Evidence mounts on endocrine effects of phthalates

The commonly used plasticiser diethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP) causes sexual deformities in male rats through an endocrine-disrupting mechanism, US researchers concluded in April. The findings reinforce those of another group of researchers who found similar effects using dibutyl phthalate (DBP) last year. Although the doses used were much higher than typical human exposures, the confirmation of endocrine-disrupting properties is a reminder that phthalates may have low-dose effects, and may undermine confidence in the compounds.

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