Our Stolen Futurea book by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers



Hoppin, JA . 2003. Male reproductive effects of phthalates: an emerging picture. Epidemiology 14: 259-260. [note]

Epidemiology also invited commentary from a reproductive epidemiologist
Background on phthalates

In 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:

  • A 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 sperm quality.
  • Another study in Boston, by the same research group, discovered that sperm DNA damage is more likely in men with elevated phthalate levels.
  • A study in India found phthalate and PCB levels to be associated with damaged sperm.

Citing 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.

OurStolenFuture.org 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." (website accessed 25 May 2003). In light of these new data, that statement is no longer supportable scientifically.


[note] Epidemiology prevents direct links to individual abstracts of published articles on its website. The journal's home page is: www.epidem.com. The abstract and (for subscribers) full text of this article can be found by browsing through published issues of the journal.





















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