Chemical May Inhibit Male Sex Development

Manmade ingredient of many plastics, cosmetics and other consumer products may be interfering with prenatal male sexual development, new research suggests. A study of 85 infant boys found a correlation between increased exposure to some forms of the chemical phthalate and smaller penis size and incomplete testicular descent. It is the first time phthalate has been shown to influence the sexual development of human males. "This is clearly something that needs to be examined in a larger sample," said Shanna Swan, a professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry who headed the study. A paper describing the research will appear in a future issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, a journal of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences. Swan discussed the findings in an interview Thursday.

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