DEHP, a phthalate used to make vinyl plastics soft and flexible, is the target of a study published in Pediatrics, which purports to find a relationship between exposure to the chemical and marginally early delivery dates for pregnant women.
"This study is pure junk," says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. "This reminds me of some of the terrible articles I've read about DDT and the various reproductive abnormalities it supposedly causes, which are completely trumped up. By the way, DEHP is the type of phthalate used to make plastics in medical devices more flexible, so any call for restriction would require new means to make those products."
"My cause for concern is that this was published in Pediatrics," says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. "They also did the Shanna Swan diaper story. It's a shame because this is in a well-known, normally well-respected journal."
For more information on the safety of phthalates, see ACSH Advisor Dr. Michael Kamrin's technical paper on the topic, "Phthalate Risks, Phthalate Regulation, and Public Health: A Review," which appeared in the February 2009 (Volume 12, Issue 2:157-74) Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B: Critical Reviews.