The Chemical Feminization of Boys?

Hello Again!

I’m so sorry for my absence last week–we had a bit of a family crisis concerning my daughter’s health.  Fortunately, it appears that she’s on the mend, and after a lot of panic and stress, things seem to be returning to normal again.

Even though it’s the new black, I don’t usually check The Huffington Post with any kind of regularity.  I guess I’m just jealous that I don’t get any self-indulgent celebrity musings on my blog.  However, today, there’s an interesting post there about pthalates in infant toys.  If you recall, I’ve posted about the issue in the past–the short version is that there is evidence that pthalates, a plastic softener found in many, many things (including children’s toys) may affect the sexual development (especially the testosterone levels) of infant boys.

There is a growing activist movement against the use of pthalates in children’s toys, bottles, etc. (leading to a resurgence in glass baby bottles and other things advertised as free of the substances in question), although there is also certainly some comtroversy as to the extent of the possible damage (if any).  Honestly, given our country’s love for a good, old-fashioned health panic, I’m a little surprised that the possible dangers of pthalates has received so little attention in the US.  It certainly was deemed important enough as an issue in Europe to be banned in infant’s toys as a possible endocrine disruptor.  And with the possibility that it can cause deformities in the reproductive systems of young boys (one researcher even fearing that pthalates are contributing to, “the feminization of infant boys,” this is certainly worth at least a little bit of a health scare.

The only good news I can offer is that it isn’t completely off the radar of some politicians.  Apparently, the Governator (no disrespect intended–it’s just that my spell-checker exploded when faced with, “Schwarzenegger,”) has signed a bill banning sales of toys with pthalates in California (starting in 2009).  And California Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced a similar measure in the US Senate via an amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Commission bill.  So, this would be a good time to look up your Senator and drop him or her a line, making it clear that this is an important issue for you that deserves a hearing and a vote.

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