A new study conducted at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health in New York City found that pregnant women who are exposed to high levels of phthalates may deliver their babies slightly earlier than women who have less exposure.
Phthalates are chemical compounds found in many types of plastic, particularly soft and flexible plastics like baby teethers and sippy cups.
The current research was conducted on hundreds of women living in New York City in their third trimester of pregnancy. The research team found that the higher the level of phthalate byproducts in the mothers' urine during pregnancy, the earlier the infant was born. Babies with the highest level of exposure were born about five days earlier than those exposed to the lowest levels.
The study's researchers were quick to point out that the women in the study delivered their babies at or near term. Thus, as the spokesperson for the American Chemical Council was quick to point out in an interview with Reuters Health, "There was also no association found between phthalate exposure and prematurity, as all of the births were full term."
Still, if prenatal exposure to phthalates leads to more infants being delivered prematurely, this could be harmful for not only babies but for their mothers.