2003. Male reproductive effects of phthalates: an emerging
picture. Epidemiology 14: 259-260. [note]
also invited commentary from a reproductive
this invited commentary, NIH epidemiologist Dr. Jane Hoppin writes
that phthalates at levels currently widespread in the American public
"may have measurable effects on male reproductive health."
She reaches this conclusion in a brief review of three recent studies
of phthalates in men:
study in Boston by Harvard and CDC scientists of men coming
for treatment to an infertility clinic shows that men with higher
phthalate levels are more likely to have low sperm count and impaired
study in Boston, by the same research group, discovered that
sperm DNA damage is more likely in men with elevated phthalate
study in India found phthalate and PCB levels to be associated
with damaged sperm.
surveys by the CDC
on phthalate body burdens, Hoppin comments that "the
extent of human exposure is troubling." With a few
exceptions, like those above, there are practically no data on possible
human health effects. Yet the CDC surveys show that virtually everyone
is exposed. Indeed, the first Boston study cited above indicates
that American men may often carry levels 2-3x those associated with
sperm damage in Boston.
comment: Representatives of the phthalate industry (the Phthalate
Esters Panel of the American Chemistry Council) continue to maintain
that "median exposures to phthalates are far below levels that
could be expected to cause adverse health effects in humans."
accessed 25 May 2003). In light of these new data, that
statement is no longer supportable scientifically.
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