When you read this article keep in mind that I advocate that there are problems with saying all boys should want to play contact sports and do male oriented behavior. There is one obvious place that you can see the effects of these hormones, male fertility. Why does no one seem to care?
You must watch this also, The Disappearing Male
Chemicals used in plastics feminise the brains of little boys ‘so that they avoid rough and tumble games’
By David Derbyshire
Last updated at 2:29 PM on 16th November 2009
Chemicals used in plastics are ‘feminising’ the brains of baby boys, a disturbing study shows.
Those exposed to high doses in the womb are less likely to play with ‘male’ toys such as cars. They are also less willing to join ‘rough and tumble’ games.
The research adds to growing evidence that hormone-disrupting chemicals in thousands of household-products are interfering with the development of children.
Environmental campaigners called the study ‘extremely worrying’ and called for a crackdown.
The study looked at phthalates, chemicals which can mimic the female sex hormone oestrogen.
Some experts believe they are partly to blame for the increase in genital defects in boys and lower sperm counts in men over recent decades.
But the new research is the first to link hormone-mimicking chemicals to behaviour.
There are fears of further effects as the young children in the study grow up.
Although the plastics industry insists phthalates are safe, the EU has banned many of them from cosmetics, teething rings and children’s toys.
But pregnant women are still exposed to phthalates, which are used to soften plastics in household items such as plastic furniture, shoes, PVC flooring and shower curtains.
They can also be transferred to food and drink from plastic packaging. The new study, published in the International Journal of Andrology, was led by Dr Shanna Swan, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Rochester in New York State.
Her team tested urine samples from mothers in the 28th week of pregnancy for traces of phthalates.
The women, who gave birth to 74 boys and 71 girls, were contacted again when their children were aged four to seven and asked about the toys the youngsters played with, the activities they liked and their personalities.
The researchers found that higher concentrations of two types of common phthalate – DEHP and DBP – were strongly linked with more feminine play in the boys but had no impact on girls.
The higher-phthalate boys were less likely than other boys to play with cars, trains and guns or engage in rough-and-tumble games such as playfighting.
They preferred ‘gender-neutral’ activities such as sports.
Professor Swan believes the chemicals reduce levels of the male sex hormone testosterone in unborn babies during a critical window of development between the eighth and 24th week of pregnancy.
This alters the development of the brain as well as male genitals.
She said last night: ‘If replicated, these findings would be of serious concern because they indicate that these common chemicals can significantly alter the development of the male brain.’
A previous study by Dr Swan found that boys whose mothers had the highest phthalate levels were more likely to have undescended testicles and smaller genitals than other baby boys.
In animal studies, males with similar genital changes had lower sperm counts.
Elizabeth Salter-Green, director of the chemicals campaign group CHEM Trust, said last night: ‘These results are extremely worrying. We now know that phthalates, to which we are all constantly exposed, are extremely worrying from a health perspective, leading to disruption-of male reproduction health and, it appears, male behaviour too.
‘This feminising capacity of phthalates makes them true “gender benders”. Clearly the boys who have been studied are still young, but reduced masculine play at this age may lead to other ” feminised development” in later life.
‘This cannot be good news for their long term health and development, or that of our society in general.’
But Tim Edgar of the European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates said: ‘We need to get some scientific experts to look at this study in more detail before we can make a proper judgment.
‘However, given the simple approach of the research and the relatively small sample of children, I think these results need to be treated with extreme caution. I don’t think anyone should jump to such conclusions without some much more sophisticated research being carried out.’