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Phthalates, Sperm, and Miscarriages

 More and more negative news about phthalates: men with greater exposure to DEHP (a phthalate) have lower sperm motility (how the sperm move or their ability to swim), and pregnant women with higher levels of phthalates have a higher rate of pregnancy loss (miscarriages - mainly between 5 and 13 weeks of pregnancy). Phthalates are found in many plastics, are thought to be endocrine disruptors, and can be measured in urineFrom Medical Xpress: Lower sperm motility in men exposed to common chemical

Men with higher exposure to the substance DEHP, a so-called phthalate, have lower sperm motility and may therefore experience more difficulties conceiving children, according to a Lund University study. Phthalates is an umbrella term for a group of substances based on phthalic acid, some of which are suspected to be endocrine disruptors. Many phthalates are found in soft plastics in our daily surroundings.... Since phthalate molecules leak out of plastics, we are exposed to it daily and absorb the chemicals through food, drink, skin contact and inhalation. 

"We have studied metabolite levels of the phthalate DEHP (diethylhexyl phthalate) in urine as an indicator of exposure, as well as the semen quality of 300 men between the ages of 18 and 20. The results show that the higher metabolite levels the men had, the lower their sperm motility was", says Jonatan Axelsson, researcher at the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Lund University. For the one quarter of the men with the lowest levels of exposure, 57 per cent of the sperm cells were moving forward, compared to 46 per cent for the quarter of the men with the highest levels of exposure.

As previous research has reported that there is a linear connection also between sperm motility and chances of becoming pregnant, the findings could indicate that the more exposed one is to DEHP, the smaller the chances are of having children.

From Medical Xpress:  Exposure to phthalates could be linked to pregnancy loss

A new study of more than 300 women suggests that exposure to certain phthalates—substances commonly used in food packaging, personal-care and other everyday products—could be associated with miscarriage, mostly between 5 and 13 weeks of pregnancy

Out of concern over the potential health effects of phthalates, the U.S. has banned six of these substances from use in certain products made for young children. But many are still included as ingredients in paints, medical tubes, vinyl flooring, soaps, shampoos and other items. Research on phthalates has shown that long-term exposure to low levels of the some of these compounds harms lab animals' health and can increase their risk for pregnancy loss. Additionally, at least one study found that female factory workers exposed to high levels of phthalates through their work were at a higher risk for miscarriage.

The researchers tested urine samples from 132 women who had miscarriages and 172 healthy pregnant women in China. They found pregnancy loss was associated with higher levels of urinary phthalate metabolites from diethyl phthalate (DEP), di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP) and di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP). Although this doesn't prove that phthalates cause pregnancy loss, the study suggests an association exists that the researchers say should be studied further.

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