Toiletry Products, phthalates and testicular cancer

Toiletry Products, phthalates and testicular cancer

Toiletry Products containing phthalates linked to testicular problems in offspring - 

Phthalates are widespread oestrogen mimics and are strongly implicated in genital issues and even testicular cancer in male offspring where the pregnant mother had high prenatal blood levels. 

In one 2010 Swedish study, researchers showed that more than three-quarters of 34 toiletry products tested were found to contain phthalates and in particular di-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP). This is commonly found in perfumed products but is also used as a plasticiser. Of course there are many other phthalates, but DEHP seems particularly worrisome.

Open quotesPhthalate exposure causes male genital abnormalityClose quotes

This follows a 2008 American research study showing that the by-product of phthalates was many times higher in the urine of women than men, in the 20 - 40 age group. And when women had high levels of DEHP in their blood during pregnancy, their offspring were more likely to have testicular issues including cancer.

Professor Richard Sharp was quoted in the Times as saying, "If you wanted to produce a list of environmental causes of reproductive health problems in boys, phthalates would be pretty near the top of the list."

Apparently, numerous studies have shown phthalate exposure causes male genital abnormality, for example undescended testicles, and has even been blamed for soaring levels of testicular cancer.

The chemical, when in toiletries, was found in perfumes, body sprays, hairsprays and other hair products.

In a 2014 Swedish study, the researchers showed that the genitals were in a different location relative to the anus in young boys after phthalate exposure in their pregnant mothers. This was found even though DiNP was introduced in Sweden to replace DEHP (1).

By 2017 researchers from Colorado and Illinois (2) showed that DEHP prenatal exposure appeared linked to 'a wide array of gonadal and epididymal abnormalities'. These included increased germ cell apoptosis, degenerative seminiferous tubules, oligozoospermia, asthenozoospermia, and teratozoospermia.  The study used male mice.

It would appear that testicular cancer is now increasing in older males. This could be due to increased phthalate exposure and xenoestrogens in general, or increased levels of human oestrogen after age 50. Many commentators talk of undescended testes being a risk factor, but this begs the question, 'What caused the undescended testes in the first place?'

Go to: Latest Research Testicular cancer



1. Prenatal Phthalate Exposures and Anogenital Distance in Swedish Boys -  Carl-Gustaf Bornehag, Fredrik Carlstedt, Bo AG. Jönsson, Christian H. Lindh, Tina K. Jensen, Anna Bodin, Carin Jonsson, Staffan Janson, and Shanna H. Swan. Environ Health Perspect. 2015 Jan; 123(1): 101–107.

2. Prenatal Exposure to DEHP Induces Premature Reproductive Senescence in Male Mice - Radwa Barakat et al; Toxicol Sci. 2017 Mar; 156(1): 96–108.

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