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Use of personal care products associated with higher levels phthalate
Feb '08
Babies recently treated with infant personal care products such as lotion, shampoo, and powder, were more likely to have manmade chemicals called phthalates in their urine than other babies, according to University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute study appearing in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Phthalates (pronounced "thah-lates") are added to many personal care and cosmetic products, as well many common household plastic and vinyl products, and some studies suggest they may affect reproductive development in humans.

Animal-based studies of phthalates have found that the synthetic chemicals can harm reproductive system development, and studies in humans have found that prenatal exposure or exposure through breast milk can alter hormone concentrations. Early-childhood exposure has not been extensively studied, so additional research is needed to determine if phthalate exposure can indeed cause reproductive development problems or other adverse effects in infants.

In this study, the researchers set out to see if use of personal care products was associated with urine phthalate concentrations. To accomplish this, they collected urine samples from 163 infants aged 2 months to 28 months, and measured the levels of nine different phthalates in those urine samples. They also had the babies' mothers fill out questionnaires on their use of infant personal care products in the past 24 hours.

When they cross-referenced the data, they found that the use of baby powder, lotion, and shampoo were each strongly associated with higher phthalate levels in the urine. The use of baby wipes and diaper cream were not strongly associated with increased levels of phthalates.

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