Chemical Used in Plastics Production Proves to Damage Testosterone

Plastic is everywhere; it’s where we store our food, what most of our personal care products come in, and commonly what we drink out of. We often try to reduce or recycle it to keep our landfills clear, but should we try to avoid using it at all?

Many plastics may contain toxic chemicals that can cause disease, trouble having children, and birth defects.

Plastic is created by mixing natural materials—often byproducts of coal, oil, and natural gas—with chemicals that cause them to harden into the plastic products we’re familiar with. They are usually lightweight and durable, which is one of the reasons they have become so common.

The Dangers of Plastics and Toxic Chemical Exposure

Often, when we talk about exposure to toxic chemicals that may affect a person’s ability to have healthy children, we talk about the woman. But toxic chemicals may affect men’s ability to father healthy children, too.

A group of researchers recently studied the effects of phthalates on men’s testosterone levels. Phthalates are a group of chemicals that make plastics stronger and more flexible—but they aren’t just used in plastics. You can find phthalates in toys, vinyl flooring, and personal care products ranging from soaps and shampoos to aftershave lotions and nail polishes.

The researchers found that exposure to phthalates led to lower levels of testosterone in men of all ages.

As the researchers studied testosterone levels in men, they also found that common replacements for phthalates also lowered testosterone, meaning that men wishing to have children might need to avoid all plastics, not just those they know contain phthalates.

Birth Defects Linked to Toxic Chemical Exposure

Of course, lowered fertility isn’t the only concern with exposure to toxic chemicals. Phthalates and other chemicals have also been linked to increases in birth defects. When a pregnant woman is exposed to these chemicals, they may cause miscarriage, low birth weight, and reduced motor and language skills in children.

Some studies have found that the effects of phthalates are particularly strong on baby boys, as the same mechanisms that lead to low testosterone in adult men may cause lack of development of males in the womb.

Phthalates aren’t the only harmful chemicals in plastics that are linked to birth defects. Bisphenol A (or BPA) came under scrutiny for its potential to cause birth defects and issues in children after birth and was since removed from products targeted at children. It is still in use in the linings of some canned foods and drinks as well as medical devices and dental sealants. Polyvinyl chloride (or PVC) may contain phthalates as well as lead, which has been linked to learning and behavior problems.

Pregnant women are at higher risk of birth defects and pregnancy complications during their babies’ critical development window in early pregnancy. Exposure to these and other dangerous chemicals during the first few months of pregnancy can greatly increase the risk of birth defects and poor health outcomes later in life.

How We Help Victims of Toxic Exposure

The attorneys of our birth defects victims alliance understand the pain that families face when coping with life-altering birth defects—and the frustration of knowing they could have been prevented. Our team has over 30 years of combined experience in birth defects litigation in cases involving plastics manufacturing, pesticides, and semiconductor and electronics manufacturing. We have the resources and experience to fight on behalf of our clients against corporations who put them in danger. Call us to see how we can help you and your family receive justice for birth defects.