Two-year-olds at risk from 'gender-bending' chemicals, report says
Two-year-old children are being exposed to dangerous levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals in domestic products such as rubber clogs and sun creams, according to an EU investigation being studied by the government.
The 327-page report says that while risks from "anti-androgen" and "oestrogen-like" substances in individual items have been recognised, the cumulative impact of such chemicals, particularly on boys, is being ignored.
Phthalates, one of the main anti-androgen chemicals, which are used as softeners in soap, rubber shoes, bath mats and soft toys, have been blamed for blocking the action of testosterone in the womb and are alleged to cause low sperm counts, high rates of testicular cancer and malformations of the sexual organs.
Research has suggested that male foetuses around 8-12 weeks after conception can be effectively demasculinised by exposure to such chemicals.