Blurring Sex

Feminizing Chemicals Impair Intellect, Wreck Reproduction And Expose To Cancer

Blurring Sex. Healthy Living Magazine

Blurring Sex. Healthy Living Magazine

We don’t want unbending worlds. Imagine a world where everything made from polyvinyl chloride from gloves and hoses to plastic wrap was as solid as sewer pipe— and just as unbending—and you would be living without phthalates. Phthalates belong to a family of petrochemicals known as plasticizers and are used to make plastics more malleable; lotions penetrable into the skin, hair and other surfaces; and fragrances adhere to formulas and bodies. Although plasticizers were derived from castor and camphor in the 19th century (cellulose nitrate), the first widespread use of phthalates from petroleum sources came in the 1920s.

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In the sense that phthalates are used for our favorite toys, to extend the aromatic powers of fragrances and lotions, form electrical wire insulation and with garden tools, they’re quite desirable and necessary. But there’s also a dark side.

blurring sex distinctions

Phthalates do not stay put in formulas and tend to migrate into the air and surfaces of the environment. They can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin and eaten, and their accumulation in our tissues is causing scientific concern about the long-term health effects.

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In 2005, a study linked phthalates to biologically disturbing reproductive outcomes among male babies. Dr Shanna Swan found that exposure during pregnancy caused decreased anogenital distance in baby males. The baby boys of mothers with highest phthalates were seven times more likely to have shortened anogenital distance. Although this might not seem like a big deal and probably goes unheeded by almost every delivery room doctor, the measurement is used as a biological marker of fetal exposure to endocrine disruptors in animals. Decreased anogenital distance indicates a chemical blurring of malefemale sexual physiology (e.g., Missouri River sturgeon and Florida panthers are both having a difficult time sustaining their populations much less figuring out who is male and who is female). Other studies have linked these chemicals to undescended testicles in baby boys.

exposure lessens male behavior

Dr Swan published a paper in the November 2009 issue of the International Journal of Andrology titled “Prenatal phthalate exposure and reduced masculine play in boys” that said the results of studies “... suggest that prenatal exposure to antiandrogenic phthalates may be associated with less male-typical play behaviour in boys ... [and] ... suggest that these ubiquitous environmental chemicals have the potential to alter androgen-responsive brain development in humans.”

Put another way, they’re feminizing males from brain to testicles.

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A 2013 review of past studies concluded phthalates act as anti-androgens in adult men.

male feminizers impair intellect

Besides these sexuality effects, it can get even worse. The blurry sexuality is also dumber; in one study, intellectual impairment in phthalate-exposed babies could be detected in children at birth and later at age seven.

5 Phthalate-Laced Cleaners

The International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health finds that women who use certain household cleaning products are likely to have the highest levels of phthalates during pregnancy. The urine of 391 Spanish pregnant women was measured for nine different phthalates.

The use of five household cleaning products (see sidebar) at least once per week during pregnancy was associated with 10-44% higher levels of urinary phthalates. These factors predicted phthalates better than water and food consumption.

5 Products To Watch Out For

• Bleach

• Ammonia

• Glass cleaners

• Oven cleaning sprays

• Degreasing material

Phthalate factors

Also linked with higher levels: “overweight, lower education and social class and less frequent consumption of organic food.”

self protection

Home Depot announced in April it would stop selling vinyl flooring containing phthalates. Lumber Liquidators also took the pledge. But these moves don’t address the fact that phthalates are found in other types of goods like household cleaners, cosmetics and toys. As for cleaners, Women’s Voices for the Earth commissioned laboratory analyses of household products and found phthalates in Glade Tough Odor Solutions with Oust Air Sanitizer® and Simple Green Naturals Multi-Surface Care®.

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A lot more research needs to be done to identify specific brands of products with and without phthalates. Based on a review, the following brands have eliminated phthalates: Biokleen, Dr. Bronner, Earth Friendly Products, greenshield organic and Seventh Generation.

ReferencesAlbert O, Jegou B. (2013). A critical assessment of the endocrine susceptibility of the human testis to phthalates from fetal life to adulthood. Hum Reprod Update 20 (2): 231. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmt050. PMID 24077978. Barrett JR. (2005). Phthalates and Baby Boys: Potential Disruption of Human Genital Development. Environ Health Perspect 113 (8): A542. doi:10.1289/ehp.113- a542a. PMC 1280383. Factor-Litvak P, Insel B, Calafat AM, Liu X, Perera F, Rauh V A, Whyatt RM. (2014). Persistent Associations between Maternal Prenatal Exposure to Phthalates on Child IQ at Age 7 Years. PLoS ONE9 (12): e114003. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114003. PMC 4262205. PMID 25493564. Swan SH, Main KM, Liu F, Stewart SL, Kruse RL, Calafat AM, Mao CS, Redmon JB, Ternand CL, Sullivan S, Teague JL (Aug 2005). Decrease in Anogenital Distance among Male Infants with Prenatal Phthalate Exposure. Environ Health Perspect.113 (8): 1056–1061. doi:10.1289/ehp.8100. PMC 1280349. PMID 16079079 Valvi D, Monfort N, Ventura R, Casas M, Casas L, Sunyer J, Vrijheid M. Variability and predictors of urinary phthalate metabolites in Spanish pregnant women. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2015 Mar;218(2):220-231. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2014.11.003. E-pub 2014 Dec 3.
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