Phthalates and pregnancy

By: Allison Hydzik and Tim Betler

Nearly the entire U.S. population has evidence of a pervasive class of chemicals called phthalates in their bodies. Because phthalates – which are found in a wide range of products, including cosmetics, food packaging and furniture – can affect hormones, researchers are particularly concerned about their impact on pregnant women and their developing fetuses.

Jennifer Adibi, Sc.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, examined data from hundreds of mothers and their babies. Her team found that found that phthalates may be altering levels of a pregnancy hormone that influences sex development in the baby.