our little ones.  For instance they found high levels of flame retardants in “trick or treat” bags, and a toddler Batman costume that contained very high levels of phthalates, and even lead in the lining of the mask. 

We know that big retailers can do better.  In fact the new testing also shows that many Halloween products do not contain dangerous substances, proving that safer products can be made.  

Join us and send a message to retailers today. It’s time they “Mind the Store” and get these toxic chemicals out of products once and for all.

Photo by Lynne Peeples

Why Some Skin Care Products And Those Thermal Receipts May Be A Troubling Combination

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Photo by Lynne Peeples

“Those little slips of paper that accumulate in our pockets and purses may do more than just document recent take-out meals, pumpkin

spice lattes and shopping sprees. Receipts, according to a small study published Wednesday, could also deliver a potentially harmful rush of hormone-scrambling chemicals into our bodies.”

Read more from Lynne Peeples at the Huffington Post