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Plastic Exposure May Lead to Premature Delivery

Phthalates are widely used in plastic products such as food containers and wraps to add flexibility. They are also used in skin softeners and moisturizers, nail polishes, insect repellants, shower curtains, hairsprays, building products and more. Because phthalates leach out of these products, they've become a ubiquitous environmental contaminant. The potential toxic effects of phthalates on the developing fetus is unknown at this point, but it would certainly seem prudent to limit exposure to these materials. The effects of these chemicals on the endocrine system, particularly during pregnancy, breastfeeding and childhood, are very disturbing. It would likely be wise for pregnant women, or those who may become pregnant, to avoid exposure to phthalates if at all possible.

Inhaling polluted urban air appears to be a significant route of exposure. This counters the general belief that ingestion of contaminated food products is the most significant exposure pathway and suggests that inhalation and possibly dermal absorption may also be determining a woman's exposure. This is clearly a powerful motivation to choose a place to live that is minimally polluted.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences November 4, 2003

second study

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