There is a class of chemicals that can disrupt the human hormonal system, and particularly effect the fetal development of males. These chemicals are in many everyday consumer products, and also used widely in agriculture and industry. In some heavily polluted US waterways, frogs & salamanders have sprouted extra legs, alligators have stunted genitals, and male Smallmouth bass have been discovered producing eggs.

In a June 27th, 2009 article about endocrine disruptors in the New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof writes that "scientists are connecting the dots with evidence of increasing abnormalities among humans, particularly large increases in numbers of genital deformities among newborn boys. For example, up to 7 percent of boys are now born with undescended testicles, although this often self-corrects over time. And up to 1 percent of boys in the United States are now born with hypospadias, in which the urethra exits the penis improperly, such as at the base rather than the tip."

According to an Environmental Working Group article: "The Environmental Protection Agency states that all parabens -- methyl, propyl, butyl -- have been proved to interfere with the function of the endocrine system, and these endocrine disruptors are stored in our body's fatty tissues". Parabens are very commonly used preservatives in skin care products that can be easily absorbed into the body. Similarly phthalates - which are added to shampoos, lotions, and other personal care products as stabilizers, lubricants, and emulsifying agents - have also been linked to problems with reproductive development in humans.

This really should highlight the fact that we need to look out for ourselves and read the ingredient labels of the consumer products we use. While perhaps more expensive, there are natural, non-harmful alternatives to the parabens, phthalates, PEG's and other harmful ingredients that sneak their way into the every day products we use. We absorb them into our bodies, and as mothers, we pass them to our developing children. Don't assume that a brand claiming to be natural will not use some parabens to inexpensively preserve a product — check the label.