Plastics ingredients could make a boy's play less masculine

Study links boys' fetal phthalate exposure to tendency toward gender-neutral play later on

5:19pm, November 16, 2009

Exposures in the womb to a ubiquitous family of industrial chemicals can subtly perturb preferences of boys for certain types of child’s play thought to be hardwired in the brain, a new study suggests. Phthalates are widely used solvents and plastics softeners. In this study, the greater a boy’s fetal exposure to certain phthalates, the less often he tended to engage in typically masculine play.

Girls’ play was unaffected, according to the study, set to be published in an upcoming International Journal of Andrology.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News