Endocrine-Disrupting Chemical Cleaning Products Cause Genital Defects in Boys, Study Finds


Boys are at an increased risk of being born with genital defects if their mothers were exposed to endocrine disruptors while pregnant, a new study finds.

It’s not the first study to point to the connection between endocrine disruptors and male development, but it is among one of the most comprehensive on the issue.

The new research looked at more than 600 children in the south of France and found a higher risk of hypospadias—a condition where the urethra opening forms on the underside of the penis instead of at the tip—in boys whose mothers had been exposed to endocrine disruptors either at home or in the workplace. Some of these were in everyday items including laundry detergent and household cleaners.

“Mothers were most likely to have boys with hypospadias if they worked as a cleaner, hairdresser or beautician,” reports Environmental Health News.

The study found that the risk of developing hypospadias was 68 percent higher in boys who had been exposed to the chemicals than those who had not.

Read more about the worst endocrine disruptors

“We found that fetal exposure to [endocrine disrupting chemicals] was a significant risk factor for hypospadias in our series. The types of substance having an impact on the phenotype were heterogeneous, but detergents, pesticides, and cosmetics accounted for 75 percent of the cases,” the authors wrote in the study published in the European Urology journal this month.

Hypospadias can be quite severe in about 30 percent of cases and in many instances surgery is typically recommended while boys are still very young in order to correct the condition. Left untreated and there’s an increased likelihood of reproductive issues problems with urination.

About five boys in 1,000 will be born every year in the U.S. with hypospadias.

Read more about how prenatal exposure to phthalates disrupts male development

Image: photosavvy

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By Jill Ettinger| June 19, 2015
Categories:  Live

About the Author

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a freelance journalist and marketing specialist primarily focused on the organic and natural industries, she bridges her love for changing the food system with her lifelong passion for writing and connecting people in their shared values. You can connect with Jill on Twitter and Instagram.

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