Phthalates make boys less masculine
By now, we’ve seen our fare share of red flags concerning our dependence on plastics. We’re populating our oceans with giant swirling trash islands that are largely made of discarded plastic. The chemical bisphenol A, widely used in plastic bottles, has been found to reduce sex drive, and is linked to a number of diseases including diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer. Now, we have a new report about the affects of phthalates, a solvent and softener found in just about every manufactured bit of plastic on the planet. Unfortunately, as with bisphenol A, phthalates have a way of breaking down and leeching into the products that they help package. And when humans are exposed to these chemicals, funny things happen:
Exposures in the womb to a ubiquitous family of industrial chemicals can subtly perturb preferences of boys for certain types of child’s play thought to be hardwired in the brain, a new study suggests… …In this study, the greater a boys fetal exposure to phthalates, the less often he tended to engage in typically masculine play.
Our reliance on plastics is turning out to be a pretty scary lesson in the law of unintended consequences.