WebMD reported on a study by Dr. Shanna Swan that found young boys whose mothers were exposed to higher levels of phthalates were more likely to exhibit non-masculine behavior and less likely to “play with trucks and other male-typical toys or to play fight.”
Swan writes that humanity is facing an “existential crisis” in fertility rates as a result of phthalates, a chemical used when manufacturing plastics that affects the hormone-producing endocrine system. Swan based her research on studying phthalate syndrome in rats. The baby rats’ exposure to the chemical increased the likelihood of the rat being born with shrunken genitals.
In humans, Swan found that male babies exposed to the chemical in the womb were more likely to have an impaired testicular descent and reduced male organ size. (source)
Phthalates Causing Shrunken Genitalia
Exposure to phthalates seems to lower testosterone production in the baby during a crucial period of development. At 8 to 24 weeks gestation, when the testes begin to function, exposure appears to alter sexual differentiation in the brain. (source)
Where Phthalates Are Found
Phthalates are found in sippy cups, bottles, pacifier chew toys, food packaging, personal care products, nail polish (see safer polish alternatives), adhesives/glues in pressed wood, furniture, etc. Also, automotive interiors, seat covers and interior trim that use vinyl softened with high phthalates because of their durability, UV resistance and ability to withstand high temperatures. Think about your child’s binky, teething toy, shower curtain, vinyl furniture, and floor coverings.
We are swimming in it.
And this includes disposable surgical masks.
Face Mask Pollution
Perhaps most damning, the study notes that microplastics we breathe from masks “contain chemical additives like phthalate, organotin, nonylphenol, polybrominated biphenyl ether, and triclosan.” (source)
Swan and other experts suspect that exposure to the chemicals affects the level of testosterone crucial for the development not only of male reproductive organs, but also the masculine brain. ”We now suspect that the phthalate [exposure] affects the entire body,” Swan says.
Now that young mothers have worn or are wearing surgical masks during 2020 and into 2021, theoretically this is affecting their baby-in-womb, esp male babies.
And mask-wearing moms could unknowingly be decreasing their own fertility: “In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35.” (Count Down, book by Dr. Swann)
This study by itself shouldn’t make parents panic, but I do think we are beginning to accumulate more and more evidence that exposure to phthalates, especially during pregnancy, can be harmful for the development of baby boys.
Microplastics contained within face masks are having an “enormous effect on the entire environment… and should be a focus worldwide.” (source)
Sperm levels among men in some Western countries had dropped by more than 50 percent in just four decades. (Source)
“Those toxic chemicals can be released (either chemically or biologically) during the degradation processes of plastic polymers in the open environment,” the study notes. (source)
Dr. Swan explained that babies get exposed to various chemicals while in the womb, and again during their own life cycle, so each generation is absorbing toxins more rapidly than the last.
“If we didn’t have a hit from our parents and our grandparents, then each generation would just start healthy all over again.”
As National File reported earlier this week, Covid face mask pollution has already taken a staggering toll on the environment, with an estimated 1.56 billion masks – “amounting to between 4,680 and 6,240 metric tonnes of plastic pollution” according to ecological experts – entering the world’s oceans in 2020.
Pregnant moms, please avoid wearing a mask whenever possible, for your own 02 level, fertility, and immune system – and also for your baby’s future! I would add that masking boys adds fuel to this fire!
It all makes sense now – that this is one of the causes of my own nearly 20-year infertility! As an RN (during most of those 20 years), I wore a blue surgical mask daily (8-10 hours) as I scrubbed in or circulated in the Cardiac Bypass Graft Heart OR! If I had only known! ~Jacqueline
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