In an article published on October 29, 2014 on the news provider Environmental Health News journalist Lindsey Konkel reports on a new study finding altered genitals in children exposed to di-isononyl phthalate (DiNP), a chemical alternative to banned phthalates. The Swedish study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives analyzed maternal urine for metabolites of five phthalates (Bornehag et al. 2014). At age 21 months they measured anogenital distance of 200 infants. Reduced anogenital distance is considered a marker of incomplete masculinization and refers to the length between the anus and the genitals at around age 21 months. The highest exposure groups of DiNP had a slightly shorter anogenital distance by around 7/100 inch (~1.8 mm). For other phthalates the findings were not significant. Emily Barrett, reproductive health scientist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, U.S. states in the article that more research is needed to understand the significance of anogenital distance on reproductive outcome.
A spokesperson of the industry association The American Chemistry Council argued that the findings do not prove causation and contradict earlier findings of the authors, according to the article.
Lindsey Konkel (October 29, 2014). “Plastics chemical linked to changes in baby boys’ genitals.” Environmental Health News.
Bornehag, C.-G. et al. (2014). “Prenatal phthalate exposures and anogenital distance in Swedish boys.” Environmental Health Perspectives (published online October 29, 2014).