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Make-Up Risk For Baby Boys - Growth: Study

Friday, February 24th 2006

Baby boys are far more likely to have smaller less-developed genitals if their mothers had high levels of chemicals commonly found in cosmetics, detergents, medicines and plastics, a study has said.

The higher the levels of the chemical compound phthalates in the mothers during the final months of pregnancy, the less masculine their boys were when examined by pediatricians, said the study's lead author, Shanna Swan, a professor of reproductive epidemiology at the University of Rochester.

"We were able to show, even with a relatively small sample, that phthalate-exposed boys have an increased likelihood of a cluster of genital changes."

The infant sons of the high phthalate-level mums had more instances of smaller penises and scrotums and not properly descended testicles, according to the peer-review study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Boys of highly exposed mums were four to 10 times more likely to have reduced genital development.

The most glaring difference between exposed boys was in the anogenital distance, the measurement from the genitals to the anus. In males it is twice the size of females, and small distances have been shown in animal's studies to indicate reduced testosterone levels.

Nine of the 10 boys exposed to the highest mix of different phthalates had short anogenital distances. Only one of the 11 boys with the least phthalate exposure had a short measurement.

Scientists are concerned that these boys might go into puberty late, be infertile and contract testicular cancer because that's what rats with similar reduced anogenital distances showed, said Earl Gray, a senior research biologist at the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Phthalates are used as plasticisers, solvents, coatings and perfume fixatives.
They are in hundreds of products, including food, packaging, and coatings on time-released medicines, soap, shampoo, nail polish, hair sprays, detergents, and vinyl floor coverings.

Irene Malbin, a spokeswoman for the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, said "an extensive body of scientific research and data" shows that phthalates in cosmetics are safe.

But environmental groups have been saying otherwise for years.

"If you have a chemical out there that's shown is harming kids, you need to do something about it," said Tim Kropp, a toxicologist for the Environmental Working Group.

Source New Zealand Herald, 1 June 2005

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all Natural Cosmetics :

Karen Murrell Red Shimmer Lipstick
Karen Murrell Magenta Moon Lipstick
Karen Murrell Pink Starlet Lipstick
Karen Murrell Moisture Stick
Karen Murrell Cordovan Natural Lipstick
Antipodes Mineral Foundation Pale Pink
The Sensative Skin Collection
Lipliner - Barocco
Mascara - Black
Eyeshadow Solo - Golden Earth
Novum Bronzing Powder
Novum Cherry Lip Gloss 04
Rouge Powder 02
Translucent Make-up 02

Related health information can be found here:

Efamarine for healthy skin, hair and nails
Skin Health
Ulcers - Skin
Water, the elixir of life

Related articles can be found here:

Bacterial Vaginosis Early in Pregnancy a Strong Risk Factor for Preterm Delivery
Cosmetics Full of Suspect Chemicals
Flouride Tablets Banned
From Arsenic to Our Taps
Infants Treated With Antibiotics at Increased Risk for Atopy and Asthma
Probiotics Well Tolerated, Safe in Infant Formula
Question marks over long-term effects of Botox
Top Marks to Water-only School

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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