not meant to be togetherMothers Exposed to Hair Spray on the Job More Likely to Have Sons with Hypospadias

Are you pregnant and using hair sprays? Consider this: Maternal exposure to hair sprays, some of which contain chemicals known as phthalates, has been linked to hypospadias in newborn boys.

So not run, not walk to your bathroom, take that can of hair spray and put it in the trash can.

Yes, sure, you can continue using that hair spray, especially if you don’t fancy having any grandchildren.

Here’s the shocking info in a nutshell: phthalates in hair sprays, fragrances and other synthetic skincare are damaging boy’s genitals while still in womb.

Hypospadias is a birth defect of the male urethra that results in an abnormally placed urinary opening. It is one of the most common urogenital congenital anomalies among baby boys.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, phthalates, most often diethyl phthalate (DEP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), are found in many beauty products including deodorants, fragrances, and nail and hair products. They are most abundant in fragrances and hair sprays.

Studies have linked the phthalates with androgen-lowering activities, abnormal Leydig cell function, and reproductive tract malformations including hypospadias. Since phthalates are endocrine-disrupting, they’ve been also linked to higher risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

The case–control study included 471 hypospadias cases referred to surgeons, and 490 randomly selected birth controls, born over a 21-month period in South East England.

Sons of women working in industries where there is exposure to phthalates—including hairdressers, beauty therapists, research chemists, line operators, pharmaceutical operators, electrical assemblers, and factory assistants—had a 2- to 3-times greater risk for hypospadias.  

It’s still possible to slightly offset the damage done to boy’s genitals by phthalates: same study found that folate supplementation in the first three months of pregnancy was associated with a 36% reduction in risk of hypospadias.

This is the first definitive study about the harm of phthalates to humans. The study appeared in peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP).