If you’re fathering a baby boy, there will probably be a moment when you wonder if his penis is adequate. This is totally normal. It’s not that you want your kid to be Holmesian or anything, you just want him to make it through life without coming up short. But it turns out your kid’s jimmy may have an unnatural prenatal enemy: Phthalates. The process of creating plastics requires these chemicals. Food packaging, steel can liners, drug coatings and cosmetics all contain phthalates. They’re basically everywhere.
Our blood often contains phthalates. They disrupt the body’s normal production of hormones. In pregnant women, hormones are very much necessary for prenatal development. It’s hormones like estrogen and testosterone that cue the development of your baby’s genitals. If there’s not enough, things can go very wrong with the development of the reproductive system. And here you thought the copier going on the fritz at work was horrifying.
In the last decade studies continue to pop-up suggesting phthalates could effect the development of the male genitalia. All kinds of rodent-package havoc was linked to phthalates in a 2009 study. They appeared to cause reproductive abnormalities, including undersized penises. Rats!
In 2014 a Swedish study saw that phthalate exposure shortened the anogenital distance (ADG) in Swedish boys. ADG is the measurement between the anus and the genitals. The shorter the distance between the two the greater the risks of problems that including low sperm count and undescended testicles. And you can’t say t’aint no big deal.
How To Avoid Them
Phthalates are currently being regulated out of toys, but there are still no real recommendations about how high phthalate levels should be able to get in pregnant women. Because of this, many endocrine specialists have recommended that pregnant women stay away from processed food (which is often in contact with plastic) and keep a close eye on the ingredients of their cosmetics.
While you’re at it, maybe consider some phthalate-free kitchen stuff to feed the kid off after they arrive. After all, you don’t want to worry about your boys’ penis anymore than you already will. Which feels like a really weird things to worry about, but is totally normal. Totally.