According to a group of scientists and health professionals from Project TENDR, synthetic chemical phthalates are harming children’s brain development and should be removed from consumer products immediately.

Source: CBS New York/YouTube

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TENDR stands for Targeting Environmental Neuro-Development Risks and is a volunteer group of child advocates, health professionals, and scientists that are studying kids’ exposure to toxic chemicals and pollutants.

Phthalates are known to be endocrine disruptors that have been found to impact our hormones and cause serious health problems. Phthalates have also been associated with “changes in sex hormone levels, altered development of genitals, and low sperm count and quality,” as well as “obesity, reduced female fertility, preterm birth, and low birth weight, a worsening of allergy and asthma symptoms, and altered toddler behavior.”

Stephanie Engel, professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, was quoted in CNN, “What we want to accomplish is to move the public health community, including regulators, toward this goal of elimination of phthalates. We have enough evidence right now to be concerned about the impact of these chemicals on a child’s risk of attention, learning and behavioral disorders.”

Phthalates are found in hundreds of items and are often added to plastic to make it flexible and tougher. Phthalates are currently found in shampoo, food packaging, vinyl flooring, clothing, shower curtains, automotive plastics, stain-resistant products, and other items.

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Toxicologist Linda Birnbaum, who was not involved in the research, supported Engel’s stance. Birnbaum told CNN, “I hope that this paper will act as a wake-up call to understand that early life exposure to this class of chemicals is affecting our children. When you have the same kind of findings repeated in multiple populations, done by different investigators using different tools and approaches and you keep coming up with the same finding, I think you can begin to say that the data is pretty clear.”

Read more about phthalates in One Green Planet, check out Why You Should Cut Plastic Out of Your Beauty Routine and How to Do It.

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