A common chemical compound used in personal care products, home furnishings and paints may be responsible for a rise in premature births, which have increased by 30 per cent in the last 30 years.
Women who have a premature birth have up to three times the level of phthalates than others who carry to term, new research has discovered. One third of infants, who are born prematurely, die, and an early birth can also lead to blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy and a low IQ.
In a study of 60 women, half delivered within 37 weeks of gestation, and the rest carried to term. Researchers believe that phthalate levels could explain the alarming rise in premature births in the USA and elsewhere in recent times.
(Source: Environmental Health Perspectives, 2009; doi: 10.1289/ehp.0800522).